Photo Credit and Photo Copyright

The photographs of San Antonio and Dignowity Hill used within this blog are the property of Juan A Garcia East Light Images. All rights are reserved to the owner. Copy and use of these pictures is forbidden without written permission. Contact Juan at for permission.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Brewery Idea is Good

This past week there's been a lot of media attention regarding the proposed brewery operations that Alamo Brewery wants to build next to the Hays Street Bridge. I have to say that the idea of a brewery so close to our historic neighborhood has the potential to literally change the landscape in regards to economic and commercial development. What I'm hearing from my neighbors is all good and the idea of a brewery has a lot of appeal for changing a neighborhood like ours.

Honestly, adding another park to the neighborhood, while a noble proposition, will not generate economic activity. We have two great parks just blocks away from the Hays Street Bridge and in the time we have lived in the neighborhood I haven't seen any commercial activity start up because of the parks.

Personally I would like to see this brewery idea come to fruition. It just makes sense.

View of the Hays St Bridge at sunset. Night view of downtown SA from bridge.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Build Community

Turn off your TV- Leave your house
Know your neighbors - Look up when you are walking
Greet people -Sit on your stoop
Plant Flowers - Use your library Play together
Buy from local merchants -Share what you have
Help a lost dog -Take children to the park
Garden Together -Support Neighborhood Schools
Fix it even if you didn't break it
Have Pot Lucks- Honor Elders
Pick Up Litter - Read Stories Aloud
Dance in the Street- Talk to the Mail Carrier
Listen to the Birds -Put up a Swing
Help Carry Something Heavy -Barter For Your Goods
Start A Tradition- Ask A Question
Hire Young People for Odd Jobs- Organize a Block Party
Bake Extra and Share- Ask For Help When You Need It
Open Your Shades -Sing Together
Share Your Skills -Take Back the Night
Turn Up The Music -Turn Down The Music
Listen Before You react To Anger
Mediate A Conflict -Seek To Understand
Learn From New And Uncomfortable Angles
Know That No One is Silent Though Many Are Not Heard
Work To Change This

Source: Syracuse Cultural Workers Poster: How to Build Community

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eastside Sprout Community Garden

Check it out.....a new community garden will soon be turning soil and getting started in the neighborhood. The garden is called the Eastside Sprout and is located on the grounds of the Ella Austin Community Center. The garden is being made possible through a grant from GreenSpaces Alliances. This will be a great opportunity to partner with not only the Ella but with Bowden Elementary School. The gardeners are getting excited and hope to have fall garden started by August. You can find a link to the Eastside Sprout Blog on this page on the Links to Explore. The garden space is a blank palette at the moment but come this fall the garden will be blooming!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alamo Brewery Proposal

To view the summary of the Alamo Brewery proposal go to: and click on the Pages and Links tab.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Education Reform: Dignowity Style

We live across the street from Bowden Elementary School. The school used to be named Robert E Lee but somewhere along the way the name of the school changed to honor Artemisia Bowden, who was an African-American educator and long time administrator for St. Phillip's College. I find the irony of the names for the school delicious but that's another story for another time.

The real story for today is that the neighborhood association has made a commitment to partner with Bowden with the goal of developing a tutoring and mentoring program for the next school year. The neighborhood association has formed an Educational Leadership Committee made up of neighborhood residents with a passion for education and gifts to give to Bowden in way of time and skills. Bowden's principal, vice principal, and teachers are all on board in seeing this come to fruition. The parents of Bowden will also be engaged because they will be key in ensuring success in the classroom for their kids.

This effort is timely given the shortsightedness of our state legislature in cutting funding for our schools. We need to find away to get back to the notion of a community school in which a neighborhood has a vested interest in the educational success of our children. Our effort may be small but we think its a great start to making a dent in improving educational outcomes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brewery or Park?

This is interesting.......all of sudden the area around the Hays Street Bridge has become the focal point of two competing and very different visions. On one hand we have Eugene Simor who owns Alamo Brewery Company. He has brought forth a proposal to build a brewery on city owned land adjacent to the historic Hays Street bridge. His vision is to have a brewery that is not only brewery production operation but a tourist destination as well complete with a rooftop brew haus.

On the other hand we have a proposal from the good folks that were responsible for pushing the restoration of the Hays Street Bridge to use a city owned tract of land adjacent to the bridge for a park, a skate board park to be specific.

Where it gets really interesting is that the city owned land is coveted by both Mr. Simor and the good folks that want a park. The city owned land was donated to the city by the Dawson family when the bridge restoration was completed with an apparent understanding that the land would be used for a park. Well, after some digging around I found out that there is no stipulation written into the city ordinance that accepted the donation that the land would be reserved to used for a park.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The idea of a brewery has some appeal because it could be a catalyst or spark in further revitalizing the neighborhood and bring much needed economic development to our corner of the world but there are some concerns from neighbors regarding traffic, noise and crowds in the area. On the other hand, a park would be nice, after all you can never have enough green spaces in the city but most likely would not generate any real economic development. What's a little mystifying is that the folks that are pushing for the park have yet to reach out to the residents and the neighborhood association...not good form! So the question is: does the community support an enterprise that could possibly spark a substantial wave of revitalization or do we go for a park that is dedicated to skateboarders?......Hmmmm.