Stories

A Pretty Good List of Pretty Great Things in 2017

By SA2020 | Jan 4 2018

At SA2020, we know that micro efforts produce macro results and working together towards common goals produce positive community changes. That’s why we pay particular attention when efforts in our city tie into our community vision.

On January 19, we will release our 2017 Impact Report, which provides a snapshot of where our community stands on our community vision. To be honest, we have work to do. But at SA2020 we believe we should highlight challenges and celebrate successes.

2017 was filled with opportunities to celebrate our collective work, and we’ve compiled a list of efforts that we were particularly excited about. This is obviously not an exhaustive list. We’d love to hear from you about the efforts you saw that you think will ultimately help get us to our collective goals.

Arts & Culture

1. Cruz Ortiz/Snakehawk Press’s DreamSong Tower on the Southside shows what art can do for a neighborhood

2. Mujer Artes Cooperativa de Esperanza Peace and Justice Center opened, providing a new home for the artists’ cooperative, where women teach, learn, and show their work. Plus, with the studio is made out of compressed Earth blocks (adobe) and is the first adobe commercial structure in San Atnonio in over 100 years!

3. The Playhouse San Antonio entered Phase 1 of a specialized transition program to become a Small Professional Theater by the Actors Equity Association.

4. San Antonio Botanical Garden opened Phase I of their 8-acre expansion

 

Civic Engagement

1. Voter turnout – bonds, council, mayor – oh my! At just over 13%, our voter turnout is still not the best, but cracking 100,000 voters since 2005 and nearly doubling millennial voter turnout are both something to celebrate.

2. SA2020 launched ilovesanantonio.org/meencantasanantonio.org with the help of over 10 partners. This one-stop municipal election resource gave up-to-date election information in both English and Spanish.

3. $4.6 million was raised for area nonprofits during The Big Give SA.

4. CivTechSA, a collaborative program of Geekdom and the City of San Antonio’s Office of Innovation, launched. It is designed to introduce middle, high school, and college students, entrepreneurs, and the tech workforce to city challenges.

5. The Mayor and City Council passed the Compassionate City Resolution.

6. For the first time in the City’s history, Mayor and Council use equity as a means to allocate budget funds.

 

Community Safety

1. San Antonio joined eleven other jurisdictions in the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Cities Network, a multi-jurisdiction network dedicated to providing publicly-funded representation for people facing deportation. Each jurisdiction was selected by Vera Institute of Justice through a competitive request for proposals process. Under the new SAFE Cities Network initiative, San Antonio will provide funding for trained legal service providers to represent immigrants facing deportation proceedings supplemented by a catalyst grant administered by Vera.

 

Downtown Development

1. Frost Tower broke ground, becoming the first commercial tower in downtown since the 80s.

2. Mayor Nirenberg put a pause on a city policy that incentivized downtown housing. While intent for the the Center City Housing Incentives Policy was to revitalize downtown, it will be evaluated in May 2018 for its role in affordability in downtown housing.

 

Economic Competitiveness

1. USAA announced a major investment in jobs and downtown.

2. SA Works placed 700 summer interns and 1,300 job shadows.

3. South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce launched the Southside First Economic Development Council to focus on economic and community development on San Antonio’s Southside

 

Education

1. San Antonio Education Partnership launched Upgrade to help working adults go back to and complete their college degree or certificate.

2. SAISD opened CAST Tech.

3. Investments in education included:

Toyota invested $1.7 million in STEM labs and CAST Tech for SWISD

USAA invested $1.9 million in STEM/financial literacy hub in NISD

Charles Butt pledged $100 million in educational leadership center

4. Schaefer Library opened on San Antonio’s Eastside

 

Environmental Sustainability

1. City Council unanimously approved an agreement to develop a Climate Action Plan.

2. San Antonio joined other cities across the U.S. in support of the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

Family Well-Being

1. USAA invested $1.3 million in fighting homelessness.

2. United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County launched the Bexar County Children’s Agenda.

3. ChildSafe broke ground on a new campus and donated 21 acres to the City to build a greenway train on Salado Creek.

4. Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world’s first ultra-accessible water park, opened.

 

Health & Fitness

1. Bexar County Health Improvement Plan was released, proposing improvements to the community’s health in multiple ways.

2. Harvey E. Najim Family YMCA opened on San Antonio’s Southside

3. Community Health and Equity Committee is launched by Mayor Nirenberg and chaired by Councilwoman Ana Sandoval.

4. Surclovía launched in City Council District 4 on Old Pearsall Road.

5. Clarity Child Guidance Center opened the newly renovated Santikos Living Unit on their Medical Center Campus.

 

Neighborhoods

1. Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force launched.

2. The city’s first Digital Inclusion Summit was held, prioritizing digital access for all of San Antonio’s residents.

3. Elmendorf Lake Park opened following a $16.2 million improvement, adding pedestrian bridges, a splash pad, two miles of trails, and more.

4. San Antonio City Council District 5 launched an affordable housing pilot program to connect low and moderate-income residents to housing resources, while bringing new housing development to the district and protecting residents from displacement.

5. New Territories Park opened with new improvements, including: sidewalks, seating, picnic areas, and solar security lighting.

 

Transportation

1. VIA launched its new goMobile app.

2. VIA hosted a Go Code Event for transit solutions.

3. SA Corridors launched, helping shape development around transit, walking, and biking.

4. West Avenue Bridge opened, completing a $6.6 million bond project to improve drainage.

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