King William neighbors, Blue Star businesses and residents, and the Pioneer Flour Mill celebrated the re-opening the S. Alamo Street Bridge with a ribbon cutting and mini-parade on a beautiful, albeit chilly, autumn morning on November 1. District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal, District 2 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, and our SARA Board representative Tom Weaver gave speeches to mark this event. The mini-parade which followed was led by Mike Casey and included a fife and drum quartet, Steve Wood of Bullet Bikes, Pioneer balloons, the HEB Cart and a police car. A construction vehicle with a “Mission Accomplished” banner brought up the rear. Once crossing the bridge, folks dispersed at Blue Star for coffee and conversation. Cherise Bell, Sue Duffy, Brad Shaw and Rose Kanusky are to be thanked for their assistance in putting this celebration together.
The efforts of the various agencies, departments and contractors responsible for this are appreciated! We are all relieved now that this major thoroughfare is open to traffic and that congestion on Guenther Street has been alleviated. A few items, such as lighting, need to be completed, so do not be surprised to see construction vehicles still working on the bridge and temporary lane changes.

My first month in office has certainly been a busy one. Right off the bat, Cherise and I met with Councilman Diego Bernal regarding several neighborhood issues, primarily parking, traffic and First Friday. Councilman Bernal immediately took action on the parking and transportation issue, and that brought some promising results. This led to a meeting with Trish Wallace, Transportation Planning Manager at the Department of Transportation & Capital Improvements. The DoTCI had never done a neighborhood traffic study before. Consequently, TCI, in coordination with City Center Development Office (CCDO) and SAPD, will be conducting a preliminary parking needs and assessment for King William and Lavaca. This will be used to develop a plan and a model for other neighborhood studies. In the short run, we hope to get some resolution with local businesses regarding commercial parking, and, in the long run, perhaps a parking garage in the neighborhood. Rose Kanusky will chair the KWA Transportation and Parking Committee, which will work with the DoTCI to develop a plan for our neighborhoods.

Patricia Duarte and Joe and Mary Helen Mansbach organized the successful National Night Out eve

One of the major challenges facing the Association this past year was to develop a better understanding of the role, purpose and direction of the Association. Therefore, the board secured the services of a consultant to help develop the KWA strategic plan. The board has adopted the plan, and it provides a definitive set of goals that point the path forward for the organization and what needs to be addressed in the near-term and short-term. Many of the suggestions that were voiced during the membership input meetings are embedded in the goals that have been documented. Many of the goals documented in the plan are already being addressed. The plan is a living document and will certainly be tweaked as new challenges arise. I invite you to carefully review this document, embrace it, and identify areas of interest where you can contribute to helping the King William Association meet the challenges facing our neighborhood.

When approached to be president of the KWA, my first reaction was to pass up the candidacy because of a heavy workload. After talking it over with my wife Molly and KWA staff, however, I decided to accept the opportunity to preside over the KWA Board and operations. I approach the position with no preconceived agenda, but look to assist in meeting the challenges that will occur and to help guide the association forward with regards to neighborhood needs. I am a past Board member and served on the Executive Committee under president Brad Shaw, and have been on the Finance Committee for six years. I also bring the experience of serving on the CoSA Historic Design and Review Committee for the past five years. Presiding over a non-profit is not a new experience for me, so I feel qualified to meet the challenges.

Challenges will continue to face our neighborhood in the near and long term as development continues to change the character of properties within our boundaries and in our surrounding area. At our May general membership meeting you heard our member’s displeasure with the proposed installation of generic VIA bus stops within our association’s boundaries. The proposed bus stops have no historical identity with our neighborhood and degrade the integrity of our preservation efforts. The City has also planned for installation of pedestrian lights that many of our members questioned. Changes such as these are recommended for approval through the Office of Historical Preservation (OHP), then reviewed and approved by the Historical Design & Review Committee (HDRC) and then perhaps the Board of Adjustments (BoA). Unfortunately these plans were approved even after the KWA Architectural Advisory Committee raised valid issues why these installations should not be allowed. The KWA position, as echoed in our membership input meetings, is to keep our neighborhood historic by following simple historic preservation concepts. Allowing non-historically based modifications and installations means that the character of this valued asset in the City of San Antonio is rapidly being depreciated.