The Northwest Austin Civic Association (NWACA), said to be the first neighborhood association in Austin, was formed in 1970 to give the neighborhood a voice at Austin City Council and with the Travis County Commissioners. It is now one of the largest neighborhood associations in the City, covering the area between Loop 360 to the west, Highway 183 to the north, Mopac (Loop 1) to the east, and RM 2222 to the south; this area has more than 6,200 single family households and more than 5,000 apartments.
NWACA is a civic association, an advocate for the neighborhood; membership is voluntary, members having one vote per household in significant matters such as NWACA Board elections. A civic association is not the same as a homeowner association (HOA), which has the legal authority to enact and enforce maintenance and design standards for the homes within its boundaries (in addition to those established by city ordinance); HOA membership is mandatory. There are many HOAs within the NWACA boundaries, however many homes within the boundaries are not part of an HOA.
The NWACA Board regularly surveys the neighborhood about key concerns. The Board also informs the community about current city and county activities and provides neighborhood-specific input to elected officials. In election years, NWACA sponsors informational forums where neighbors can meet candidates, hear about propositions on the ballot, and ask questions. Interested residents can join the various NWACA committees that deal with issues regarding zoning, transportation, parks, tree health, environment, and wildlife management.
The 4th of July parade, followed by a Freedom Festival party at the end of the parade route, is the biggest NWACA-sponsored event each year. NWACA held its first 4th of July parade in 1973, and has missed only two since then, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
In 2018, NWACA held its first Neighborhood National Night Out celebration, so that the community could gather with first responders, to show support, learn how to engage in local safety programs, and push back against crime. It was/is also a great time to get reacquainted with our neighbors. Like most of Texas, NWACA celebrates National Night Out in the fall, when the weather is cooler, instead of in August when it is observed by much of the rest of the nation.
During the 2000’s, NWACA hosted other events that have become regular offerings:
- Murchison pool opening celebrations along with occasional summer pizza pool parties;
- Cleanup events and special hikes in local parks and preserves on It’s My Park Day, sponsored by the Austin Parks Foundation;
- Monthly summer cleanup days at Bull Creek District Park;
- BOPA recycling events – collecting batteries, oil, paint, and antifreeze;
- Electronics recycling events – collecting electronic devices that no longer function, as well as clean Styrofoam.
Items collected during the recycling events can’t go into regular trash, so the NWACA volunteers take them to the recycling center in South Austin.