KWA Newsletter Articles

SAY Sí (San Antonio Youth, YES) has long been known as San Antonio’s premier out-of-school time creative youth development organization. Since its inception in 1994, its growing success rates have garnered national attention and recognition. But for the first time in its 21-year history – SAY Sí’s tuition-free programs will go global. 

On February 9, SAY Sí hosted a “Changemakers Press Conference” event to announce new program support from: The Santikos Charitable Foundation, COSA’s Department for Culture and Creative Development and Adobe’s new corporate responsibility initiative, Project 1324.

Read more: SAY Sí Goes Global

The most time consuming New Year’s resolution is the one I’ve made this year.  I’m finally going through the pyramid of boxes that have been entombed in my carriage house since I moved in ten years ago.  The move from Austin was more like the flight of an exiled government, there wasn’t time to burn all the documents so I dragged them all with me, unsorted, unread, and largely unknown.  I had to start my new job here on very little notice and was lucky to find a house that could shelter generations of family accumulations. 

Read more: City Lights: March 2016

Want to work on your house but do not know how to get started?  

COSA’s Office of Historic Preservation has a brochure titled “I want to work on my historic building or my property within a local historic district.  What do I do?”  You can obtain a copy from the King William Association office or online at www.sanantonio.gov/portals/0/Files/HistoricPreservation/App_process-9-2010.pdf 

Basically, if you are doing a project on your house you must get a permit.  Since we live in a historic district, before you get a permit you must have a “Certificate of Appropriateness” from the Office of Historic Preservation.  The brochure explains the difference between an “Administrative Certificate” and the “Historic and Design Review” process. 

Read more: OHP Building Projects Guidelines Available

As a young child full of excitement and wonder about the natural world, I recall watching a tiny spider painstakingly weave its large, intricate web.  I also remember watching with glee when a fly unwittingly flew into its trap as the spider rushed to devour it.  The delicate, artistic web that this little engineer of the natural world builds and the clever hunting tactics it applies to capture prey all happen with such magical precision. 

Read more: The Black and Yellow Garden Spider

We have had a fairly mild winter, but if you are like me you are looking forward to spring and warm weather.  But when is that?

Because of newsletter deadlines I happened to have started composing this on Ground Hog Day.  That got me started thinking about theories and tales of when spring starts and the danger of frost is past.  Here are a few.  I hope you find them somewhat informative and maybe even amusing.

Ground Hog Day is February 2.  I do not know how it got started, but up in Pennsylvania a ground hog named Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow and if he sees his shadow that means six more weeks of winter.  This year he did not see his shadow, so based on this “theory” we will have an early spring.  But Phil lives in Pennsylvania.  So what does that mean for us in South Texas?  We will have to wait and see.

Read more: Out in the Garden: March 2016

In a case that was widely reported in local media, the City Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) narrowly allowed installation of 45 photovoltaic solar panels on a historic home at the corner of Mission and Eagleland.  32 of these panels will be on roof surfaces that are not easily seen from the public right-of-way, consistent with most installations approved by HDRC in King William and other historic districts.  Because the house is on a corner lot, however, 13 panels will be visible from Eagleland, and these panels have been a source of controversy.

For the record, we present statements by Mickey Conrad, architect and chair of the KWA Architectural Advisory Committee, and by former state representative Mike Villarreal, owner and resident of the house.  As this newsletter goes to press, we understand that the HDRC will discuss guidelines for solar installations in historic districts at their February 17 meeting.

Technology Enhances Our Neighborhood

My family recently applied for city authorization to install solar panels on the back and side of our home – a request opposed by the KWA management and Architectural Advisory Committee.  I would like to explain the situation from my family’s perspective.

Read more: Historic Preservation and Solar Energy Part 2

In a case that was widely reported in local media, the City Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) narrowly allowed installation of 45 photovoltaic solar panels on a historic home at the corner of Mission and Eagleland.  32 of these panels will be on roof surfaces that are not easily seen from the public right-of-way, consistent with most installations approved by HDRC in King William and other historic districts.  Because the house is on a corner lot, however, 13 panels will be visible from Eagleland, and these panels have been a source of controversy.

For the record, we present statements by Mickey Conrad, architect and chair of the KWA Architectural Advisory Committee, and by former state representative Mike Villarreal, owner and resident of the house.  As this newsletter goes to press, we understand that the HDRC will discuss guidelines for solar installations in historic districts at their February 17 meeting.

