Friday, November 18, 2011

Riverwalk Capital Improvements and LED Holiday Lighting Program

The River Walk Capital Improvements Master Plan was finalized in 2008, and identified a prioritized list of capital improvements with an estimated total cost of $15 million to be constructed over four phases. The Master Plan identified the infrastructure needs for the historic river bend to include sidewalks, stairs, lighting upgrades, walkway retaining walls, and a number of aesthetic improvements.

A total of $3.5 million was spent on Phase I which was completed in March 2010. This phase made the entire River Walk ADA accessible from S. Alamo to the Museum Reach. Phase II is currently underway with a $3.6 million program. Work began in March 2011 and is estimated to be completed by May 2012. Improvements for the phase included the Chamber of Commerce area, La Mansion fountain to Presa St. linkage and the Commerce Street Bridge area which will begin in January 2012. The FY 2012 budget included $2.5 million for Phase III with an estimated start date of June 2012.
Complementing these capital improvements, are the holiday lighting improvements on the Riverwalk, creating a new holiday experience through the use of green technologies. The enhanced lighting replaces 85,000 multi-color incandescent bulbs with 1.8 million LED mini-bulbs. As part of the City’s commitment to long-term sustainability of resources, this 100% LED conversion features 20 times more lights and uses less than half the energy of the traditional incandescent lighting.

The project also includes the addition of multi-color programmable holiday accent lighting on street bridges from Lexington to the International Center. The holiday lighting officially begins on November 25 at the Holiday River Parade and lighting ceremony, we invite residents and visitors to enjoy our annual holiday spectacle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

4th Annual Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

San Antonio hosted the 4th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 13. Events included a full and a half marathon; a half marathon relay; a wheelchair invitational; and, new this year, a 22-mile Bike Tour. This year’s event had 30,495 registered participants, with 23,822 finishers. Runners from all 50 states were represented in the field.

David Fuentes, 25 year old former standout in cross country at Boerne High School (now living in Austin TX), crossed the finish line in first. Liza Hunter-Galvan, 42 year old two-time Olympian was the first woman to cross the line.

Vince Neil was the headliner at the Finish Line Festival, with some 50 bands performing along the route throughout the day; many of the performers were local.

This year, the marathon’s exclusive national charity is Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We estimate between 35,000 to 40,000 out-of-town visitors. These visitors would occupy an estimated 30,000 hotel rooms over the Marathon weekend. The impact from this year’s event has not been completed, but the marathon is expected to have an approximate $40 million economic impact.

Our thanks to Several City Departments including SAPD, SAFD, Downtown Operations, Public Works, Development Services, Solid Waste, Convention Sports & Entertainment Facilities, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Parks and Recreation, and other entities worked with Competitor Group to ensure a safe and successful event.

Animal Care Services Update

The implementation of the comprehensive rescue strategy by Animal Care Services Department is underway. The live release rate (Which includes adoptions, rescue, and return to owners) was at a record high of 44% in October 2011 compared to 28% in October 2010. This increase from last year to this year is primarily due to the following increases:

  • A 14% increase in Adoptions (326 adoptions to 373 adoptions),

  • A 166% increase in rescues (181 rescues to 482 rescues)

  • And a 35% increase in Return to Owners (100 returns to 135 returns).

  • The number of animals Impounded was also up by 5%

The increased rescue rate is enhanced by a pilot program with San Antonio Humane Society and additional rescues from Austin Pets Alive.

In an effort to continue our comprehensive rescue strategy, ACS conducted sweeps of Area 1 (District 5, 6, and 7) in October resulting in the following:

  • 225 hours of volunteers knocking on over 2,000 homes in the area

  • ACS impounded 127 animals

  • 354 spay/neuter surgeries were performed in Area 1

  • Area 1 sweeps is still ongoing and the Department will continue to impound additional animals

The next comprehensive sweep will take place in Area 2. This area consists of District 4 & 5. The sweeps will begin this weekend (November 18th-20th) with comprehensive activities in November and December. Outreach to Area 3, which is District 2 & 3, will begin In December 2011 with comprehensive activities in January 2012.