IGNITING THE CITY IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN
As downtown San Antonio’s nonprofit placemaking organization, we work passionately every day to create a more beautiful, welcoming, playful, and prosperous downtown in the spirit of San Antonio. We are dedicated to serving our community with courage, creativity, and empathy. We love to think big, have fun, get the right stuff done, and be good to others. Get to know us below!
WE SERVE THE HEART OF SAN ANTONIO
We are a placemaking organization working everyday to create a more beautiful, playful, welcoming, and prosperous downtown highlighting the San Antonio spirit. While we are champions for all of downtown, our primary job is to manage the Public Improvement District.
The PID covers about one square mile encompassing the most iconic, exciting and historic locations in our city, all of which weave together as the cultural, creative, and civic epicenters of San Antonio.
We play, dream, innovate, demonstrate, connect, and elevate one another to better the city we all come to love. A place where we mourn together in times of loss and celebrate our collective victories from graduations to sounding our horns loudly for our beloved Spurs.
A place where we make great friends, start our careers, fall in love, nurture our families, retire as empty-nesters, and everything in between.
WE DO THIS BY FOCUSING ON:
Our Ambassadors work 24/7 365 so that San Antonio has the cleanest downtown in the U.S. Our services include power-washing sidewalks and bus stops, sweeping and picking up waste, graffiti removal, bird abatement and trash collection. We also disinfect high-touch and high-traffic areas to promote health safety.
Quality of Life Ambassadors are specifically trained in skills and knowledge of applicable laws and ordinances to provide a visible presence to improve safety in downtown by attempting to dissuade illegal and uncivil behavior like aggressive panhandling, public urination, and graffiti. We have an excellent partnership with the police department. Thus, when any of our 95 Ambassadors phone in an issue they see, the police can respond fast to ensure our downtown is safe and secure. Additionally, we contract with SAPD to provide early morning police patrols, and our Ambassadors escort people to their car or other destination, if requested.
Our Ambassadors are the friendly face downtown helping visitors and locals by answering questions and finding just the right cultural experiences, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, cool rooftop bar, or any business, service or event they are looking for.
We are big time advocates, supporters and catalysts for more art in the public domain from painting to sculpture to music to dance. Not only is the art great for the people who live, work and play downtown, it represents our commitment to advancing our culture and creative economy by employing artists, makers and creatives who are typically small business owners or sole entrepreneurs. We started our Art Everywhere initiative in 2020 with the goal of getting at least 30 new pieces of art installed by the end of 2021. We are well on our way!
Centro successfully advocates for bond-funded capital improvement projects, partnering with the City departments, vendors and private stakeholders to ensure high quality outcomes for those projects. Our Urban Planning and Advocacy Committee assists private developers with navigating through the permitting and development process, and by providing critical insights and feedback to ensure designs integrate well with the existing infrastructure and add to the aesthetic and cultural fabric downtown. We also initiate and manage long-term projects that advance our quality of life. Most notably, we are working to provide shade along 80% of sidewalks during the hot summer days to make walking, biking and sitting to enjoy a meal much more pleasant and inviting.
Centro manages over 1,000 hanging baskets and flowerpots to bring color, shade and little islands of nature throughout downtown to attract beautiful butterflies and productive pollinators for all to enjoy.
We focus on building a strong, resilient ecosystem that makes it easy to start and grow your business downtown. We also provide one-on-one counseling services to small, local businesses to help them through tough times and accelerate them during good times. We are champions for all our Main Street businesses in and around downtown.
As part of our work-force development efforts, Centro usually employs approximately 40 employees who are currently or have recently transitioned out of homelessness. We also partner with Corazon Ministries to deploy a homeless outreach team downtown to connect unsheltered individuals with needed resources.
Whether we are putting up lights to sprinkle some holiday magic to streets and parks, or partnering with artists, makers and creative organizations to put on music, art and play events, Centro supports and develops scores of engaging, playful, fun events and activations throughout the year.
Relying primarily on social media and public relations, our marketing team develops comprehensive programs like our award-winning Si Se Puede SA campaign, as well as providing a wide range of communications from promoting small businesses and special events to sending out timely emergency alerts and street closure information.
Centro’s Board, committee members and staff actively advocate to City, County and State officials on a wide range of policy matters that affect all the people who live and work downtown, as well as affect our PID members and other key stakeholders investing in the future of San Antonio.
The Centro Alliance is our nonprofit committed to advancing the needs of our members by creating memorable and unique experiences that spark their imaginations, engaging their passion for San Antonio, building their social capital networks and advancing their professional and personal interests. We also raise additional revenues through the Alliance to invest in improving the quality of life downtown.
Dig a little deeper into the story of downtown San Antonio
You quickly see how it is woven together by innovation, progress, tenacity, and vision. We pride ourselves on a DIY ethos. From our historical inception at the headwaters of San Pedro Creek to modern times, our downtown is built by people who create for the future. As the heart of El Centro, our Ambassadors work tirelessly with a smile on their faces to ensure that downtown is beautiful and welcoming for everyone. You will find them in their bright yellow shirts helping visitors and residents navigate our vibrant, historic civic core.
The Alliance is the original Centro nonprofit established in 1982 when a passionate group of property owners recognized the need for an organization to promote the downtown ecosystem. The Centro Alliance is a 501(c)4 supported by an incredible base of members from all over San Antonio! We create memorable & unique experiences that spark connection, collaboration & play all while elevating our members to advance their professional & personal goals & bring their downtown legacy to life! These efforts raise additional revenues to invest in improving the quality of life & growth downtown.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION?
Do you have questions for our team, or would you like to send a message to our dedicated Ambassadors? You can reach us through this form.