San Antonio residents react to St. Mary’s Strip town hall

Over the weekend, tensions along the St. Mary’s strip reached an impasse between community members, business owners and Mario Bravo’s District 1 office. On Saturday morning, September 24, Camp Bravo hosted a community meeting to discuss a controversial residential parking pilot program, a move widely opposed by business owners because of its impact on nightlife. To express their concerns, hordes of people crowded into the parking lot of the Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church.

Some residents of the growing Tobin Hill neighborhood, home to longtime residents and new developments, have expressed frustration with the spillover of nightlife into their blocks, ranging from noise issues to frustrations with used condoms appearing in their lessons. Those who stake their livelihoods in the long-running cultural hub and nightlife corridor say the proposed parking scheme would hurt businesses financially.

The overnight residential parking program would essentially eliminate on-street parking in the Tobin Hill neighborhood around businesses on the St. Mary’s Strip from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

During the meeting, the business owners also spoke about the slow construction process underway on the zipper-torn street, originally funded by a 2017 bond project. The city has been slowly reducing roadwork during more than a year. Currently part of the street is closed from Ashby Street to East Russell Place. The project aims to reallocate the lanes to allow parking on either side of the road.

Reported voice personalities that emerged during the reunion included Aaron Pena, owner of Squeezebox and the mind behind the Fajita Lounge series, and Chad Carey, owner of the group Empty Stomach, which claims several businesses in St. Mary’s, including Rumble, Paper Tiger, Petite Mort and Midnight Bath.

The meeting followed a turbulent week for Bravo, which on Friday, Sept. 23 was suspended from assignments to city council committees and external appointments until further notice, according to a memo sent to city staff by the mayor of San Antonio. , Ron Nirenberg. Bravo found itself in hot water after publicly and personally slamming councilwoman Ana Sandoval, a former dating partner, in a meeting after she failed to back a proposal.

The consensus after Saturday’s meeting in Hagia Sophia appears to be that nothing has been resolved and community voices have not been seriously considered.

Following the reunion, the spirit of the majority was quickly captured by local artists and meme-makers.

Isabel Ann Castro, an artist and cartoonist, shared a political cartoon about the meeting, criticizing the meeting’s poor organization and lack of consideration for community needs.

Deco Memes District, a meme account and watchdog of perceived local antics, has quickly grown as a critical voice for local industry and community-driven infrastructure. It was no surprise that the narrative produced a series of pointed comments that identified some of the key issues while poking fun at the circus.

Many other residents, including former District 1 councilman Diego Bernal, shared their frustrations and offered solutions online.

For those who wish to attend, another community meeting on the subject will be held on October 8 at 2 p.m. at the San Antonio College Victory Center.

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