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This past Saturday nine years of work to have San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions inscribed as a World Heritage site culminated with the inscription ceremony at Mission San José.

Built in the early 18th century, the missions are the most complete and intact example of the Spanish crown’s effort to colonize, evangelize and defend the northern frontier of New Spain at a time where they controlled the largest empire in the world.The missions were approved as a World Heritage site by the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) on July 5 in Bonn, Germany. The San Antonio community has been celebrating ever since.

On Saturday October 17th, dignitaries from around the world plus hundreds of San Antonians gathered at the historic site to celebrate the official world heritage designation.U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell represented the United States Government. Spanish Consul General Enric Panés and Mexican Consul General José Antonio Larios participated in the ceremony representing their respective home countries. San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and Bexar county judge Nelson Wolff led San Antonio officials and Alamo director Becky Dinnin spoke on behalf of the State of Texas.

As part of the official world heritage celebrations, the City’s Office of Historic Preservation offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the “restored” facade of Mission Concepcion. Over 1,200 people attend the “restored by light” event on Friday and got the chance to view the original painted facade of the mission using a digital projection. I’d also like to thank Councilwoman Viagran for helping us celebrate at the event.

Joining an elite list with just 22 existing U.S. landmarks, San Antonio’s five missions are taking their place among other cultural institutions like the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall as well as world wonders like the Great Wall of China and the Giza Pyramid of Egypt.

Major Economic Impact

A UNESCO designation is a catalyst for socio-economic change, with increased visitation and tourist spending. According to the U.S. travel association, $928 billion was generated by domestic and international travelers in 2014, placing tourism as one of our nation’s largest economic generators and spurring an additional $1.2 trillion in other industries.

for San Antonio, the impact will be even more significant, as tourism is one of the city’s top five industries, providing one in eight jobs and more than $12 billion annually. By 2025, the world heritage site economic impact on San Antonio and Bexar County is expected to generate an additional $44 million -$105 million in economic activity, with over 1,100 newly created jobs.

Our thanks to the many people who made this designation a reality for the San Antonio community


Hemisfair celebrated the grand opening of Yanaguana garden earlier this month with a weekend-long schedule of activities. Yanaguana garden features 4.1 acres of active play environment designed for all ages and ability levels.

Designed by Susan Goldsman of Mig, an expert on using play for cognitive development, Yanaguana garden features water play, sand play, climbing structures, swings, ping-pong, bocce court, oversized chess and checkers, and an infant play area. Hemisfair serves a dual purpose to provide education and recreation opportunities for the community.

Nearly 22,000 people attended the grand opening weekend celebration featuring three full days of activities – all offered completely free to the public. under the guidance of Hemisfair park area redevelopment corporation board members and staff, and with the help of 80 volunteers, attendees enjoyed food trucks, kite making, lyrical dance, constellation charting, shadow tracing and other family friendly activities.

Throughout this new urban oasis, visitors will find six public art pieces that fit the theme of “play”. Public art San Antonio (PASA) helped Hemisfair to curate the interactive art pieces that that are also designed for learning. Hemisfair will also soon feature five permanent tenants including a coffee shop, paleteria, local brewery, café, and b-cycle – all enhancing the experience for our visitors.

The park is averaging 500 guests per day since the grand opening weekend. The City of San Antonio is proud to be a partner in this effort to revitalize our downtown. The next phase of development at Hemisfair will be a civic park, an 8+ acre public park to replace the western edge of the convention center.


On December 3, 2013, the city of San Antonio in partnership with private property owners launched the open downtown pop up shop retail program to activate vacant storefronts by offering retailers a short-term no-cost lease during the holiday season.

Since its inception, the program has temporarily activated 14 vacant storefronts with over 60 local vendors. The program has been successful at creating activity and engaging the community along Houston Street and in St. Paul square.

Cities around the nation have inquired about the program for redeveloping retail and activating their center city. The open program was featured at the Newaukee empty storefronts conference in June, received an Ida merit award in September, and received best public/private partnership at Centro’s downtown’s best awards.

