Pickleball wins, UTSA loses in park bond funding proposal

The University of Texas at San Antonio and the Sunken Garden Theater saw the amount of their proposed bond project cut in half on Tuesday by a citizens’ committee overseeing the parks bond program.

After three hours of discussion, the committee finalized funding recommendations for 85 parks and recreation projects to the tune of $ 274 million. The entire 2022 bond package is $ 1.2 billion and will be split into six different bond proposals in the May ballot.

City staff originally recommended that $ 10 million of the parks bond proposal be spent on a sports facility at UTSA and an additional $ 10 million to renovate the Sunken Garden Theater. Committee members voted to recommend $ 5 million for each project instead.

The committee recommended bond funding for 19 projects that city staff did not include on their initial list, including $ 1.5 million for pickleball projects and $ 3.25 million for BMX opportunities. and mountain biking in the city. The panel also recommended spending $ 6 million on upgrades to the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center.

District 6 committee member Richard Delgado put downsizing the UTSA project on the table at Tuesday’s group meeting. The project in question is a training facility for women’s and men’s basketball and women’s volleyball on the main campus of UTSA.

“They have the funds to raise this capital to finance this project,” he said. “And that, for me, shouldn’t even be here in the parks as it’s a facility and isn’t open to everyone.”

Some of her colleagues protested, pointing out that UTSA was planning to focus on women’s sports with their link proposal and could connect with people across town who might not have considered going to the city. ‘university.

“I had two conversations with [vice president for intercollegiate athletics] Lisa Campos, ”said Elena Guajardo, District 7 committee member and former San Antonio city councilor. “And she told me about her big dream. It’s not [just] a building. … It is also the potential outside the building. She actively and intentionally wants to reach out to our underprivileged, low-income young women, using sport. “

A slim majority of the panel voted to cut bond financing for UTSA. Committee members gave much more support for the reduction in funding for the Sunken Garden Theater bonds, citing comments from those concerned about noise levels; only three voted to restore funding to $ 10 million.

“Would you like that in your neighborhood?” If you don’t want it in your neighborhood, we shouldn’t put it on other people, ”said Chuck Saxer, District 8 committee member.

the the recommended funding for the linear greenway has decreased by almost $ 6 million. City staff previously recommended investing $ 110 million in the 2022 bond cycle, which left $ 104 million to help develop the city’s trail system. Like the Street Bonds committee on Monday, committee members also agreed to reduce the public art commitment in park bonds from 1.5% to 1%, spending $ 2.7 million to public art instead of $ 4.1 million.

City council will hear recommendations from each bond committee in January and vote on the final list of projects in February.

Find the full list of park bond funding recommendations here.

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