Organization says San Antonio's revitalization plan doesn't go far enough

13 neighborhoods selected for rehab, with money from proposed 2017 bond

SAN ANTONIO – The city on Wednesday unveiled which neighborhoods it aims to revitalize, using money from the proposed 2017 bond project.

But a local activist group said the city’s plan doesn’t go far enough.

There are 13 neighborhoods selected that span the city. The majority are east, west and south of downtown San Antonio.
The goal is to enhance distressed areas that meet state criteria. About $20 million of the proposed 2017 bond would be used for the city to buy property, demolish any vacant homes or old buildings and prepare the land for a developer to build affordable housing.

“Given the city’s current charter, we are not allowed to use bonds to improve properties today -- to rehab them or do minor (repairs),” Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni said. “The mayor said today that she’s looking at a charter commission that would allow us to do that in the future.”

But the group C.O.P.S./Metro Alliance has concerns. It worries whether developers would be held accountable to build truly affordable housing.

The group also feels part of the $20 million should be used to rehabilitate existing homes.

“Definitely rehab programs are a major need in our inner city, and as far as the housing, (we hope) that it (would) be a mix of workforce and lower income,” said Maria Tijerina, of C.O.P.S./Metro Alliance.

The city will require developers to build a certain percentage of affordable housing, city officials said. On Thursday, the City Council will vote on whether to approve those 13 neighborhoods slated for revitalization.

San Antonio’s bond election will be held next May.

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