Winds of Grace Must Transform Our Southside!
The Special Southside Reporter Edition
by

Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
February 5, 2007

For way too long to try and remember, the Southside has struggled for its dignity and respect. We have served the community at large by hosting the primary waste water repository at Mitchell Lake, sewage treatment plants in serious disrepair for far too long, two sizeable landfills for not only our County but for many of those counties surrounding us and very significant acreage exempt from taxation so that our entire community could have electricity from CPS. I wish I could say that this was the only challenge.

That challenge was heightened by a very significant lack of representation in public offices that carry substantial clout! The City Council was elected at-large or city-wide. So was the Bexar County House of Representatives Delegation elected county-wide. Of these twenty positions, the Southern Sector, the South, East, West and near North sides of our community probably had for forty year or so, only about five of these positions.

Today with single-member districts we have more or less about ten of these twenty positions. That's a lot of clout and economic development. And with the growth that has been taking place, we will substantially increase the caliber of all of our community.

The Crown Jewel: The San Antonio River!

The San Antonio River Improvements Project is a $198.7 million investment by the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the San Antonio River Foundation in flood control, amenities, ecosystem restoration and recreational improvements along 13 miles of the San Antonio River. The Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project with the USACE focuses on an eight mile section of the San Antonio River Improvements Project extending south of downtown San Antonio from Alamo Street south to Loop 410 South. Improvements will focus on ecosystem restoration using a technique known as fluvial geomorphology. This technique will transform the straightened river to replicate the original flow of the river while increasing flood control, reducing erosion, re-introducing native vegetation and creating an environment more suitable for recreation and wildlife. This $126 million ecosystem restoration project will establish 24,000 native trees, 56 acres of native grasses, 113 acres of aquatic habitat, 320 acres of riparian habitat and restore two river remnants.

In addition, eight miles of hike and bike trails will be added or reconstructed to augment the existing Mission Trails system, thus reestablishing historic and cultural connections between the river and the city's origin as preserved through the historic Spanish missions located in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The Mission Reach project will also allow the river to act as a gateway to and catalyst for economic development and neighborhood revitalization occurring in a historically underdeveloped and neglected inner-city sector of the city. The first phase of the Mission Reach is scheduled to begin construction fall of 2007 and all four phases of the Mission Reach are scheduled to be completed by 2012.

In the spirit with which the San Antonio Spanish Missions were established, what we now must do is grow with grace!

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