One last look.  I’m standing in the now empty house that I’ve loved and labored over for almost eleven years.  It looks for all the world like the last scene from Checkhov’s Cherry Orchard.  There is the shadow of a banjo clock on the wall at the landing where its rhythmic ticking acted as the beating heart of the place.  The chandelier with its Edison bulbs in the dining room now floats over empty space, no table to illuminate.  The built-in china cabinet is void of its contents, its mirrored back reflecting nothing but daylight filtered through lace curtains. 

Read more: City Lights: August 2017

The 85th legislative Session was certainly challenging; however, our office had some victories, two of which I want to share with you here.

SB 725, also known as the Student Fairness in Feeding Act, was developed as a result of my visits with educators from all 55 public schools in my district.  No matter which school district, these educators identified chronic hunger of students as a problem, yet ripe, edible, and wrapped food was being thrown away daily.  Schools want to give their kids this food, but fear of violating policy kept them from doing so.  The bill permits schools to have an on-campus food pantry that allows schools to collect the food that would have previously been thrown away to give to their hungry children.  I will continue to fight for Texas children, especially those most vulnerable.

Read more: Texas House District 123 Report: August 2017

Steel City Pops opened at the end of June and is one of the new businesses at 812 S. Alamo Street (behind Credit Human).  Originally started in 2012 by Alabama native Jim Watkins, the business is still family-owned and branched out to Texas.  A new King William neighbor, Ben Cleveland, is the General Manager.  Ben is from Alabama but married to a San Antonio native, so moving here was an easy decision. 

Read more: Pops: Paletas with Pizazz

 

In 1986 the King William Association announced in its newsletter that it wanted to mark its 20th anniversary with house address signs which included “Est. 1967.”  The original oval plaques were designed and custom made by KWA member Bob Bradley using wood and silkscreen printing.

The design and material has changed over the years as different contractors were selected.  The “Est. 1967” remains on the plaque to remind all of our Association’s beginnings.  The KWA currently has plaques available for $60 if you would like to purchase one for your home. 

- Cherise Bell

Hooray for another great July 4th Regatta in King William!  The Regatta is organized by the near-mythical King William Yacht Club for the happy purpose of enjoying our neighbors and our neighborhood by cruising our portion of the San Antonio River.  The canoe and kayak races kicked off the festivities, but just-for-fun paddlers were the heart of the celebration.  Mike Casey was the only original KW Yacht Club member who participated in the paddling this year.  Mike brought his singular style and grace to the canoe he shared with new neighbor Monica.  

Read more: In a Regatta de Vida 2017

I’m looking forward to an extraordinarily long Fourth of July holiday this year.  Thanks to the happy news on the calendar, I see it occurs on a Tuesday.  I’ll do what millions of my countrymen will do and take Monday off, stretching this to a four-day escape from the cares of business as usual. 

If Memorial Day was any predictor, I’d like to be on the back porch with a cup of coffee or glass of wine (depending on the hour), savoring the sight of a tropical downpour cascading through the pecan trees.

Read more: City Lights: July 2017

At the March 5, 2014 membership meeting, revised bylaws were presented and approved with exceptions.  The exceptions caused duplications and duplicate numbering to occur.  Brad Shaw, Parliamentarian, has renumbered the bylaws and will be presenting the corrected bylaws at the August 2, 2017 KWA General Membership meeting. 

According to the KWA Bylaws ARTICLE X11 AMENDMENTS:

These By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the active members present and voting at any general meeting of the Association where a quorum is present, provided that the proposed amendment has been presented in writing by the Parliamentarian to the general membership at least two weeks prior to voting. 

If you wish to see the renumbered bylaws prior to the member meeting, please come to the KWA office or go the KWA member portal on our website at www.ourkwa.org

- Cherise Bell

 

The groundbreaking for the Linda Pace Foundation’s new structure, conceived by its founder Linda Pace (1945-2007) and designed by acclaimed architect Sir David Adjaye, took place on May 31 at 150 Camp Street off of S. Flores Street.  The modern crimson-hued building will house the Foundation’s growing collection of more than 800 paintings, sculptures, installations and video works by contemporary artists from around the world.  The $16 million project, which includes a 14,000-square-foot, two-story building, is privately funded by the Linda Pace Foundation.  In addition to Adjaye Associates as the design architects, the local teams that are working on the building project include Alamo Architects.

Read more: Ruby City Breaks Ground

Amols’, our iconic novelty and party store on S. Flores Street, will be moving a couple of miles up the road toward the Deco District soon, and owners Jeffrey and Maritza Weiss aren’t happy to go.  After 55 years at their current location, the decision to move is a very emotional one.  The neighborhood went through hard times, but Jeffrey’s grandfather, founder Julian Amols, stuck it out at the same address downtown.  Julian loved the central location with easy access to highways on both sides.  

“I grew up here – this is our home.  I have always worked here and we love this neighborhood and location,” said Jeffrey.  He grew up working with his grandfather and took over the business in 1991.

