The first annual State of the Center City was held by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Friday afternoon at the St. Anthony Riverwalk Hotel Downtown.
City Councilman Diego Bernal delivered the address, and highlighted a number of projects that his office has accomplished and is currently working on, including the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, The upcoming development of a streetcar system, and the ongoing efforts to bring a supermarket downtown.
"Downtown is everybody's neighborhood and it belongs to them," said Councilman Bernal. "The theme of this report is that not only are we trying to rehab downtown, but we are trying to give it back to the residents. So, the residents and the tourists are sharing it, as opposed to it being sort of primarily for one or the other."
The report comes as part of the city council's effort to bring people back to the center city as part of Mayor Julian Castro's SA 2020 Initiative.
Bernal said his office still has a lot of work ahead of them, with two main obstacles in their way right now.
"In downtown we have a tremendous number of empty buildings, and they're being held onto by folks at such length that we can't get anything done, and that's not good for anybody. We need their help to find a creative solution to get those buildings sold and occupied with businesses, or residents, or galleries," said Councilman Bernal.
"And then second, If it's going to be the decade of downtown, then downtown schools have to be a part of that," said Councilman Bernal. "The Henry Ford Academy is coming downtown, we've got the private schools near the river, we've got Fox Tech. They need to be a part of this conversation, and I expect building owners and business owners to reach out to those schools and bring them along with downtown as we move forward."
By : Marissa A. Wagner
Friday, February 15, 2013