About Us


ARA’s mission is to engage in commercial, residential and cultural development that promotes community well-being, while respecting the people, institutions and history of East Austin and other underserved communities.


ARA’s vision is to maintain our commitment to and support of underserved communities which creates neighborhoods that are more attractive with vibrant business corridors and distinct cultural assets.


ARA’s values guide how the organization will operate to achieve its vision and mission. These values are:

  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Quality
  • Respect
  • Partnership
  • Commitment
  • Teamwork

Through ARA, the community developed the Central East Austin Master Plan which guides development of the area bounded by IH-35, Airport Blvd, E. 7th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and guided by the E.11th and 12th Streets Community Redevelopment Plan which guides development of the 11th Street and 12th Street corridors. While our initial funding came from the City of Austin, we have worked to leverage that funding with additional investments from private developers and others wishing to facilitate change resulting in ARA becoming financially independent.


Board of Directors

Chairman: Dr. Charles Urdy
Vice Chairman: Dr. General Marshall
Secretary: Dr. Connie Williams
Asst. Secretary: Mrs. Vera Givens
Treasurer: Mr. Willis Hunt
Asst. Treasurer: Mr. Willis Adams
Parliamentarian: Mr. Teddy McDaniel
Asst. Parliamentarian: Mr. Eric Standridge


At-Large Members


Mr. Larry Jackson
Mr. Stuart King
Mr. Nelson Linder
Mr. Wayne Knox
Ms. Tam Hawkins (interim)



President & CEO: Mr. Gregory L. Smith
Community Liaison: Miss Elizabeth McDonald
Staff Accountant: Mrs. Martha Van Voorhis