The San Antonio Reorganization Committee revised its map once again on Saturday, following last-minute requests from the downtown business community to stay in District 1.
The new map was unanimously approved by the commission and will be presented to the city council on Thursday.
It would keep District 2051 and most of 1001 in District 1, while Cuellar Park will be restored in District 6. The Collins Garden Neighborhood Association would be in District 5.
“There was good business representation there and they were all shaking their heads in agreement that this was the right thing to do,” San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez said in an interview after the conference. ‘match.
Saturday’s meeting in the City Hall Boardroom included testimonials from Perez, San Antonio Center CEO Matt Brown, Weston Urban Development Manager David Robinson Jr., Frost Bank Spokesperson Bill Day, and President and CEO of Bill Miller BBQ Jim Guy Egbert, who requested that the committee preserve a unified central business district and cancel its plan to move part of the center from District 1 to District 5.
District 5 is represented by Councilor Teri Castillo, a housing organizer. Castillo did not immediately respond to a voicemail requesting comment on Saturday.
District 1 is represented by councilor Mario Bravo, who said he worked to find common ground with the businesses in his central neighborhood.
“I think a lot of people in the business world were probably really worried that I was going to be too radical or against business, and I think they were pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t,” said Bravo, who was elected in 2021.
“I met the [San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce] for a round table yesterday and we weren’t aligned on everything, but we are willing to work together and I’m willing to listen to them, ”he added.
Perez said the business community’s decision to lobby the reorganization committee was about consolidating their interests with a single board member, not choosing one board member over the other.
“That’s not the problem,” Perez said of working with Castillo instead of Bravo. “Let’s say 98% of your district isn’t downtown. … Our fear was that we would get 2% of that board member’s time, effort and energy because 98% [of her district] they were other things “.
Council members each chose two community members to represent their districts on the committee, which spent about six months trying to redeploy the city’s residents after the 2020 census showed the city had added around 100,000 residents.
The committee believed it finalized its map weeks ago, before District 2 residents expressed concerns about the loss of its piece of Brackenridge Park and the business community was involved in the downtown split.
Last week the committee canceled its plan to consolidate Brackenridge Park in District 1, appeasing activists in District 2. This week, the affected businesses in District 1 (including HEB, which is based in a district that was to move to District 5 ) were the desired result of remaining in District 1.
This angered some participants in the reorganization process, who showed up on Saturday hoping to reopen their concerns from previous meetings.
“I don’t understand how businessmen, journalists [and] the people in the community didn’t know what was going on, “said Cindy Munch, a Greater Harmony Hills resident whose request to keep her neighborhood in District 9 instead of District 1 was denied.” I think you’ll get tremendous support and I’m very disappointed because we obviously didn’t hear it from our district, ”Munch said of business leaders.
District 1 Representative Jordan Ghawi said Saturday’s changes are the result of hours of behind-the-scenes discussions between representatives from Districts 1, 5, and 6.
“Even this morning … we were still communicating and negotiating,” said John Ybanez, a representative from District 6.
Their proposal was enthusiastically received by the committee, although a District 5 representative acknowledged some disappointment at the changes at the end of the meeting.
District 5 currently has the smallest population of the 10 districts, with 119,736 residents. Although it has lost some of the residents it expected to earn with the changes on Saturday, the new map has an 8.84% deviation between districts, meeting the legal requirement that the districts be no larger or smaller than each other. the other by 10%.
“District 5 still needs to grow,” said Velma Pena, who represented that district on the committee. “I hope in the next 10 years [when redistricting could take place again]we will be considered au pair and will be able to get some of the areas we actually need. “