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2017 Bond Proposal Could Fund Park Improvements And Affordable Housing

The city of San Antonio may include money to create affordable housing in its 2017 bond proposal.  The city expects to ask voters to approve the sale of about $850 million in bonds.

The projects being considered for  the bond include $22 million for Alamo Plaza, $15 million for a bridge that would connect the two portions of Hardberger Park divided by roadways; millions more for Hemisfair Park and the Missions world heritage site.
 
For the first time the city could also finance new housing with bond money.  But there are some legal limitations.
 
Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni says under the city charter, bond money cannot be used to build housing. But it can use bond money to improve property where others would build. The first step would be to work with the Urban Renewal Agency and for the city to declare an area a slum.
 
“That agency has the power where there is blight to prepare properties for redevelopment to basically assemble lots and clear blighted structures that may be there and then get the site ready for development and new housing.”
 
Zanoni says the city housing commission  is recommending up to $25 million be included for that kind of a project in the 2017 bond package.  Citizen committees will begin meeting in October to identify specific bond projects. Voters will decide whether to approve bond financing for the projects next May.