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East Austin community responds to car culture complaints from new residents



AUSTIN, TX – Some residents of a new luxury apartment complex in East Austin have taken issue with an established car club that meets along town lake every Sunday.

The complex says it’s just a select few who are upset with noise – the car clubs fear the complaints of those few could lead to a change the culture that been in place for generations.

The feud is the latest instance in the battle of gentrification in East Austin.

For years, plenty of candy painted low riders, slab rims and loud Texas Hip Hop music have found a home for car clubs at Redon Park in East Austin.

“You walk around, you show off your car, you talk to somebody about their car,” said Edward Castillo who says he’s been attending the East Austin car club meetings for years.

“It’s a place I’ve always known to be a comfort place where I know every Sunday I can come here and be around my people,” he said.

For generations, the car clubs have been meeting around Rendon Park along Lady Bird Lake. There’s even a mural that reads in part, “Chicano Park” near the pool of the park with a lowrider.

But as Austin continues to grow, so do the new development that have made East Austin less affordable for those with roots in the area.

In August, The Weaver, a luxury apartment complex opened to residents right next to Rendon Park. The management group for the complex tells us a number of residents complained about the noise from cars spinning out near the complex, trash accumulation and even people urinating in the bushes of the complex.

Bertha Rendon-Delgado, a granddaughter to the namesake of the park, the late Edward Rendon, said those who complain about the culture that’s been in place for generations and living in a new development are a “sign of gentrification.”

“It’s just really, really confusing they could be upset when (the car clubs) were here way before y’all were here,” she said.

Residents of the complex didn’t want to talk to us on camera. One spoke to us off camera saying the car clubs are loud for a few hours on Sunday’s but it’s nothing to complain about. That sentiment is what a spokesperson with the management company shared with us when reached for comment on Wednesday. We were told The Weaver doesn’t have any issues with the car club and neither do the majority of the residents – just a select few who complained.

Earlier this week, Peter Holley of the Texas Monthly first reported the feud between the new residents and the car culture in East Austin. For several consecutive Sundays, Holley came to Rendon park where he witnessed some of the residents physically confront those in the car clubs in an aggressive fashion. He said some of those upset residents even went over to the police to complain.

Castillo said Austin Police typically let the car clubs gather and play music without any interruption from police. Once the sun starts to set, Rendon-Delgado said sometime APD will turn their lights on to notify those in the park to start wrapping things up.

Since the Texas Monthly article was posted, a spokesperson with the management company for the complex said they were receiving negative reviews online.

Castillo fears the ones making a fuss about the car clubs could push for policy changes.

“Then all of a sudden there’s an ordinance in place we may not know about where we can’t have that. And that one resident has changed 30-40 years of history for their 30-40 minutes of comfort,” said Castillo.

The spokesperson with the complex said they have been in contact with the leaders of the car clubs this week.

Castillo said there will be a car club gathering this Sunday including a press conference at 3pm near the mural to respond to all that has been going on.

“We want people to know this tradition isn’t going anywhere. We’re going to continue to bring the low riders around here,” said Rendon-Delgado.