This summer, we expanded the program to city-owned spaces in an effort to further reduce retail vacancies in our downtown area. The open program currently has two active pop up tenants operating under 90 day temporary leases. Eye Candy Boutique, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique, opened at the Houston street garage (531 Navarro) in August 2015 and will remain open through mid-November. Kandi Factory, also featuring women’s fashions, just opened at La Villita in building 7 and will be open through January 2016.

This holiday season, we will continue expansion of the open program with additional pop up shops at la Villita, Houston Street, Travis Street and potentially other locations. The holiday pop up shops will be open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on downtown Tuesdays and Saturdays starting December 2nd and continuing through December 29th.

Downtown residents, visitors, and workers will all have an exciting opportunity to support local entrepreneurs and help authenticate downtown as a vibrant urban space for long-term investment.

More information can be found at


Pay as you throw is one of the initiatives in the city council approved recycling plan that includes the city reaching a 60% residential recycling rate by 2025. Today our recycling rate is 31%.With pay as you throw, residents will have an opportunity to choose between three brown garbage carts, a small 48 gallon, a medium 64 gallon or a large 96 gallon container.

The monthly solid waste fee will be based solely upon the size of their brown garbage cart. Small cart customers will pay $20.43 a month, medium cart customers will pay $20.93 a month (which they currently pay) and large cart customers will pay $22.18 a month.

As part of the program, residents will be offered a green organics recycling cart at no charge. And those residents that had previously been paying a $3 subscription fee no longer pay the fee as of October 1. If a resident does not want to keep the green cart they can opt out of the program

As discussed during the budget presentation, the green cart is expected to divert over 50,000 tons of material from the landfills and will raise the residential recycling rate to approximately 40%.So with this program our residents now have more opportunities to recycle.

As the program rolls out over the next 18 months, residents will receive several forms of educational materials to help them understand the programs to include door hangers and brochures. All educational materials regarding the programs will be provided to residents in both English and Spanish.

Over the next six weeks, pay as you throw is being rolled out to 30,000 residents. last week, approximately 5,000 residents received their green carts in districts 1, 9 and 10. Those residents will be selecting their brown cart sizes this week.

An additional 5,600 residents in districts 2, 8, 9 and 10 will be receiving green carts this week. Once all 30,000 residents within the initial development phase covering all 10 council districts have received their carts, the solid waste staff will spend several months analyzing the program. The purpose of this time period is to confirm the anticipated cart distribution for pay as you throw customers. It allows us to proactively address customer service issues and ensure proper usage of the blue and green carts.

Staff will start to roll out the program to an additional 160,000 residents beginning in the spring of 2016. A total of 190,000 residents will have the program by the end of FY 16. And the program will be completely rolled out to all San Antonio residents by spring of 2017.

For questions, residents can all 207-6428 or visit

Key Issues Report

Pay As you Throw (PAYT) Roll Out
Staff has coordinated with City Council members and has scheduled community meetings in each of the ten City Council districts to educate residents on the upcoming PAYT roll-out. The meetings will be completed after the FY 2016 Budget adoption on September 17 and before September 30, 2015. The roll out will begin on October 1, 2015. Dates, times and locations of meetings are listed below:

Date Council District Location Time
Thursday, September 10 District 7 Maverick Library 6:30pm
Monday, September 14 District 9 Brook Hollow Library 6:30pm
Tuesday, September 15 District 8 Cody Library 6:30pm
Wednesday, September 16 District 6 Great Northwest Library 6:30pm
Thursday, September 17 District 2 Carver Library 6:30pm
Monday, September 21 District 5 Bazan Library 6:30pm
Monday, September 21 District 10 Northeast Service Center 7:00pm
Tuesday, September 22 District 3 Mission Library 6:30pm
Monday, September 28 District 1 Westfall Library 6:30pm
Tuesday, September 29 District 4 Cortez Library 6:30pm

Mailings notifying of all public hearings and proposed zoning and land use designations were postmarked September 2 and mailed to 7,400 property owners located within the FY 2015 IH-10 West annexation area.

