SAHA asks community to ‘Reimagine Alazan’ for its master plan

Next two weeks dedicated to getting community input

SAN ANTONIO – Derailed primarily by public outcry, instead of a public-private partnership, the San Antonio Housing Authority is asking the community to “Reimagine Alazan,” a master plan for the city’s oldest and most historic housing project.

“This is the residents’ and the community’s master plan, not our master plan,” said Mario Pena, whose firm, Able City, was selected to oversee the project.

The kickoff will begin 6 p.m. Tuesday on Zoom and Facebook Live, followed by a two-week series of open houses, from 3-6 p.m. weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at the Alazan Courts community center at 1011 S. Brazos.

“We’re hear to listen,” Pena said.

But even beyond the initial public input, Pena said there will be check-ins throughout the design process.

“We need acknowledgment from the community that we’re headed in the right direction, and so we check in for that acknowledgment all the way through to the end,” Pena said.

Among the first to raise concerns about possibly demolishing units and displacing residents, Teri Castillo went on to become the city council member representing District 5.

In a statement, Castillo said she was pleased to know SAHA is hosting the meetings to get input from residents and neighbors “to ensure the master plan reflects community priorities.”

Now that she’s on city council, Castillo said, “We look forward to supporting and ensuring the voices of District 5 residents are integrated into the plan.”

Castillo also said she hopes it will lead to further collaborative approaches to future development in the city.

Pena said he’s optimistic about getting the needed community input.

“They’re going to learn about the design process and we’re going to learn about what’s important to them,” he said.

Pena said gathering what they need from the community will take about two months.

“Then we start the design portion through the summer with hopefully a final design for September, October,” he said.

Kayla Miranda, one of the founding members of the Coalition for Tenant Justice, said unlike the previous SAHA leadership, the community helped choose the master planner for “Reimagine Alazan.”

“I hope that they follow what the community desires and what we want,” Miranda said.

Leticia Sanchez, co-chair of the Historic Westside Residents Association said, “I think under the new leadership, we are being heard.”

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.