As the City of Alamo Heights nears its 100th anniversary, our city has much for which to be thankful. We have amazing homes with outstanding architecture, a cohesive and friendly neighborhood, and a top-rated school district to boot. Over the last 100 years, we have grown to be a desirable place to live. Over those years, though, we have unfortunately neglected our commercial corridor, Broadway Street. Impacted by constant flooding, Broadway has fallen into disrepair, with unsafe walkways, buckled sidewalks, broken medians, and little landscaping. Simply put, our commercial corridor does not meet the standards of our neighborhood homes.
The City of Alamo Heights has an incredible opportunity, through a $13 million bond, to update Broadway to reflect the charm of our city with the upcoming Broadway Corridor project. This will be a transformative investment in our future as a city, creating a destination, not just a thoroughfare.
The project highlights include raising 29 acres out of the 100-year flood plain; creating wider, safer sidewalks; adding bicycle lanes on both sides of Broadway; replacing our aging underground utilities; and landscaping upgrades throughout. The design would be expected to conclude in 2022 and construction would begin shortly thereafter, with an expected project completion in 2025.
This $32 million project would normally be outside of the city’s financial wherewithal; however, we have been able to secure strategic leverage, leaving us to fund less than half the total cost through the bond. Over $15 million is being funded through alternate government funding sources: the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Texas Department of Transportation, and the San Antonio River Authority. We are currently working with Bexar County to obtain additional funding due to the major flood control work we will be undertaking.
What does that mean for the average citizen with a $500,000 home? Only an additional $8.33 per month in property taxes. In addition, if a resident is over 65 years of age and has a homestead tax exemption, they will see no impact to their taxes.
The economics of this project are some of the strongest reasons to issue the bond. An economic study by Steve Nivin of St. Mary’s University projects the increased property values on Broadway will generate enough tax revenue to pay off the bond investment within the 25 year life of the bond. This takes into account mainly the immediate value of removing property out of the flood plain and with very conservative growth assumptions. The increased property values along Broadway will also benefit the school district’s revenue tremendously, pouring money into our ever needing school system.
I love living in our little city of beauty and charm, but as we look back on the last 100 years, we must think of the next 100 years. We need substantial investment along Broadway to ensure that we continue to remain a desirable place. Voting in favor of the bond will allow this project to not only make Broadway safer for pedestrians and navigable during floods but also make our city more walkable and connected. This project is only the start of making a vibrant business corridor that reflects the beauty of our neighborhood.