City officials are prepared to spend at least $350 million on the revitalization efforts of downtown San Antonio—that is, if they can get approval for an expanded bond program to raise the necessary funds.
Attracting Residents to Downtown San Antonio
The central area of the Alamo city is the focus of the 96-page Center City Strategic Framework Plan, a schematic that hopes to develop the specific areas of River North/Midtown, Downtown Core, Cesar Chavez/HemisFair Corridor and Near River South in an effort to attract residents to the central living area.
The plan mainly focuses on the construction of 5,000 residential units in the area that will be completed by 2020, an ambitious undertaking given there are currently a little over half that number in the area. The influx of San Antonio apartments will hopefully prove a major draw for those looking to move into the city.
Centro San Antonio Group
The Centro San Antonio group was formed in order to promote the development of the downtown district through programs such as the Ambassadors Amigos, Streetscaping Amigos and Maintenance Amigos.
The goal is to create a Public Improvement District that supplements the services provided by the city through volunteer efforts and public-private partnerships. It is all part of the SA2020 initiative, which envisions a downtown neighborhood that operates as a thriving community space.
The Centro San Antonio partnership has been tasked with the responsibility of mapping out a strategic plan for accomplishing the city’s goals of increased housing units and a 25% increase in the downtown workforce by 2020.
The Vision of SA2020
What started out as a dream in 2010 of what the city will look like in ten years has become a set of core values that are determining the development of the city over the decade. SA2020 is now a nonprofit group that is one of the leaders in the push to create a more welcoming downtown sector.
The vision has been developed around 11 causes that downtown San Antonio residents are most concerned about. Each of these causes has specific data indicators by which success will be measured:
Arts & Culture: Measured by press mentions, level of attendance at art events and level of funding for arts.
Civic Engagement: Measured by percent of residents served by neighborhood associations and voter turnout.
Community Safety: Measured by emergency services response time, community perceptions of safety and index crime rates.
Downtown Development: Measured by housing units and number of people working downtown.
Economic Competitiveness: Measured by job growth, per capita income growth, and patent application and issue rate.
Education: Measured by college enrollment and high school graduation rate
Environmental Sustainability: Measured by air quality index, green jobs growth and amount of material going to landfills.
Family Well-Being: Measured by number of unsheltered persons, unemployment rate and poverty rate.
Health and Fitness: Measured by diabetes rate, health insurance rate and pre-term birth rate.
Neighborhoods: Measured by number of San Antonio apartments, number of green spaces and walkability score.
Transportation: Measured by number of accidents, average commuting time and public transportation ridership.
Each of these causes is being addressed in order to maintain a well-rounded holistic approach to urban development.
[Image Source: Flickr – RedTail_Panther]