January 12, 2021, San Antonio, TX – The Westside of San Antonio will soon be getting its first comprehensive economic growth strategic plan, thanks to a $110,000 grant awarded to the Westside Development Corporation (WDC) by the Westside Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), subject to City Council approval. What many see as a challenge, WDC sees as an opportunity – an opportunity to develop an inclusive strategic plan that will set the course for the Westside and a new role for WDC to oversee and manage its successful implementation.
“Our goal is to create a national model for inclusive economic growth that will enrich every member of the Westside community and enhance our cultural heritage,” says Ramiro Gonzales, President and CEO of WDC. The strategic plan will be developed in partnership with HR&A, an economic development consulting firm with extensive knowledge and experience in other San Antonio based initiatives including areas of downtown, the east side, and Hemisfair. Like the Westside Development Corporation, HR&A understands the value and critical importance of preserving and enhancing the rich cultural heritage of the city’s Westside as it moves forward in economic advancement.
When it comes to creating a community where everyone benefits from economic growth, planning is everything. To foster economic growth that helps those most at-risk of being left-behind, forward-thinking strategies focused on inclusion and opportunity are critical. Over a proposed four-month period, an inclusive economic growth strategic plan will be developed, providing equitable opportunities that benefit existing businesses and residents. Areas of focus will include real estate, public infrastructure, housing, small business development, workforce development, among others. Another key element is the COVID-19 Recovery and Small Business Support component that analyzes best practices around the country following an emergency crisis, and what each scenario would look like if implemented here.
A steering committee as diverse as the Westside will be assembled to guide this strategic plan focused on the 15-square miles of the WDC service area, just outside of downtown. These Westside stakeholders ranging from local officials to residents, community leaders, and nonprofits with different backgrounds, life experiences, and ideas, will work together on the shared goal of shaping the economic prosperity of the Westside. Once complete, WDC will coordinate the execution and implementation of the strategic plan by working closely with public, private, and nonprofit partners.
While the strategic plan is built on data-driven insights and analysis, its success will be measured over time in the lives and experiences of those who call the Westside home. The next five-to-ten years will be the ultimate test to measure equitable Westside recovery and growth. “We live in one of the nation’s most economically-segregated cities; and the pandemic has only highlighted these longstanding inequities. Inclusive economic growth and recovery leads to a better city for all, not just those with means. Building a stronger Westside is essential for the residents and businesses of today, tomorrow, and for our city as a whole, but it won’t happen by accident. We must be strategic and intentional. This plan is the first step in the right direction” Gonzales said.
Final approval of the grant by the Westside TIRZ to WDC is scheduled for consideration by City Council in early February.
For more information on the Westside Development Corporation, please visit their website at www.westsidedevcorp.com. For more information on HR&A, please go to their website at www.hraadvisors.com. For a brief summary of HR&As long history in San Antonio, additional information is provided below.
About the Westside Development Corporation
The Westside Development Corporation is a City of San Antonio delegate agency, nonprofit organization, and local government corporation responsible for attracting new business and assisting existing business in the Westside of San Antonio. The organization has been responsible for fostering economic development, promoting the development and redevelopment of real estate, creating viable urban communities, and preserving the character, culture, and history of San Antonio’s Westside.
For more information about the WDC please visit WestsideDevCorp.com, “Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Westside-Development-Corporation/ or follow us on Twitter @westsidedevcorp.
HR&A and San Antonio
HR&A has a long history of translating local goals into customized economic growth strategies for neighborhoods in and around San Antonio. When the City first sought to jump start reinvestment in its core neighborhoods, HR&A determined which specific infrastructure, housing, and amenity investments would most effectively advance this objective and developed both the Center City Strategic Framework and the Center City Retail Strategy. We also undertook rigorous site analysis and financial feasibility computations to help San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE) develop an Economic Development Strategy for the City’s Promise Zone. Another memorable project was Hemisfair Park, where we supported development planning with guidance on programming, implementation phasing, and finances.
Media Contact: Sara Reyes