Establishing Vision and Goals

The success of the SA Tomorrow Sub-Area Plans depends on broad participation from area stakeholders. To ensure this success, City staff worked with a wide range of community members throughout the planning process. These included neighborhood associations, business and property owners, residents, employers, educational and cultural institutions, public and nonprofit organizations, and other City departments to create a realistic and implementable plan for the Midtown Area Regional Center.

The planning process was designed to create a “feedback loop” between the City and the community as the plan was developed. This approach ensures that the Sub-Area Plan reflects community values and priorities. A variety of tools and techniques were used to ensure that those interested were well-informed about the SA Tomorrow Sub-Area Plans; encouraged to participate in a range of stimulating events and activities; and engaged in providing constructive feedback on a preferred future.

For each public input exercise, this document describes what was asked, how the input was presented back to the stakeholders, and carried forward in further engagement exercises and eventually incorporated into the plan.

Results from the exercises and surveys are available in the Midtown Area Regional Center website Documents Library and as an appendix to the Plan. In some cases, results have been summarized. Throughout the process, complete raw results from exercises have been posted on the plan webpage.

To facilitate public information and community participation, this website was created and made available to the general public on (insert date). The website includes a section for leaving comments which are sent directly to the project manager.

At the initial Planning Team kick off meeting, the Planning Team discussed assets, challenges, and opportunities in the Midtown Area as well as strategies for outreach efforts. Results of Exercise 1 were posted to the website’s Documents Library. This information helped inform draft plan vision elements, priorities, and goals.

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The Planning Team’s initial thoughts were recorded on a wall graphic to help inform the plan.

In the second Planning Team meeting, participants started to develop a vision and goals for the Midtown Area Regional Center through an exercise in which the group was presented with a large wall map of the Midtown Area and asked to identify and discuss assets, areas with opportunity for positive change, and challenges and themes for the Midtown Area Regional Center vision. Results of Exercise 2 were posted to the plan website and distributed to the Planning Team. This exercise helped inform the draft plan vision and goals statements.

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The Planning Team brainstormed ideas that would eventually form the basis of the vision and goals

The first Midtown Area Community Meeting was held August 23, 2017 at the St. Ann’s Gymnasium. Spanish interpreters were available. One of the objectives of this meeting was to develop a draft vision and goals for the Midtown Area Regional Center. Community members participated in several facilitated small group exercises. First each group used a map of the Midtown Area to identify strengths, opportunities, and challenges. The vision and goals exercise asked community members to write a statement describing how they envision the future of the Midtown Area. Facilitators encouraged community members to think about elements such as housing, connectivity, mobility, parks and open space, shops, restaurants, employment, and other amenities. Small groups identified common themes amongst their individual vision statements. From these common themes, each group completed a summary of their ideas which was then read aloud by one spokesperson from each group to the entire audience. Examples of group summary images can be seen in the Documents Library of the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan website. Results of Exercise 3 were posted to the plan website. These results directly informed the draft vision and goals statement.

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Examples of the visioning activities from Community Meeting #1

During Planning Team Meeting #3, the initial draft vision statement and goals were presented for discussion and comments. Results of Community Meeting #1 were integrated into the discussion. Results were included in the meeting summary posted to the plan website and were used to refine the Midtown Area’s vision and goals statements for the draft plan.

In the second community meeting, participants were invited to comment on the Midtown Area Draft Vision and Goals. The exercise asked participants to use colored markers to highlight (or add comments) words or statements of interest to them: Green= “Like”, Blue = “Add”, Red = “Dislike”. Results of the exercise were posted to the plan website via the Community Meeting #2 Summary. These results primarily supported the Draft Midtown Area Regional Center Vision and Goals.

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Establishing the Plan Framework and Recommendations

The Plan Framework map includes key physical improvements and strategic concepts that will influence development in the Midtown Area Regional Center. These include priority focus areas and mixed-use corridors; pedestrian, bicycle, and street improvements; and parks and open space recommendations.

The Midtown Area Regional Center Plan Framework was developed through a combination of technical analysis and community input. The Framework illustrates and outlines the overall long-term vision for the Midtown Area Regional Center, including areas where new development will be focused, key mobility improvements, opportunities for more parks and open space, and other “big moves” that will shape the future of the area.

At the beginning of the planning process, the project team studied the Midtown Area Regional Center to understand the history and development of the area as well as existing conditions. The Planning Team shared their input regarding area assets, opportunities, and challenges to develop a more nuanced understanding of the Regional Center and the community’s values and priorities. City staff also conducted additional stakeholder and public outreach to capture input from a broad range of Midtown Area residents. Through a series of facilitated work sessions and interactive exercises, the Planning Team provided input and direction that is reflected in the Plan Framework.

