As UTSA and the surrounding area rapidly expands, there are a number of concerns associated with residential and commercial development.
District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg is the San Antonio representative for UTSA’s Main Campus and surrounding areas such as La Cantera, The Rim and the Medical Center.
On Feb. 15, Nirenberg held a “State of the District” address to discuss the future of District 8 and allow constituents to address their concerns.
In attendance were City Manager Sheryl Sculley and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. Sculley opened the address by delivering a short speech in which she discussed growth and finance in San Antonio.
According to her estimates, San Antonio’s population is increasing by 25,000 per year. At this rate, San Antonio’s population is expected to surpass two million by 2040.
Sculley also noted that San Antonio is the only city among the top 10 largest U.S. cities with a AAA bond rating. As a result, the city enjoys low interest rates, which attracts business investment and development.
That attractive development, however, has prompted numerous concerns — the environment being among the most pressing.
In his speech, Nirenberg noted that “water scarcity is the biggest threat to South Texas.”
Much of District 8 and UTSA lie over the Edward’s Aquifer recharge zone, which is the largest source of water for San Antonio. As more residential and commercial developments are constructed impervious asphalt will potentially inhibit the aquifer’s ability to refill itself.
Several constituents at the address called for stricter regulation to commercial development, noting that the economic growth associated with businesses buys them more influence in municipal government.
Nirenberg was quick to defend UTSA’s development by saying, “UTSA’s growth has provided more degrees than any southern Texas university and brought millions (of dollars) to the community.”
Among the other concerns brought up by local residents were demands for more green spaces, citywide Wi-Fi, road maintenance, police officer accountability, a pay increase for council members and safer parks.
The councilman finished his address by promising to fight for job creation, workforce development and incentives for business investment.