*This story has been updated as of 3:25p.m. on March 27, 2017.
Small business owners Abel and Janie Ramirez were two of a handful of residents to discuss new developments at Brooks City-Base Cinema on March 9. The couple attended to learn how an upcoming city bond might affect the emerging development on the South Side of San Antonio.
The couple, owners of Abel’s Bicycle Shop, located at 1119 Ada St. have spent the last 30 years shopping and visiting Brooks City-Base.
“Business is good and everything, but we need to make sure that the infrastructure is there…we will hold their feet to the fire,” Abel Ramirez said.
During the town hall, representatives provided details on how their organizations will benefit City-Base and the South Side.
Leo Gomez, Brooks City Base president and CEO, informed attendees of the Bond Package in early May.
The bond program on the May 6 ballot is an $850 million package of projects reviewed and selected by citizen committees then approved by City Council, according to ONESA’s website.
This includes city infrastructure, drainage, public safety facilities and neighborhood improvements.
City-Base plans detail a proposed link of South New Braunfels Avenue into Brooks City-Base along with an intersection with Lyster Road, continuing into Aviation Landing. The project costs more than $10,000.
Gomez said the Bond package in May is crucial to building new infrastructure in a timely manner.
Gomez provided an overview of area design, outcomes of the South Side’s first full-service hotel, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) School of Osteopathic Medicine and a report from the San Antonio Police Department.
“Everything that we do is to accomplish one goal: to create real, quality jobs,” Gomez said.
Project completion ranges from this year through 2018.
Land Use Plan
Gomez described the “land use” plan as broken down into three segments: mixed retail/ residential; office/ residential; and light-industrial.
“There is more coming, which means more growth, which means more traffic, which means more need to plan for that traffic,” Gomez said.
“If the voters approve the Bond package in May, we will not face the issues to the degree in which we fear,“ Gomez said.
Gomez also mentioned subsequent endeavours such as the Kennedy Apartments, Nissei Plastic Industrial Co., Greenline Park, and, most notably, the historic Hangar 9 event venue.
Hangar 9, built in 1918, is the last hangar still standing from the World War I era.
The grand opening of this historic landmark for public use is set for March 24.
Hospitality and Academics
Embassy Suites will open as the first full-service hotel in South San Antonio.
General Manager Patricia Conant said that as a full-service hotel, Embassy Suites “will have consistent and luxurious services along with a built-in restaurant.”
Connie Gonzalez, director of Brooks City Base public relations, confirmed that Embassy Suites will be the only full-service hotel from South San Antonio all the way down to McAllen.
Dr. Corrine Jedynak, UIW’s associate dean of the School of Osteopathic Medicine connected curriculum with community in her presentation.
“With student applicants from South and South Central…an estimated $60 million injected into the South Side economy by just having a medical school,” Corrine said.
UIW’s School of Osteopathic Medicine opens to students in July 2016 and will have full classes in fall 2016.
SAPD officer Carlos Guillen relayed concerns of the homeless people and unhinged racers in the City Base area.
A member of South San Antonio Fear Free Environment Unit (SAFFE), Guillen’s goal is to resolve community crime issues with the help of the community.
“We have a homeless problem in San Antonio,” Guillen said. “We have tried reaching out to them.”
Guillen said that the South SAFFE Unit, in cooperation with City Base leaders, District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, social services and Haven for Hope were unsuccessful in aiding the homeless.
Guillen said many homeless suffer from mental health issues and substance abuse.
Daniel Wickhem, tenant of Indian Hills Trailer Park located in east City Base, commented on the situation in an interview with The Mesquite.
“I’ve seen around 8-9 beggars across the Burger King. They used to be in the wooded area before there was a Walmart or a Sam’s Club. Now they beg on the streets,” Wickhem said.
San Antonio should do their best to give them jobs,” Wickhem continued.
Guillen also warned to be wary of Sunday night racers down Southeast Military Drive.
“My fear is that they’ll crash into someone. These kids don’t think about it, going at 100 mph,” Guillen said.
Guillen encouraged the audience to follow the SAPD South SAFFE Facebook page and to shoot them a message if anyone has any issues or concerns.
For more information about Brooks City base development, refer to their website.