Over several months, project staff and the Planning Team worked collaboratively to build upon the Framework to identify the key priorities, improvements, and strategies that will shape the plan and guide growth, development, and investment in the Midtown Area Regional Center. Following Planning Team Meeting #8, the Planning Department held a series of meetings with stakeholders who worked on previous neighborhood and community plans that overlap with the Midtown Area Regional Center, and current neighborhood association board members. The results of these meetings, among a variety of other community input received through stakeholder meetings, small group discussions, and intercept events throughout the planning process, informed the Plan Framework. Following is a discussion of the primary Community Meeting and Planning Team exercises that were used to inform each element of the Plan Framework.

During Planning Team Meeting #3, initial development opportunity areas were presented, and used to inform two small group, map-based discussions that identified preliminary elements of the Plan Framework, including: preferred focus areas; mixed-use corridors; new park or plaza locations; trail, bicycle, and transit routes; intersection improvements; and gateways.

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At Planning Team Meeting #4, the Planning Team further refined the focus areas. For the selected focus aeas, the Planning Team identified purpose, future character, and appropriate building heights, and areas of transition. This exercise was also completed at Community Meeting #2 on November 18, 2017,

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The Planning Team Meeting #3 Plan Framework mapping discussion also informed the Mobility Framework. Community Meeting #3 offered two exercises to inform the Mobility Framework. In the first exercise, prominent streets were identified on the mobility framework diagram. Participants then voted using stickers with bus, car, and bicycle icons to symbolize what mode of travel they thought needed to be prioritized on each street. The other activity used a profile view image of a streetscape, and invited participants to allocate space to alternative modes and elements of the streetscape, such as automobile travel lanes, turn lanes, alternative sidewalk widths, alternative bicycle facilities, and transit lanes. The results of the exercise were used to inform the Mobility Framework element of the Plan.

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Planning Team discussions throughout the planning process and the results of Community Meetings #1 and #2 were used to inform the Amenities and Infrastructure Recommendations. A substantial amount of input on these topics was received through planning process exercises regarding assets, opportunities, vision, focus areas and mixed-use corridors, land use, and neighborhood priorities. Planning Team Meeting #6 included dedicated discussion through a mapping exercise to inform the Amenities and Infrastructure recommendations.

The initial draft future land use map was informed by community input from Community Meetings #1 and #2, and Planning Team Meetings #1 through #5. At Planning Team Meeting #6, the Planning Department introduced the proposed land use classifications to be used throughout San Antonio, as well as the methodology used to create the draft land use maps. Then the Midtown Area Regional Center initial draft future land use map was presented and discussed, focusing on smaller areas of within the Regional Center. At Planning Team Meeting #7, areas that received less attention in Planning Team Meeting #6 were discussed, including areas adjacent to Broadway Street. Discussion in these meetings also informed land use policy concepts to accompany the future land use map. Feedback from these two meetings was used to present conceptual revisions to the future land use map at Planning Team Meeting #8, where additional feedback was obtained. The results of these meetings, and other input received throughout the planning process, were used to complete the future land use map and policy.

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The Housing recommendations were informed by input received in Community Meetings #1 and #2, and Planning Team Meetings #1 through #8. Housing was a recurring topic of input throughout the planning process. Planning Team Meeting #5 included a presentation on initial draft housing concepts and dedicated discussion to inform housing recommendations. Community Meeting #2 included an exercise that invited participants to identify alternative types of appropriate housing for neighborhoods and for focus areas and mixed-use corridors.

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The Economic Development recommendations were informed by input received in Community Meetings #1 and #2, and Planning Team Meetings #1 through #8. Planning Team Meeting #5 included a presentation on initial draft economic development strategies and dedicated discussion to inform economic development recommendations.

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Stakeholders

Over 100 engagement activities such as interviews, intercepts, & focus groups with stakeholders from the following groups:

5 Points Neighborhood Association

Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO)

Beacon Hill Elementary School

Bihl House Arts

Bike San Antonio

Brackenridge Park Conservancy

City Council District 1

City Council District 2

City of San Antonio Center City Development and Operations

City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture

City of San Antonio Development Services Department

City of San Antonio Economic Development Department

City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District

City of San Antonio Neighborhood and Housing Services Department

City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation

City of San Antonio Office of Innovation

City of San Antonio Office of Sustainability

City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation

City of San Antonio Transportation and Capital Improvements Department

DisabilitySA

Doseum

FRED

Friends of San Pedro Springs Park

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center

Government Hill Alliance Neighborhood Association

Headwaters Sanctuary

Jumpstart Performance Company

KIPP Schools

Mahncke Park Neighborhood Association

Mantle Art Space

McCullough Avenue Consortium

NRP Group

Pan American Golf Association

Pearl

Prospera

Salvation Army

San Antonio Botanical Garden

San Antonio College

San Antonio River Authority (SARA)

San Antonio Water System (SAWS)

St. Ann’s Church

St. Mary’s Street Business Owners Association

Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #33 (Midtown) Board

Tobin Hill Community Association

Tobin Hill Neighborhood Association

University of the Incarnate Word (UIW)

Uptown Neighborhood Association

VIA Metropolitan Transit

Villa Tranchese

Westfort Alliance Neighborhood Association

Witte Museum