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CENTRO'S FIVE STRATEGY ELEMENTS

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CORE FOUNDATIONS
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CLEAN, SAFE
AND RESILIENT

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MOBILITY

FOCUS AREAS

RESIDENT LIFE AND COMMUNITY

ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

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ARTS, CULTURE, & ENTERTAINMENT

CLEAN, SAFE,
AND RESILIENT

Excellent management and public safety of downtown’s public realm is an essential element of creating a welcoming and resilient downtown. Centro’s core services include cleaning, public safety, hospitality, and beautification which supplement many other services provided by the City, the County, or other private entities.

Initiatives

Cleanest Downtown

Progress Metric: Centro achieves and maintains 75% annual above average cleanliness starting in 2032.

Shade the Sidewalks, Protect the Waterways

Progress Metric: Increase shade coverage on sidewalks throughout the PID to 60%, prioritizing the high pedestrian use areas most impacted during peak summer hours.

Reduce Crime

Progress Metric: Decrease crime rate in the CBD to being on par with the average crime rate for downtowns of other major Texas cities (according to neighborhood scout) and to increase Centro’s perception of safety survey results to 80% during the day and at night.

Mobility

Mobility focuses on how people can move more efficiently to and within Downtown. Mobility includes multimodal options of walking, biking, driving, public transportation, micro-transit, and other options that currently exist downtown. However, these can be improved upon and expanded to increase usage, reduce the number of people driving, and improve the vitality of streets. Additionally, enhancing connectivity between Downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods provides better access to the heart of the city.

Initiatives

Enhance Connections To Regional Centers

VIA’s Green Line is operational by 2028 and the Silver Line is operational by 2032.

Offer a Wealth of Transportation Options in and around Downtown

Secure more and better micro-transit options Downtown so parking and/or getting around Downtown is no longer a top 5 issue according to public surveys.

Establish Pedestrian Priority Zones

Create 10 blocks of pedestrian priority zones within the Neighborhood Association boundary.

Resident life

Downtown is more than the economic and urban core of San Antonio; it is also a neighborhood. Resident Life is about bringing more people to live Downtown and creating a vibrant neighborhood that is safe, livable, and enjoyable for everyone. The focus of Resident Life is to encourage more residential development for various household types as well as ensure resident needs are met. Downtown should be a full-service neighborhood with the proper infrastructure and services that residents and families need on a regular basis.

Initiatives

Action Steps

Downtown Housing Target 2.0

Add 15,000 units Downtown with 7,500 within the boundaries of the Urbanista Neighborhood Association.

Everything You Need to Live Downtown

All basic needs can be met within 2 miles of any downtown residence.

Functional Zero for Chronic and Veteran Homeless

Reduce and sustain chronic and veteran homelessness to functional zero where people experiencing homelessness do not exceed specified numerical levels nor duration of time unsheltered.

Action Steps

Centro can serve a central role in helping to support the continued development of housing in the core.

Advocate For Housing

The cost of developing in Downtown is still higher than elsewhere in the region. In the 2010’s, the community used a full suite of incentives to drive housing in the city center. In recent years, the City shifted the use of incentives to support affordable housing construction through the Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP). However, incentives may still be needed to support housing supply at all levels, especially in the PID where land values are significantly higher and development constraints are tighter.

Promote Development Opportunities

A significant amount of land within the core downtown is underutilized. Specifically, 16% of land within the PID is used solely for surface parking. Promoting development opportunities will help attract investment to ensure amenities are available for living and working downtown.

Track Progress

Championing and sharing the success of the downtown to the community and outside investment will help illustrate the value of investing in downtown.

PROGRESS METRICS

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 15,000 new housing units built in the Downtown Regional Center

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 7,500 new housing units built within the Urbanista Neighborhood Association limits

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25% of new housing units built are for-sale units

ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

An inclusive, diverse economy Downtown is crucial to San Antonio’s success and the region’s long-term prosperity. The Economic Prosperity element encompasses the traditional economic development efforts needed to support existing business, create new businesses, and attract workers and companies to Downtown.