Read more: Amols’ Moving in Late 2017

This fall the City will be investing $1 million dollars to improve South Alamo Street from Pereida to South St. Mary’s Streets, providing pavement, bicycle lane and sidewalk improvements.  After working for over a year with City staff regarding South Alamo Street, the City identified and secured funding to improve the street.  However, due to a funding shortage the project was not going to add new street lights.  To add pedestrian street lights to match those installed on South Alamo Street south of Pereida, the City needed additional funding.  

Read more: Grant to Shed Light: Perseverance Pays Off

Short-term rentals (STR) is a hot topic in San Antonio and the State of Texas.  As stated in Rose Kanusky’s article last month, the KWA was instrumental in the 90s in the creation of San Antonio’s B&B ordinance. With the advent of the internet, marketing of houses or rooms for rent is on the rise.  The Texas Legislature has two bills pending regarding STRs; House Bill 2551 and Senate Bill 451.  Both bills basically limit a city’s regulatory authority over STRs. House Bill 2551 is currently “dead” in the Urban Affairs Committee.  Senate Bill 451 was approved was sent to the Urban Affairs committee to be voted on May 20.  

Read more: Short-Term Rentals

The first phase of the AT&T Fiber project will be in the northern portion of King William, with expected installation from July through September.  What does this mean?  Digging, 22” x 17” holes in the right-of-way (grassy parkway area), then boring underground to add duct to hold the fibers.  Boxes will then be placed underground with a plastic lid at grade level.  

There will also be some aerial construction.  Submitted plans have one above-ground fiber hut, 40.5” x 42.8” x 19.9”, located at the end of E. Sheridan Street.  KWA worked with the City and AT&T regarding the placement and screening of this hut to reduce the visual impact to the streetscape.  The Office of Historic Preservation has approved the project.  

- Cherise Bell

This is a tale of three houses, and the taxes their owners pay on them.  I could write a column full of bitter recriminations about the regressive nature of taxes in my home state and town, and their destabilizing effect on neighborhoods and my own way of life, but I knew what I was getting into when I came back to Texas from the east coast (and the three income taxes I paid there, Federal, State of Pennsylvania, and City of Philadelphia). 

All those income taxes were challenging to a then young Texan who thought lack of taxation was a birthright.  Then he found out he could write off the local and state taxes on his Federal taxes, and all of a sudden the pain went away.  Homeowners in states with income taxes pay substantially less in property taxes than we do here in the Lone Star State because their local governments don’t have to squeeze blood out of the root vegetables that are their taxpayer base. 

Read more: City Lights: May 2017

For the past 95 years, the Texas Cavaliers have selected one of their members to serve as King Antonio to reign over the San Antonio celebration known as Fiesta.  In keeping with this tradition, the Cavaliers selected King William neighbor Dr. Michael “Mike” Casillas as King Antonio XCV.  Mike’s mission as King Antonio has been to spread the message that an act of kindness is the greatest gift you can give or receive.  Kindness really does start with one — one person, one act, one place, one city, one county, and one movement with one goal in mind: To make our world a kinder place one act at a time.  And with Mike’s mission in mind, every single one of us can play a part in this by being good to another person. That is what makes a difference in our world.  He visited many schools and numerous charity events, plus the multitude of official Fiesta events during his 2017 reign.  

Read more: Our Neighbor Michael Casillas, King Antonio XCV

This article is inspired by past issues of the King Association newsletter, beginning in November 1967.  Its purpose is to inform newer neighbors and remind those who have been here awhile of how the King William Area has evolved through the years.

References and comments are from those issues containing “news” items that seem, to this writer, to show the development of the King William neighborhood or merely to show how some things are unique to an historic district. The series starts with comments taken from the November 1967 newsletter about the first King William Association meeting held in October 1967.  Articles will continue, but will not in every issue of the newsletter. 

MAY 1968 - After meetings among members of the City Council, the KWA and the San Antonio Conservation Society, the King William area was designated as an Historic District.  Then Mayor Walter McAllister asked the KWA to nominate persons for membership to the new Review Board for Historic Districts.  Five of the 9 members were selected from those nominated.  

MARCH 1969 - This issue included 3 important matters of concern to the King William neighborhood.  One was that plans were proceeding for the new Post Office to be built where the San Antonio Housing Authority and O. P. Schnabel apartments are now, between S. Main Avenue and S. Flores Street.  Four blocks of homes had been razed for the site.  Thanks to efforts and negotiations between the Federal government, the Housing Authority, the San Antonio Independent School District, and the King William Association, a compromise was reached to locate the Post Office away from the residential area to a site east of the airport.  

Read more: Old News: May 2017

Many neighborhood businesses were recognized in the San Antonio Current's Best of 2017 issue in April.  Aren't we lucky to have such a plethora of "Bests"!  

Staff Picks

  • South Alamomode Panini & Gelato Company, Best Ice Cream
  • Battalion, Best New Restaurant
  • Station Café, Best Sandwiches
  • Hot Joy, Best Wings
  • Pig Liquors, Best Liquor Store
  • Sexology, Best Adult Store
  • Southtown Vinyl, Best Record Store
  • SAY Sí, Best Non-profit
  • El Mirador, Best Patio
  • Hemisfair Park, Best Place to Watch a Movie Outside
Read more: Southtown Businesses Recognized as San Antonio's Best

The City of San Antonio is crafting a new ordinance to address short term rentals (STRs) like Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey.  The issues raised by STRs are not new to KWA.  Today, opponents of STRs are concerned about neighborhood safety and stability.  Proponents of STRs cite property rights and economics.  These are the same topics that arose in the 1990s when the City struggled to address those who wanted no B&Bs in neighborhoods and those who wanted no regulation of B&Bs.

