Updated: Wednesday, 08 Dec 2010, 12:47 AM CST
Published : Tuesday, 07 Dec 2010, 7:56 PM CST
AUSTIN (KXAN) - People living in Southeast Austin's Montopolis neighborhood got a visit from the City Manager Tuesday.
Marc Ott toured the community to see, firsthand, some issues residents have expressed concerns about.? Every neighborhood has its problems but many people who've lived in the Montopolis area for decades say this neighborhood has lacked some attention.
"There's a lot of issues out here," said Roman Baltran.
During the three years Baltran has lived in the Montopolis neighborhood he's come to understand challenges people face here.
"It's lower income people. A lot of people don't speak up. As long as people don't speak up no one is going to know about the problems here," said Baltran.
Residents say there's a lack of major food stores, lack of affordable housing, lack of health services and neglected areas.
"I come from this. I come from my own East Side," said City manager Marc Ott.
To learn more about the issues, Ott made a professional visit--that's also close to his heart.
"It's also personal because I understand, I get it, in many respects I've lived it as well," said Ott.
He toured areas on foot and in a van
"There's nothing like being out here, I mean I can only gain so much by things I read that come across my desk or sitting in meetings, etc.," said Ott.
Neighbors showed the city manager what they call unsafe sidewalks, streets and intersections, poorly maintained or abandoned homes, overgrown weeded areas full of snakes and parking problems near Allison Elementary.
Mr. Ott also heard about things that have worked in the neighborhood. For example, a city and nonprofit partnership that's building 81 affordable and green homes in the neighborhood.
Homeowners appreciated the City Manager's efforts.
"It makes me feel like we're actually being heard by someone," said Baltran.
Baltran hopes the visit leads to better communication, collaboration and action from city leaders in the future.
"It's a process...but I mean it's a start."
The City Manager says some issues may be addressed relatively soon but others, especially ones that cost a lot of money, may take longer.
This was the second neighborhood walk the City Manager has done. Last year he toured the Dove Springs Neighborhood
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