Initiatives

Action Steps

Bring The World To San Antonio

Increase visitation to San Antonio to 41 million visitors annually by 2024

Make Downtown A Main Street Mecca For Downtown Businesses

75% of storefronts are occupied with small businesses with a primary emphasis on food and beverage and a secondary focus on non-food retail.

Grow Downtown As An Education And Innovation Center

10,000 college students learning Downtown and a sustained, annually increasing rate of businesses opening or expanding downtown

Action Steps

Centro can serve a central role in helping to support the attraction of investment. Below are two near-term actions that can help promote the priority initiatives.
Inventory Opportunity Sites​
Create a database of potential development sites in downtown. Meet with property owners to understand the potential for sale or development of underutilized sites. Help share information about potential sites to all interested stakeholders.
Promote Desired Development Opportunities​
Develop promotional materials to illustrate the types of development desired in core of downtown and opportunities and challenges related to those developments.

PROGRESS METRICS

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10,000 undergraduate and graduate students taking classes Downtown

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 Sustained, annually increasing rate of businesses opening or expanding Downtown

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Reduce the acreage of vacant and underutilized properties (i.e., surface parking lots) in the CBD by 50%

ARTS, CULTURE, & ENTERTAINMENT

Downtown is the cultural and entertainment center of the region. The Alamo and the Missions, Riverwalk, Historic Market Square, Main Plaza, Blue Star, DoSeum, Rivercenter Mall, theaters, museums, public art, and numerous entertainment venues and activated public spaces draw visitors from all over the world. Building on this strength, this element focuses on integrating art, culture, and entertainment into all aspects of life in Downtown and expanding opportunities for everyone to engage, play and create.

Initiatives

Establish a Cultural Trails Network

Complete a culture trail.

Encourage Art and Play in Public Spaces

Install three significant art pieces annually and one new play space (like Peacock Alley) or installation (like Ice Rink) a year.

Always Something Going On

At least one activity/event Downtown every day.

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Connie Garza

TACTICAL PLANNING COORDINATOR

Connie is a native San Antonian with roots planted deeply on San Antonio’s Southside. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Passionate about building strong communities, Connie loves acting as a connector to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and people to help each other reach their goals and work together. She works inbetween the Cultural Placemaking team and the Mainstreet Economic Development team, bringing vibrancy and support to urban core businesses to make downtown the place to be. When not at work, you can usually find her at the local plant nursery buying another plant, exploring new cafes/breweries, and spending time with family.

Priscilla Lopez

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Priscilla or “P.Lo” as her teammates affectionately call her, has 20 years of corporate administrative experience. Priscilla attended The University of San Antonio with a focus on Business Administration. In her role as office “fixer,” she handles everything from communications and relationship management to IT sleuthing. On weekends you can find her enjoying a Truly poolside. She lives the vegan lifestyle and is  a proud member of the Peleton community.

Michael Cirlos

JEDI CAMERAMAN

Michael began his studies and volunteer work at Webster University Thailand with a focus on international relations and Buddhism. After returning to San Antonio and graduating from UTSA, Michael began photographing and telling the stories of people in Downtown San Antonio to help connect and increase awareness of our vibrant urban culture. Michael’s work has appeared in several news media organizations, and has produced digital content for small- and large-scale marketing campaigns for Red Bull, COSA Department of Arts and Culture, World Heritage Office, National Park Service, and others. Michael is a former Pecha Kucha San Antonio Speaker, best-selling author at Trinity University Press, entrepreneur, and adventurer.

JanIe Garza

OFFICE MANAGER

Janie is a native of Corpus Christi, TX and has made San Antonio her home since 2012. Her 15+ years’ experience allows her to serve a broad range of functions that allow the organization to operate efficiently, including, accounts receivable/payable, record management, information technology, office management, and assisting with human resources. Outside of the office she enjoys spending time with her family, visiting local art museums, and enjoying a German beer in Southtown.

Matt Sirgo

DIRECTOR OF STORYTELLING

Matt graduated from Texas Tech University in 2016 with a Dual Major in Media Strategies and Honors Arts & Letters with a minor in Italian (Benvenuto a tutti!). Matt oversees the marketing, public relations, and digital content for Centro. After sharing the story of Downtown San Antonio on digital channels, he enjoys creating TikToks about LGBTQ+ media. His mug graces a Fiesta Mural on the St. Mary’s Strip just north of Downtown. You can’t miss it. 

