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Walmart Groundbreaking Signals Another Reason South Side Is Still Alive

Ryan Loyd

City leaders, area chamber presidents and Walmart officials officially broke ground at the site of a new store to be built on the city’s south side. The 180,000 foot store will be located at I-35 and Palo Alto Road, where Palo Alto meets Patron Street.

Daniel Morales with Walmart said opening stores in communities often sparks economic growth.

"You see economic development, you see other businesses locating around us because they know that Walmart can be a driver of economic development,” he said. “That's no different here on the South Side of San Antonio. We're happy to be here."

As part of the deal, the company agreed to help repair sidewalks in the Fairmeadows subdivision. The project will be paid in part by Walmart, with remaining funds coming from the city.

For District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña, the growth on the South Side is a challenge to Mayor Julián Castro, who has said this is the “decade of downtown.” During his remarks before the ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday, Saldaña said it’s the decade of the South Side.

"The mayor should know very clearly that the growth of the city is happening in a certain area,” Saldaña said. “The south side used to be the backbone of the military. A lot of families working here were part of Kelly Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base."

When the store opens in October, it will provide 300 jobs and convenient access to food and Walmart’s generic “$4 prescription” program, according to store leaders.

"There's been a void of growth but that is coming back,” said Saldaña of the growth. “The South Side has its feet again, the wind at its back and it's moving forward."

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.