The San Antonio City Council unanimously approved on Thursday $830 million worth of proposed projects included in its 2017-2022 bond program. Council members still must consider another $20 million in proposed housing-related projects on Feb. 2.
The $850 million bond package is the largest in the city’s history. Council members are scheduled to approve the actual ballot language on Feb. 9 and then put the proposed projects before voters in May.
The package of projects approved on Thursday includes items ranging from street and drainage improvements to a new civic park that will anchor the ongoing redevelopment of Hemisfair.
“After almost 50 years of indecision, the city of San Antonio is united (and) taking action to transform Hemisfair into the urban parks district it deserves to be,” said Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corp. CEO Andres Andujar.
The bond package that will ultimately be decided by voters will include $21 million for the development of the new civic park. HPARC will still need to raise about $37 million more to construct the center city project.
But Andujar said the unanimous vote by Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Council members represents a “landmark moment” for San Antonio.
“The people of San Antonio have spoken, and our elected leaders have heard them,” he added.
The bond package also includes $10 million for a new athletics center planned for the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Park West sports complex that is already home to a soccer and track stadiums that were developed for the Roadrunners and for local, national and international event organizers.
The new center would include team showers, bathrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, meeting rooms, coaches’ offices, a weight and conditioning room, and medical training areas. It would complement the existing stadiums, which currently offer only temporary support facilities with no running water.
“It’s critical to helping complete a complex that has been important to the entire city,” UTSA Athletics Director Lynn Hickey told me from told me from NCAAmeetings in Nashville. “It will certainly also help us grow our athletic programs. This will really help us complete the purpose of that complex.”
Even if voters approve the project in May, UTSA will still need to raise an additional $25 million to develop the new center.
“We will continue doing what we are doing now — fundraising,” Hickey added. “This (bond money) will give us a jump start.”
Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal