Westside Business Alliance Gathers Area Leaders To Share Concerns

Photos by Jonathan Guajardo - Editor, SA Sentinel

May 15, 2019 - Westside San Antonio

Article By: Jonathan Guajardo - Editor, SA Sentinel

While the City Council B-Session scooted on by at Port San Antonio, another meeting took place at the Maestro Entrepreneurship Center on the Westside of San Antonio. Organized by the Westside Business Alliance and the Westside Development Corporation, the meeting featured business leaders from six target areas of the Westside: the Commerce/Buena Vista area, the Colorado/Laredo/Nogalitos area, the General McMullen area, the Zarzamora area, the Guadalupe/Castroville area, and the Culebra area.

Opportunity-Zones on the Westside. Photo from the  Westside Development Corp Website .

Opportunity-Zones on the Westside. Photo from the Westside Development Corp Website.

The first half of the meeting involved presentations by the leaders of the Westside Business Alliance talking about notable projects coming to the Westside. One of these notable projects was the UTSA expansion plan. A pamphlet handed out at the start of the meeting cited a quote by Ron Nirenberg. “The presence of a major downtown campus would be catalytic for sustainable development of the city,” said Nirenberg on the pamphlet.

Also addressed was the Zona Cultural project which refers to “a local effort with the City of San Antonio and Zona Cultural stakeholders to apply for formal Cultural District designation with the State of Texas Commission on the Arts.” The benefits of being a certified Cultural District would be that the area could “harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization.”

Opportunity-Zones were also discussed at the meeting. Meant to encourage long-term investment in distressed communities, the program seeks to encourage investment “in previously unrealized capital gains in designated zones in exchange for deferment and reduction of capital gains.”

Also mentioned was the Avenida Guadalupe 2020 Master Plan, which is an expanded vision of the first study from 1980 and reflects different options for housing, recreation, and commercial development that could impact the West Side of SA. The last topic included in the pamphlet and in the opening remarks was the Westside Creeks Restoration Project, which is a “community-based restoration effort started in 2008 by the San Antonio River Authority.” The project includes 3.63 miles of Alazan Creek, 3.83 miles of Apache Creek, and 2.81 miles of Martinez Creek.

Business leaders list problems they’re facing in their district. (Photo by  Jonathan Guajardo .)

Business leaders list problems they’re facing in their district. (Photo by Jonathan Guajardo.)

The next half of the meeting involved the business leaders listing what they are happy about on the Westside as well as items that need improvement within the community in regards to making their businesses more successful. Some items that business leaders emphasized as high points about having their companies on the Westside included the location being close to downtown, having access to other Westside businesses, the sense of community that is shared among Westside businesses, and the longevity of many companies in that area. Some topics of concern included inadequate lighting, homeless issues, solicitation issues, crime concerns, vandalism, sidewalk repair, and prostitution. The meeting wrapped up with the Westside Business Alliance stating that they would take their concerns to the City Council, specifically council member Shirley Gonzales who was not present at the meeting due to the B-Session at Port San Antonio.