World Heritage Update
The Convention and Visitors Bureau World Heritage advertising campaign is creating awareness. From launch date of July 5 through August 2, there have been 18,000 page views of the World Heritage website landing page, as a result of the advertising initiative. Top countries visiting the page, in addition to the United States, include the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Japan, Germany and China. Digital advertising has garnered 7.3 million impressions and the Missions/World Heritage video has over 3 million views.  The website is:

National Senior Center Month
In recognition of 2015 national Senior Center Month, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will coordinate various events to showcase the City’s 8 Comprehensive Senior Centers throughout the month of September. Each Center will host an open house during the month with special activities to promote a positive image of aging and highlight the valuable programs, activities and services offered. Key goals of the open houses include outreach to new and senior participants; connecting seniors to area resources; and showcasing each Centers unique programs, activities and culture.

The Grand Opening for the 2012 bond funded Northeast Senior Center is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on October 30, 2015. The Department of Human Services is coordinating logistics and agenda. Construction is on schedule to be substantially complete on October 2. DHS will transition participants from the former NE Senior Center to the new center immediately after the Grand Opening, with the first full day of service beginning November 2.

Key Issues Report

Pre K 4 SA
Pre-K 4 SA’s third program year began Monday, August 24 with 1,741 enrolled students within our four education centers.  This enrollment is slightly over the 1,700 students planned within year three of the program’s eight-year business model.  There are over 1,000 students who are on the wait-list for this school year.  Next year, the program will serve 2,000 students within our four education centers.

Extended Pool Season
Four regional pools (Heritage, Southside Lions, LBJ and Woodlawn) will be open on an extended schedule through the end of September. The pools will offer swim on Tuesday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  as well as Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Additionally, lap swimming opportunities will be available on  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday mornings from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. The four pools will be open over the Labor Day weekend and holiday, Saturday – Monday from 1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Preservation Day SA in Government Hill
On Saturday, August 8, the Office of Historic Preservation held a volunteer work day in the Government Hill District. OHP staff, youth volunteers, and neighborhood volunteers completed scraping and painting four historic homes located on Mason and E. Carson streets. Preservation work days provide a service learning opportunity to volunteers and exemplify the Core Value of Teamwork.

Public Health Accreditation Board Site Visit
The Public Health Accreditation Board assesses local health departments against set nationally recognized, evidenced-based standards.  National accreditation improves public health by advancing the quality and performance of tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments. In addition to enhancing the capacity to improve the health outcomes identified in their community health improvement plans (CHIP), accredited health departments describe quality improvement and other initiatives to better serve their communities.  Metro Health is scheduled for a site visit December 11-12, 2015. At this time, San Antonio is on track for recognition as the 3rd Texas city to earn PHAB accreditation status.  The assessment team comprised of three trained Public Health professionals will: 1) verify the accuracy of documentation submitted by the health department, 2) seek answers to questions regarding conformity with the standards and measures, 3) provide an opportunity for discussion and further explanation, 4) compose the site visit report with recommendations.

Tuberculosis Testing at Haven for Hope
As part of Metro Health’s 1115 Tuberculosis Waiver project, clinic staff recently established a new partnership to test individuals staying at Haven for Hope’s Prospect Courtyard. Part of the goal for the TB Waiver project is to identify cases of early infection in order to treat and prevent the onset of active TB disease. In addition, medications used to treat patients identified as having an early infection will be placed on a new short course 3 month therapy versus the 9-month regimen which will improve patient compliance and health. The TB Waiver project is funded through a contract with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

San Antonio Public Library
Latino Americans – 500 years of History

The San Antonio Public Library has been awarded a competitive Latino Americans: 500 years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association. As part of the grant, the library will provide public programming – public film screenings, discussion groups, oral history initiatives, local history exhibitions, multi-media projects or performances- about Latino history and culture. The library will also screen episodes from the six-part documentary film “Latino Americans” created for PBS. The award-winning series chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day.

Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award
The City of San Antonio will be awarded the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award from the National Procurement Institute. The NPI recognizes organizational excellence in procurement based upon standardized criteria designed to measure innovation, professionalism, e-procurement, productivity, and leadership attributes of the procurement function. This will be the 18th consecutive year the City of San Antonio has received the award.

Key Issues Report

Neighborhood Leadership Academy
The Office of EastPoint and Real Estate’s pilot Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) program for the Eastside Promise Zone began on August 4. The program has 30 residents enrolled representing 12 out of 16 of the neighborhood associations within the Promise Zone boundaries. The purpose of the NLA is to bring together established and emerging leaders from each neighborhood association within the Eastside Promise Zone to enhance their leadership, advocacy, and problem-solving skills. The NLA will educate participants about City services and encourage solutions-based partnerships.

Edwards Aquifer Protection Program- Grant Award
Edwards Aquifer Protection Program staff was notified by representatives of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) department that the City will be awarded a grant I the amount of $2,905,000 to be used toward the $6.9 million purchase of a 1,100 acre conservation easement on the Rancho Blanco property in NW Bexar County. The grant by the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) will allow the City to leverage federal dollars with Edwards Aquifer Protection program funds. The City’s portion of the purchase will be $4 million. The Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) was notified of the grant award and supports ratification and acceptance of grant funds. The item is scheduled for City Council consideration on August 20.

Broadway Complete Street
Centro San Antonio has offered to complete the design concept for a complete street along the Broadway corridor from Houston to Josephine. VIA, TxDOT, and the City are involved in the development of the design concept. The goal is to have the corridor shovel ready for consideration as part of the 2017 Bond Program. Broadway is one of nine TxDOT roadways City Council approved as part of the TxDOT Turnback program along with $5 million from TxDOT towards the complete street project. Broadway is scheduled to be turned back to the City in 2017.

CPS Energy on Alamo between Cesar Chavez and Nueva
CPS Energy is scheduled to continue its power bank extension to support the Hemisfair Park Project. This will result in a two-phased closure between July 20 and August 30. Phase I, on the northern end of the project, will be under construction until August 6 and work within the footprint of the existing closure for the Hemisfair project. Phase II will be under construction from August 10 thru August 30, and will extend the existing closure, south, approximately an additional 250 feet leaving only one lane open for traffic control.  Right of Way staff made contact with area hotels and the Magik Theater to inform them of the upcoming work and an electronic message board was placed on site.

AT&T Phone Bank on Nueva between Alamo and Presa
AT&T will be installing a phone bank on Nueva between Presa and Alamo. Construction is scheduled from August 10 thru September 6 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday (and possibly Sunday). The work will result in a full closure of eastbound traffic on Nueva between Alamo and Presa as well as the adjacent sidewalk. One police officer will be on site to assist with traffic and pedestrian control, and traffic siganls will be appropriately adjusted. Right of Way staff made contact with abutting stakeholders to inform them of the work.

2015 Charitable Campaign Kickoff Luncheon


The United Way Annual Campaign is significant to our community.  Last year, the United Way raised more than $55 million to benefit local non-profits and residents in need of assistance within the San Antonio area.  City employees contributed more than $1 million in 2014 toward the campaign, and the 2015 goal has been set at $1.02 million.

The luncheon will be held on Friday, August 14 at the Alamodome from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. to kick-off the 2015 City of San Antonio Charitable Campaign.  The luncheon will be picnic themed. The Picnic Plate includes: Hamburger & Kiolbassa Wrap, Chips, Paleta, and a DrinkVegetarian options will be available.

Buy your tickets here!

Thank you for your support!

Weekly Report

SA Tomorrow Outreach
Transportation and Capital Improvements (TCI) conducted outreach for the SA Tomorrow’s Transportation Plan on university campuses April 27 – May 1, 2015. SA Tomorrow outreach included flyer card distribution, paper survey and classroom discussions where feasible. TCI reached approximately 380 university students at various campuses and another 300 high school students at the Northeast Independent School District (NEISD) Career Fair. University campuses included: University of Texas at San Antonio, St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake University, Trinity University, Texas A&M University, and the five Alamo Colleges ( Northwest Vista, Palo Alto, St. Philip’s College, North East Lakeview, and San Antonio College).

Plan Element Working Groups

The Plan Element Working Groups for the Comprehensive Plan will meet for their first work session on May 26, 27, 28. Each of the nine working groups will meet over the three day period. The Comp Plan consultants, MIG, will be present. The meeting will encompass the following items:

  • Define Roles & Expectations of Working Group Members, City staff and consultants
  • Review and Discuss Existing Conditions
  • Discuss Policy Goals for each Plan Element


Alamo Plaza Master Plan
The City, in partnership with the State, reissued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on April 15 to develop a Joint Master Plan for the Alamo and its surrounding historic district. On April 27,City staff held a pre-submittal conference. There were 56 attendees, three from out of state. Submissions are due May 14 and interviews are scheduled for June 3, 2015. Staff anticipates presenting the selected firm to City Council on June 18, 2015.

Interlocal Agreement with University Health System (UHS)
Dr. Schlenker briefed the Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Tuesday, April 28 regarding the extension of the Interlocal agreement with UHS. The committee unanimously voted to move the item forward to full City Council consideration. City Council approved the item on Thursday, May 7 which authorized a one year extension effective April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016 with a one year option to renew at approximately $190,000 per year.

KSAT TV will tape a video package about Stinson Municipal Airport as part of a Brooks CityBase sponsorship with the station. The Stinson segment is one of a series of 11 segments to air through July on KSAT Live Focusing on “live, work, learn and play” in the Brooks CityBase neighborhood. The video package will include Stinson’s history, 100th Anniversary, Stinson Airport tenants including Alamo Helicopter Tours and Palo Alto College. The segment is scheduled to air on May 26. Other organizations to be highlighted include Texas A&M, Brooks City Base Health and Wellness Center, Brooks Academy, Wyle Laboratories, Mission Solar Energy, Hangar 9, Chaba Thai Restaurant, the Republic Gold Club, Landing Apartments, City Base Cinema and Mission Trail Baptist Hospital.

Fiesta Parade Recycling Initiative
The recycling rate at Fiesta parades doubles this year compared to last year. The success can be attributed to more marketing, increased volunteers and mandatory departmental work days. The combined recycling rate for both parades was 22% this year compared to 11% last year.

2015 TIGER Grant
Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) provided technical assistance to Transportation and Capital Improvements for the US Department of Transportation 2015 TIGER grant pre-application. Additionally, IGR coordinated a transportation partners meeting with Bexar County, VIA, Brooks City Base, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and TxDOT to discuss viable transportation projects. The group is in support of two City projects: Broadway Complete streets and Presa St. ramps. TCI will request authorization to submit final application from City Council in the coming weeks.

2015 VITA Season

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program provides free federal tax return preparation to San Antonio and Bexar County taxpayers earning $60,000 or less annually.  Over 30 organizations, including DHS, Catholic Charities, United Way, other non-profit organizations, as well as, financial institutions, businesses, local colleges and universities and the IRS work together to offer VITA services.

The program uses IRS trained and certified volunteers and staff, electronic filing, and a direct deposit option to ensure that taxpayers receive their refund in a timely manner, typically in 10 to 14 business days.  The availability and accessibility of VITA services assists San Antonio working families in claiming significant federal credits to which they are entitled including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Education Credits, and Child Care Tax Credit.

This year, from January 20 through April 15, the coalition operated 20 VITA sites across the community – the Department of Human Services operated 16 of these sites and a mobile team.  As of April 27, VITA served 35,709 taxpayers, compared to 32,379 returns completed at this time last year, returning more than $59 million in total refunds and approximately $34 million in Earned Income Tax Credits to the community

VITA also saved our hard working taxpayers an estimated $8 million in tax preparation fees. This represents substantial savings for VITA families who have an average annual income of $21,000.  VITA will continue to operate two year-round tax clinics at the Frank Garrett Center, 1226 N. W. 18th Street and the Guadalupe Community Center, 1801 W. Cesar Chavez Blvd.