Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tree Rebate Program

Green Shade was approved by City Council in 2010 in conjunction with the Parks Department Tree Planning and Downtown Tree Planting initiatives, which has planted over 10,000 trees since 2010 to enhance parks and improve the City’s tree canopy.

The Green Shade program incentivizes the planting of shade trees on the south, west, and east sides of air –conditioned buildings to reduce energy use. CPS Energy served as the contractor of the Green Shade program and provided administration.

This program Provides up to three $50 rebates on CPS Energy customers’ bill, one rebate per properly planted tree. Since the launch of the tree rebate program we have seen a great response. Last year in the first season from October 2010 to April 2011 residents planted 3,458 trees for an energy savings. This season from October 2011 to April 2012 we hope to plant another 4,194 trees. Green Shade has a program goal of over 7,600 trees planted.

At the conclusion of the three tree programs approved by City Council in 2010, the San Antonio Community will have added 20,000 new trees.

Weatherization Assistance Program

In 2009 the City of San Antonio was awarded $12.4M Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).

Casa Verde was created to assist persons at or below 200 percent of the federally determined poverty level whose homes qualify, by providing free upgrades to increase the energy efficiency of their dwellings, thereby reducing utility bills.

Due to positive program performance, the city received an additional $4.9M in WAP funding. The total $17.3M allocation reached 3,320 low-income households and 7,775 citizens during the 2.5 year grant period.

The average household received $1,030 in health & safety improvements and $4,000 in weatherization services including insulation, air leak reduction, efficient appliances, compact fluorescent lights, new windows and doors, duct repair or replacement, and other measures. Those who received services under WAP have an Expected annual utility savings of $600 average per household and 95 % gave the program a positive rating

San Antonio was a leader among large Texan cities.
· We were awarded the most additional funds for high performance. The other large Texan cities lost nearly $400k on average
· San Antonio was #2 in the State in terms of total households weatherized 2nd only to Houston
· According to the TDHCA Director of Community Affairs, “the city that has shined the brightest for ARRA WAP is San Antonio and CPS Energy.”

The weatherization program has prepared CPS Energy to continue Casa Verde SA under its Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan, which CPS Energy will allow invest in Weatherization for additional homes outreach to begin in April.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program

The Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program was funded in March of 2010 through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

This two year initiative provided funding to 50 communities nationwide in obesity prevention or tobacco prevention programs. San Antonio received the third largest award among the 50 grantees with $15.6 Million to address obesity.

CPPW funding has implemented 30 local obesity prevention initiatives and has been recognized by CDC as one of the leading program sites in the country.

Some significant program accomplishments include:

· increasing safe accessible roads and intersections through more than 80 public works projects
· provided physical activity equipment and training to 363 schools reaching over 365,000 students provided salad bars and nutrition staff training to 108 schools reaching approximately 100,000 students
· Placed outdoor fitness stations in 25 parks and 5 libraries built walking trails at 2 libraries, 4 SAHA communities and 5 school sites that are open for public use
· provided over 1300 bicycles to SAHA, parks, and the YMCA for ride to own programs
· Established “Fitness in the parks” program to provide free physical activity classes to residents in city parks which reached over 4000 participants in its first series
· developed safe routes to schools plans with 7 middle schools
· expanded participation in the Por Vida healthy menu program to offer healthy foods away from home at over 100 locations among 17 restaurant, hospital, university and worksite partners
· Provided support to the City’s complete streets program, the Metropolitan planning organization’s pedestrian safety action plan, and Environmental policy’s bike share program
· Hosted the first two Síclovías in San Antonio with 15,000 participants in october 2011 and Just this past weekend an estimated 40,00 attended Siclovia.

Metro health, in partnership with city departments and local agencies will contine to work to improve health and wellness in San Antonio.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Historic Hugman River Walk Tour wins San Antonio ADDY Award

The Historic Hugman River Walk tour provides residents and visitors a look into the rich history of the River Walk. In recognition of Robert Hugman’s vision for the River Walk, In May 2011, as part of Historic Preservation Month and Tourism Week, the City of San Antonio installed bronze plaques identifying original Hugman-designed features. The bronze plaques replicate the architectural seal used on Hugman’s original drawings.

Near each plaque is an interpretive panel with a QR (quick response) code, similar to a barcode. To access the tour on a smart phone or Mobile device, users must download a QR reader application to scan the codes on the interpretive signs along the River Walk. These interpretive signs are located between the south flood gate, near South St. Mary’s and Villita Street, and an original Hugman dam on the north at 4th Street near the Tropicana Hotel.

Navigating the nearly two-mile horse-shoe bend developed according to Robert Hugman’s 1929 design drawings, the application guides users to 12 points-of-interest, marked by the bronze Hugman seal. Between the 12 stops on the tour, smaller bronze plaques mark additional architectural elements that are original to Hugman’s design.

The tour was brought to life with text provided by renowned San Antonian historian Lewis F. Fisher and historic photos provided by the Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio Conservation Society, and Fisher. These elements allow the user to hear the stories and history of Mr. Hugman’s enormous contribution to the development of San Antonio’s historic River Walk.

The tour won an International Downtown Association Merit Award and most recently won 2 Bronze ADDY Awards (American Advertising Federation San Antonio) in the Mobile and Podcast categories.

This tour was developed in partnership with Downtown Operations, Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Office of Historic Preservation, the Downtown Alliance and local author/historian Lewis F. Fisher.

For more information, please visit

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 – 2017 General Obligation Bond Program Election

On February 16, the City Council called for the 2012 – 2017 General Obligation Bond Program election to be held on May 12, 2012. Residents will vote on five individual propositions including: (1) Streets, Bridges, & Sidewalks Improvements, (2) Drainage & Flood Control Improvements, (3) Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Improvements, (4) Library, Museum, & Cultural Arts Facilities Improvements, and (5) Public Safety Facilities Improvements. Collectively, these propositions contain 140 projects totaling $596 million.

A City of San Antonio property tax rate is not recommended to fund the proposed 2012 – 2017 Bond Program. The City’s current property tax rate is projected to be sufficient to fund the debt service payments for the program. The proposed 2012 – 2017 Bond Program does not include funding or projects for VIA’s streetcar project.

The City of San Antonio continues making progress on the 2007-2012 Bond Program, with substantial completion scheduled for June 2012. The 2007-2012 Bond Program is 96 percent complete or under construction.
Due to a favorable bidding environment and proper planning, organizational structure, and oversight, the 2007-2012 Bond realized $47 million in savings, which are being used for City Council-approved street, drainage, and park infrastructure projects across the city.

For more information, please visit