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Marcia Ball played at Blues on the Green last week, a free show in front of as many as 6,000 people, and told them she was boycotting Austin Java because of owner Rick Engel's tearing down of trees. He's one of the developers of Barton Springs Place -- a condo project that is being built in the old location of the Pecan Grove RV park -- one of those places they are getting rid of to make more room for people who want to live closer to places like that except that they won't exist anymore.
Well, you go, Marcia Ball!!! We've been boycotting that place for a very long time, ever since Austin Java moved in a took away my favorite pizza place, Pizza Nizza, the funky pizzaria with a huge tree growing inside the place and out through the roof. Then we found out about their plans to put in the high end condos, and haven't gone there since.
FYI, the same guy owns Uncle Billy's Brews and Qs down the street, so that is now part of our boycott, unfortunately, because it's a microbrewery and now I won't get to taste their beer (but there's plenty more beer out there, no worries).
Engel has defended himself, saying that he had permission to take out all the trees, and a couple of them were taken down by a storm instead of by him -- but here's the thing... just because you have the permits, and you're legal, and everything is signed on the line, it doesn't mean you're doing the right thing. Marcia's awareness-raising at the event hurt their business for a few days, but you know what? These damned developers are hurting things too. They are not just cutting down a lot of big trees, they are changing the neighborhoods. They are bringing in a pricey, high-end yuppie clientele and running off the folks who used to be able to afford to live there.
At least they are not calling the new development "Pecan Grove Place." I hate it when they destroy something and then name the replacement after it.
This is a sign on the fence of one of the old Barton Strings Road trailer residences. It speaks volumes.
(Yes, I know, I've been focused on this topic lately. It's just really bugging me.)
Tags: Music - Austin - Texas - Texas Music