Striving for a Balance of  Preservation and Sustainability

In the introduction to the City of San Antonio Historic Design Guidelines, Shannon Shae Miller, Historic Preservation Officer, provides good answers to the question “Why Preserve?”  Shannon cites the benefits of preservation on several levels including cultural, economic and environmental.  The Guidelines are plainly written and help anyone wanting answers to basic questions about preservation and how to go about it.  They can be accessed online at: sanantonio.gov/portals/0/Files/HistoricPreservation/1_UsingtheHistoricDesignGuidelines.pdf

Read more: Historic Preservation and Solar Energy Part 1

One of the pleasures of being president is working with so many dedicated volunteers.  Certainly one of the hardest working KWA committees is the Architectural Advisory Committee (AAC) chaired by Mickey Conrad.  This committee’s task is to review and comment on every case that comes to the City’s Historic Design Review Committee (HDRC) from King William.  The AAC also reviews some cases that are adjacent to King William that may impact our neighborhood in some way.  The hard task of the AAC is to insure that the proper guidelines for exterior modification of our historic homes are followed.  This often involves the applicants meeting with the AAC before appearing at the HDRC so that issues and concerns can be discussed.  Often the applicant is unaware of the guidelines they need to follow, or what kinds of modifications are not acceptable.  All of this is to help preserve the historic integrity of our neighborhood.  

Read more: President's Column: March 2016

In the early 1970s, Mary Burkholder, with the help of photographer Graham Knight, produced and published two books: The King William Area, A History and Guide to the Houses and Down the Acequia Madre.  Miss Burkholder, a retired schoolteacher, was a passionate student of local history, particularly that of her own King William neighborhood.

In an age before computers and the Internet, Mary spent untold hours in a musty basement at the County Courthouse with no air conditioning, poring over old, dusty deed records to establish chains of ownership to each and every house.  She went house by house, street by street from one end of the original Historic District to the other and when she finished that, she started her second book doing the same with the houses in the newer part of the Historic District to the east of S. Alamo.  Next, she went to the County Library and searched through a hundred years of City Directories to find out who lived in those houses.

Read more: Mary Burkholder’s Books to be Updated

In its end of the year issue, the San Antonio Current published its first-ever “People Issue” featuring 20 folks selected for doing captivating work in the Alamo City.

We are delighted that “The 20 Most Captivating People in San Antonio This Year” list includes three of our neighbors: Naomi Shihab Nye, poet and author, and Angela and Rick Martinez, owners and operators of Slab Cinema. 

For the full story and to see the wonderful photo portraits by Josh Huskins, go to sacurrent.com/sanantonio/the-people-issue/Content?oid=2494692

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently awarded the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) a nonpoint pollution source grant from federal Clean Water Act Section 319 funds administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant will allow SARA to inspire actions for healthy creeks and rivers by constructing stormwater treatment retrofits at its main office at 100 E. Guenther.

Read more: Committed to Water Quality - SARA Awarded Grant for Guenther Building Retrofits

The new downtown HEB grocery store opened on December 2, 2015, at the corner of S. Flores St. and Caesar Chavez Blvd., with fanfare and speeches by Mayor Taylor, store officers and other dignitaries.  If you have not been there yet I encourage you to go.  At first, I was a Doubting Thomas because of its small size compared to other local stores.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  It is unique, and when you only need a few things it is nice to be able to walk to the grocery. 

Read more: S. Flores HEB

Essential oils are most recognized for their stimulating and calming aromas.  However, what is less known is their ability to assist in natural immune support, mental clarity and emotional relief.  Much research has been established to support the efficacy of essential oils but still many people are not aware or educated about the potential of these plant-based oils when used safely and properly.

Read more: Exploring Essential Oils

The Southtown area has many shops and restaurants that make it what seems to me anyway, like a small town within a big city.  The Urban Farm Stand, at 1423 S. Presa, between the King William and Lavaca neighborhoods, is one of those shops.  It is a year-round, indoor farmers market operated by Karen Haynes and Patti Hinkley.  It opened December 11, 2015.  As would be expected, the shop has a wide variety of organic and locally produced items.

Read more: The Urban Farm Stand – A Unique Shopping Experience

The City has hired a consultant to address some of the parking and transportation issues in King William and Lavaca.  The consultant has measured the street widths in King William and Lavaca. The consultant has also determined that the width of a typical parking space on the street is 9 feet wide.  This measurement includes 8 feet for the vehicle’s width and only 12 inches between the vehicle and the curb.

Read more: Parking/Transportation Committee Report: February 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day.  It is a day to remember that special someone in our lives.  It is also the day to begin work in the garden.  That includes trimming, fertilizing, and mulching.  Plants trimmed after Valentine's will usually not put out new growth until after the last frost, about the first week of March.  Wait until late in the month when the soil begins to warm to plant annuals.  New perennials can be planted as they become available in nurseries.

Read more: Out in the Garden with Alan Cash: February 2016

Subcategories

Monthly column from KWA president.

Tips and resources for historic home and building preservation.

Learn the history of some of the neighborhood's historic structures.

General history and anecdotes about the King William Area.