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Old Posted Jan 27, 2007, 1:57 PM
SAguy SAguy is online now
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Hardberger sees 'golden years' for S.A.

Hardberger sees 'golden years' for S.A.

In an address laced with bold statements about his vision for the city's future, Mayor Phil Hardberger on Thursday called the coming year "a time for doing" and vowed to lead San Antonio into unprecedented growth and prosperity.

Addressing a downtown hotel ballroom packed with city, county and business leaders, Hardberger struck a relentlessly optimistic tone in his State of the City speech, promising big changes in the coming year, with more to come thereafter.

The changes this year include $550 million in new public spending he plans to put before voters in May as well as an assortment of public and private investments planned around the city in the coming months.

In a 25-minute speech interrupted a half-dozen times by applause, Hardberger said 2006, his first full year in office, had been a time for planning.

The current year, he said, "will be a year to make good on the promise of our dreams, and a year to see a new San Antonio rise before our eyes."

He said the effort is well under way to "rebuild the foundation of our city ... that will allow our city to prosper not just for the next decade, but for the next century."Hardberger, who has announced his intention to seek a second two-year term, said the May 12 bond election — in which the city hopes to win voters' approval for $550 million worth of major street paving and storm drainage projects as well as park improvements — will be a key element to lead San Antonio's "emergence into its golden years."

"The importance of (the bond's) successful passage cannot be overstressed," he said. "A bond election is a city's vote of confidence in itself. It means that San Antonio's citizens have optimism about their city and their future" and that "they trust their government to deliver."

Despite the size of the bond proposal — the largest in the city's history — Hardberger stressed there wouldn't be a tax increase.

That drew applause at the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored luncheon.

He said the bond package, while unprecedented in size, "is also historic for the manner in which it will be spent."

The proposal would provide $300 million for street paving and sidewalk improvements, $150 million for drainage projects, $50 million for acquisition of parklands and upgrades to existing parks and $50 million for community initiative projects to be split evenly among the 10 City Council districts.

Hardberger said City Manager Sheryl Sculley, whom he hired, is "the finest city manager in the United States."

The hard-driving manager created the citizens bond panels that will guide the allocation of the funds.

Four 32-member panels have headed the different bond initiatives. They have, for the most part, endorsed spending proposals developed by city staff. The panels' outlines of how to spend the bond funds will be presented to the City Council next week.

The mayor highlighted unprecedented business growth and said the developments of the coming year will be the foundation from which business and public/private ventures flourish.

He said a host of business growth would contribute to the city's national prominence, including AT&T's local construction of the largest voice and data network in the world; the decision by Tesoro, a Fortune 500 firm, to build a new facility on 122 acres on the North Side; the opening of a $24 million, 258,000 square-foot research and development lab at Brooks City-Base; and the planned construction of a $550 million data center by Microsoft.

The mayor also noted that Fort Sam Houston is set to spend $1.6 billion for new construction.

Hardberger said that within the next three months, three major public-private ventures will be launched including a new homeless shelter, the redevelopment of Main Plaza and the Museum Reach of the River Improvement Project.

Hardberger spoke of the foresight of Walter Mathis, who developed the once-seedy, now-trendy King William neighborhood, as the blueprint for his own vision of park development.

Key to that vision will be the $36 million in bonds that will be used to purchase the Voelcker Ranch.

A Hardberger favorite, the 204-acre property that he predicted will become "one of the finest urban parks in the United States," is virgin land he termed "a breathtaking expanse of urban landscape" containing centuries-old trees.

"To walk among those trees — many older than the heroes of the Alamo, older than the Alamo itself — is to know our history," he said, drawing sustained applause from the overflow crowd.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2007, 5:31 PM
shane453 shane453 is offline
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Aren't State of the City speeches fun? Everyone gets so pumped up.
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Old Posted Jan 28, 2007, 7:20 AM
kornbread kornbread is offline
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Corporate year-in-review all-hands meetings are the same.

The thing that's really crazy is 2 year terms and 2 term "term limits". That's almost no time to get anything done. Especially when you consider that term limits have always been in place, but they have generally been referred to as elections. Anyway...

In this case I can understand the mayor's enthusiasm. There are a lot things happening that could really impact future economic development for the city. I think the real benefits may not happen until long after he leaves office, but here's to getting pumped up
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Old Posted Jan 28, 2007, 7:37 PM
texastarkus texastarkus is offline
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Originally Posted by shane453 View Post
Aren't State of the City speeches fun? Everyone gets so pumped up.
He has to be upbeat....what's he supposed to say "this sucks, that sucks, we suck, they suck everything sucks!!"
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