The Southside's Last Ten Years in a Nutshell!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
April 10, 2008

From its inception as a crossroads for Indian settlers to the era of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas to Statehood over the last 163 years, there have been developmental highpoints. The first major development to change the Southside if not Texas itself was surely the placement of the Spanish Missions along the River in the mid-1700's. Then the installation of Kelly, Lackland, Brooks and Medina Air Force Bases would be my thoughts on the next serious "second wave" of development. Today we are in the third wave of reinventing the Southside!

Toyota

Toyota has built a new $1.2 billion vehicle assembly plant in San Antonio, Texas. This new plant is Toyota's sixth North American assembly plant. Toyota is poised to become the world's largest auto manufacturer. The San Antonio facility is to produce 200,000 Tundra full size trucks. It will also employ approximately 2000 people including salaried and hourly positions. Also, Toyota generated another 2,100 jobs with their onsite supplier park with an additional capital investment of $673 million.

Texas A & M

The San Antonio University is aligned with the Texas A & M University System and A & M, Kingsville. Its parent system has many degree programs that are ranked among the top 10 in the country. What a bright future we have with Texas A & M University!

The best and much more is yet to come! Stay tuned.

The Port Authority

According to its web site, "Port San Antonio is a master-planned, 1,900 acre aerospace, industrial complex and international logistics platform, centrally located in San Antonio, Texas. Created from the former Kelly Air Force Base, Port San Antonio is approximately equidistant from the East and West coasts of the United States and at the center of the NAFTA Corridor between Mexico and Canada. The entire development enjoys designation as a Foreign Trade Zone."

Brooks CityBase

Brooks CityBase confirmed the major east-west artery in Southeast San Antonio from East Southcross to now be Southeast Military Drive. Its Landing located at the corner of Goliad and Southeast Military Drive is South San Antonio's latest retail shopping center. The continued shopping success of City Base Landing has spawned the openings of more retail shopping centers in the immediate vicinity.

San Antonio River Improvements

The eight-mile Mission Reach, extending from Lone Star Blvd. to Mission Espada, will reintroduce native vegetation, create an environment more suitable for wildlife, add trails and recreational amenities, and reconnect the historic San Antonio Missions to the river. It will establish 24,000 native trees, 56 acres of native grasses, 113 acres of aquatic habitat, 320 acres of riparian habitat (landscape features that support fish and wildlife in areas near water bodies) and restore two river remnants.

Enhancements to this stretch of the river will support recreational activities such as birding, jogging, bicycling and canoeing. Portals will be designed near Mission ConcepciĆ³n, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada to re-establish a link between the river and the missions.

City South

This region, just minutes from downtown, is characterized by scenic pastures, tree-lined creeks and a slower-paced, country lifestyle. Changes to the landscape will be inclusive of the area's hard-working, traditional and community-minded spirit that has been passed down through generations.

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

What was once a major blight on our Southside has been transformed into a great asset! The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center is located on a 1200-acre natural area. This unique and beautiful bird haven consists of the 600-acre Mitchell Lake, 215 acres of wetlands and ponds and 385 acres of upland habitat. It is not uncommon to see American White Pelicans by the hundreds resting among an assortment of waterbirds such as Northern Pintail, American Avocet, and Green Heron. In the summertime, Painted Buntings and Orchard Orioles can be heard and seen off the porch of the beautifully restored 1910 home that is now the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. The Center is nestled among a colorful garden of xeriscape plants.

Along with all of the above and much more, the So-Flo (South Flores Street) district, ever-enhanced King William Historic District, South Town, South Park Mall Revitalization, HEB McCreless Market development and the doubling of the HOLT CAT Power Systems facility are just a few of the other developments in the Southside.

Awakened as never before, these economic generators and amenities will enhance the social and economic landscape of our Southside in an historic way. Also, the price of gas will cause a recentralizing of growth into our older Southside communities. New partnerships among school districts of the area and the County's economic development department will foster renewal and invigorate communities once left to fend for themselves.

Ten years has made all the difference in the world for our Southside!

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