Time to finish the job
This Saturday the last public forum for SA2020 will be held at the TriPoint YMCA starting at 8:30 a.m. If you’d like to be a part of this important forum you can register to attend at the SA2020 website. So far the public has participated in four public forums with capacity crowds at every one of the forums held in various parts of the city. People from all ages, races, economic and cultural backgrounds, and business interests have engaged in group dialogue to help shape the future of San Antonio. Every session has been productive with everyone’s voices heard and documented. Now it’s time to finish the job by “bringing it all together” as the SA2020 website states.
Mayor Julian Castro started this process in an editorial to the Express-News July 4, 2008. In that editorial Castro called for San Antonio to look to the future and start in motion a plan much like prior planning efforts. I wrote about the value of this type of effort after visiting Kansas City for the NCAA basketball tournament in 2009. Seeing how planning can help revitalize a city in tough economic times it became very apparent San Antonio was overdue such an exercise. After all, we are the 7th largest city in the nation and growing larger every day.
Through these forums citizens have expressed a desire to maintain the unique culture that is San Antonio. Focus areas such as the arts, health and fitness, economic development, transportation, education, and neighborhood growth have allowed people to provide collective input on ideas for San Antonio’s future. The participation has included lifelong residents of the city who can reflect back on the good and bad aspects and efforts. It has also included transplants to our city who bring experience from other places around the world to help refine the vision for a world-class city.
Granted the effort has been met with skepticism by some who wonder if this is really just an effort to patronize the civic interests of San Antonians or if the input really will have an impact on the future of the city. I can’t speak for the SA2020 team but it will be difficult to ignore such a treasure trove of information and experience moving forward. Not every idea can be forged into the plan but common themes and unique opportunities can be gleaned from this collective wisdom.
So whether you’ve been in every session since inception in September or this will be your first session I encourage you to participate and help shape our city. It’ll be worth a Saturday morning spending time with your fellow citizens, even if it’s just to get to know them.