Walzem Revitalization: A Model for Central City!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
November 12, 2009
Teamwork by Windcrest, San Antonio and Bexar County is bringing a renaissance to the old Windsor Park Mall and the Walzem Road area. Recently attracted to the old Windsor Mall in Windcrest Texas, Rackspace is one of the largest managed (information) hosting companies in America. It boasts having about 500 employees now working at the old Windsor Mall. Just those 500 has brought a 10% increase in sales tax revenues from Walzem Area restaurants. Six new Walzem area restaurants have opened since Rackspace located there. Another 1,000 employees coming to the site will make it 1,500 by year's end.
Just a few of the other contributing developments in the area are:
- BRAC-Fort Sam Houston has brought and will have brought in $2.2 billion by the time it is done, in direct capital investment, building structures on post. The full effect of BRAC investment at Ft. Sam is still yet to be realized.
- The Austin-SA Commuter Rail will be on its way soon providing much improved transportation between here and Austin! There will be a rail stop in the area.
On another front, Bexar County partnered with the nonprofit Walzem Road Area Revitalization, Inc. (WRAR), created for the purpose of revitalizing Walzem Road and improving surrounding neighborhoods and business areas.
Bexar County has worked with local developers to provide assistance and help on housing improvements in challenged neighborhoods in its unincorporated area. On Glen Terrace Street, Bexar County partnered with an out-of-state couple and other investors who rehabbed what was once declared by the Bexar County Sheriffs Department as the worst street in Bexar County. Today it is a model for what the private and public sectors can do by working together to restore a community.
Nearby, the Area once known as the Robards Subdivision and known today as Woodcrest Reinvestment Zone #1 is such a zone between the City of Live Oak and Bexar County. In 2001 it was valued at $818,000. Today its value is $80 million dollars! Bexar County's investment is to reach $1.63 million by the end of the zone.
Back in May 2009 Bexar County provided assistance with trash/debris and removed a total of 41 tons that was found dumped illegally in the unincorporated subdivisions of the county.
The "Stonecutter" by Jacob August Riis comes to mind:
"I'd look at one of my stonecutters hammering away at the rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet, at the hundred and first blow it would split in two, and I knew it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." When we keep the faith in our neighborhoods young and old, we find that our combined efforts will "split" any problems afflicting our community!