Read more: Short Term Rentals: Are They Really New?

March marks the 31st annual Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio.  What began as a grassroots event at Blue Star Contemporary in 1986 has grown into a month-long celebration of San Antonio’s artists, museums, galleries and studios.  Contemporary Art Month (CAM), an independent, volunteer-run nonprofit established in 2003, manages the calendar and promotion for the month.  CAM sponsors several free, educational programs during the month for the public, as well as an open call for artists.

Read more: Contemporary Art Month 2017

March is Contemporary Art Month!  The King William Association is participating this year by inviting local artist A.J. Rodriguez to display some of his paintings in our office.  The exhibit will be on view from February 20 through mid-April.  There will be a “Meet the Artist” reception on Thursday, April 6 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

I recently met A.J. at Radius Center where his paintings were on exhibit.  Over lunch at Pharm Table at the Center, we got acquainted and he shared his artistic journey with me.  A.J. gave me a guided tour of his paintings, explaining his technique using acrylic paint in vibrant colors in the series he has named “Figuras.” 

Read more: Art Exhibit at KWA Office featuring A.J. Rodriguez

Union Pacific has been contacted by the City regarding the increase in train horn noise and concerns from the neighborhoods regarding the noise.

The Notice of Intent (NOI) for the Quiet Zone was submitted in the fall of last year.  The City received comments from Union Pacific and is now addressing access issues for properties adjacent to the track.  COSA Senior Transportation Engineer-Traffic Engineering Manager Bianca Thorpe is coordinating with those property owners to come up with a solution.  Once that is completed, Notice of Establishment (NOE) will be sent for final approval by UPRR and Federal Railway Administration.  For further information, contact Ms. Thorpe in the Transportation & Capital Improvements department at 207-1484.  

The average age of a plumber in the United States is 55.  That fact alone seems to indicate that this is a moribund trade populated by persons who probably don’t fit under sinks as well as they once did.

A leak under my kitchen sink, escaping the confines of the little pail I had placed under it, necessitated a service call that was answered by someone half the age of the aforementioned fact.  He had an even younger helper with him.  He introduced himself as David and asked if he could see the basement.  “What does the basement have to do with the kitchen?” I asked, rather thoughtlessly.  “Everything – its where the service lines and drains are, most likely, and I’ll bet the original connections are all iron pipe,” he replied tactfully. 

Read more: City Lights: March 2017

 

The following neighbors recently joined the Board to complete the terms of members who had resigned: 

Shawn Campbell

My husband Jim and I have lived in King William for five years now and love it.  We are native Texans and have lived our married lives in Houston, Rockwall and Austin with a 10-year period in Washington, D.C.  Our two sons are grown, out of the house and gainfully employed.  We love being empty nesters.  We moved to King William for the diversity, walkability, uniqueness of the neighborhood and access to the San Antonio River.  I agreed to be on the board to contribute.  I found myself attending some of the HDRC meetings to figure out what was going on.  This is a great opportunity to be informed and have an impact on changes that will continue to make KW a vibrant neighborhood while maintaining its historic nature.  I am currently on the 50th Year Anniversary Committee and the Architectural Advisory Committee.  

Shelley Galbraith

Shelley and Peter Galbraith were drawn to King William in 2012 by friends to purchase and renovate the Nix House on King William Street.  (After 20 years in San Antonio, it was about time!)  Shelley works in digital marketing for HOLT CAT from her home office, and serves on the KWA board as a way to give back to the community.  She also serves on executive board of the San Antonio Tennis Association.

Ethel Pedraza, a King William resident for many years, is an inveterate traveler with an adventurous spirit.  She was born in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.  Growing up she traveled regularly with her parents, Manuelita & Ruperto, and sister, Norma, within Mexico and to the U.S.  Her dad, who learned English well while studying in San Antonio, was dismayed that she had forgotten the English that she had been learning.  This wouldn’t do, so he instructed her to listen to WOAI A.M. news radio and report to him what the news was about.  This was a powerful radio station that they listened to in Mexico.  He also expected her to make As in history to be better prepared for eventual U.S. citizenship.  

Read more: Ethel Pedraza: Traveling Through Life

Dear Friends in King William,

Last month, after a busy fall of Bond Committee meetings and community input, my City Council colleagues and I unanimously voted to approve the slate of projects the City staff and the Bond Committees presented to Council.  I felt the process was inclusive and many voices were heard, considered, and incorporated.  I am a proponent of inclusivity and I always encourage the community to participate in the processes of government.  To that end, I hosted three Bond Block Parties in various parts of the district to ensure there were multiple opportunities to meet the District 1 Bond Committee members to propose and discuss projects important to neighborhoods.

Read more: Message from the Councilman

More Articles ...