Elizabeth Burt

DIRECTOR OF URBAN ACTIVATION + PLAY

Liz is a passionate underutilized space evangelist known for collaboration matchmaking + play based troublemaking (snow, pumpkins, and Parisian mimes included). She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Public Policy studying Public Administration (#BirdsUp)! More recently, she oversaw the award winning Activate Houston Street Initiative, a placemaking action plan to reinvigorate the historic pedestrian corridor in the heart of Downtown, which is recognized as a Best Practice in Public Space Management by the International Downtown Association, for which she is also a proud Emerging Leader Fellow.

Jacqueline Lucio

DIRECTOR OF PID OPERATIONS

Jacque is a longtime downtowner with a deep passion for community service. She oversees Centro’s Clean & Safe and Homeless Outreach services, which aim to create a more beautiful, welcoming, inclusive, and hospitable downtown. For nearly two decades, Jacque has lived in downtown San Antonio and has been actively involved in the transformation of the urban core. Through her work with nonprofits, local government, and news media, she’s continually focused on championing more sustainable, diverse, and equitable communities. Jacque has led efforts to support asylum seekers, served as communications director for City Council District 5, and served in public affairs role for Clear Channel Outdoor San Antonio. Jacque studied Mass Communications and Mexican-American Studies at UTSA.

Sarah Esserlieu Khalil

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Sarah is a passionate urbanist who has spent the majority of her career on downtown revitalization efforts. Downtown is the best part of any city where you can find the finest history, culture, life, and beauty. Sarah has a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of California, San DiegoSarah enjoys visiting small local businesses, enjoying foodie culture, cooking, hiking, and visiting the cities of the world. 

Andi Rodriguez

VICE PRESIDENT OF CULTURAL PLACEMAKING

Andi is a long-time urban champion and leads Centro ‘people projects which tell our stories and bring us joy, such as Centro’s Art Everywhere and Zona Cultural. Serving on the Leadership Council of Urban Land Institute, she is a former city Planning Commissioner, Founding Chair of the Hemisfair Conservancy, Co-founder of Power of Preservation/PROM, former Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and immediate past Chair of Leadership San Antonio. Andi considers herself a servant leader; she has an MS in Architecture/Urban Planning, and enjoys advocating for the unifying power of art, history, and public space.

KANDICE PERKINS

FINANCIAL DIRECTOR

Kandice is a Sunnyvale, CA native and has made San Antonio her home since 2014She graduated from University of Argosy in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and continued to complete her Master’s in Business Administration from University of Phoenix 2020. She has worked in downtown San Antonio for years, bringing 15+ years of accounting experience to the organization and has been tasked with promoting and developing the city’s urban core. When not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, managing her family’s businesses, and enjoys cooking and baking.  

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs 

TRISH DEBERRY

PRESIDENT AND CEO

Trish– aka Captain Marvel – believes that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. With her intellect and a passion for making a difference, there is no doubt that Trish is built for speed and performance to find solutions to problems most find too vexing to conquer.  In fact, a Lamborghini has nothing on this force of nature.

A native San Antonian with a degree from Trinity University, Trish has a deep and abiding love for the Alamo City. She has led successful campaign initiatives for 25 years that have literally changed the landscape and face of the community.

Though Trish doesn’t have the ability to see the future like Captain Marvel, she has been called a visionary and wants to bring big ideas to bear regarding the future of downtown.

Before Trish became President/CEO of Centro San Antonio, she founded two full-service marketing and communications firms that she led for 20 years – both of which were headquartered in downtown.  She was also an active member of Centro during that time serving as board chair twice and providing leadership as the entity transformed from The Downtown Alliance to Centro San Antonio. 

When Trish isn’t blazing trails throughout the urban core, she is honing her superpowers of strength and agility on a bike at a spin studio – on pace for a remarkable 1,200 rides. We told you she was built for record-setting speed!  She’s also a supermom to her two kids Scott and Maddie who provide the fuel to her sparkle and non-stop energy.