Contractor commits to expedite improvements on St. Mary’s Strip following bar owners’ complaints

Mayor Nirenberg tells KSAT city putting pressure on contractor to expedite project

SAN ANTONIO – Following months of frustrations from business owners on the St. Mary’s Strip, the contractor promised District 1 City Councilman Mario Bravo that pedestrian-friendly improvements would be completed by the day’s end.

Bravo walked the popular strip on Wednesday with City Manager Erik Walsh, the project manager from SpawGlass and City of San Antonio Public Works inspectors, according to a release from Bravo’s office.

“Well, it’s definitely a lot cleaner out here. What I’ve seen is there were some obstacles that were trip hazards that have been removed,” Bravo said Wednesday evening.

Bravo said the contractor agreed to make the following improvements:

  • Potential trip hazards are being eliminated.
  • Additional orange safety fencing is being installed to delineate construction areas from pedestrian walkways.
  • Excess water is being pumped out.
  • When construction is completed for the day, the city will run street sweepers.

“While construction is ongoing, we are making efforts to make the area more pedestrian friendly. These businesses struggled through the pandemic and now through ongoing construction, but they are still open for business and ready to celebrate the holidays with you. Please come out and show them some support, and also remember to be respectful to the neighbors nearby,” Bravo said.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg told KSAT during the 6 p.m. Q&A on Tuesday that the project was being expedited. He’s hopeful the construction will be finished by March 2023.

“We are putting the pressure on the contractor to get this job done,” Nirenberg said. “They’ve been through COVID. They’ve been through, you know, policy wrangling. They’ve been through a lot of things that have been challenging.”

Business owners have complained that they are losing business due to road closures and extensive road construction along St. Mary’s Street.

Aaron Peña, owner of the Squeezebox, told KSAT this week that businesses are almost at a breaking point. He said that many employees are looking for jobs elsewhere because their income has dropped.

“I’m thinking that a lot of bars, including myself and restaurants — any nightlife, hospitality that’s on this street — will not make it past this next year,” Peña said.

Peña issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the efforts:

“At this point It’s laughable and convenient timing as we have been ramping up pressure on the city and his office recently. Anyone with a staff or a publicist can put together a press release, we didn’t ask for that- We are asking the city and his office to immediately send relief by way of funding and expedite this construction.”

Bravo responded to Peña’s statement, saying, “There’s no historical precedent for that. Nonetheless, I’ve been advocating for that. I probably asked the city staff five times, ‘Hey, is there some way we can provide economic relief?’”


About the Authors

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

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