April 16 RRNA Meeting Highlights

SAPD Officer Betty Cardona, our new neighborhood SAFFE officer, came to introduce herself and discuss her role and safety issues in our neighborhood.

The main topic of discussion was an April 14 meeting convened by District 1 Councilperson Cisneros to address flooding issues in our area of the city. Attendees included the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) staff and SARA District 2 representative Roberto Rodriguez, staff from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, and RRNA representatives Larry DeMartino and Barbara Witte-Howell. DeMartino reported on the meeting content and recommendations of the RRNA Drainage Committee. These include:

  • A review of short and long-term Witte Museum projects to determine flooding implications for the River Road neighborhood
  • A request for a time schedule of current projects to alleviate flooding, by the cities of San Antonio and Alamo Heights, Bexar County, and SARA, that increase discharge into the San Antonio River above the neighborhood
  • A request for a time schedule and cost of projects to alleviate flooding in the River Road neighborhood.

The RRNA Drainage Committee calls for a moratorium on all projects until issues of neighborhood flooding are addressed. The board approved sending a memo summarizing meeting content and RRNA recommendations to appropriate government officials. [Note: A copy of this memo was emailed to the neighborhood 5/15/09.]

We also elected RRNA Officers and confirmed RRNA Committees. Elected by acclamation were: Richard Reed, Chair, Larry Clark, Vice-Chair, and Anne Larme, Secretary. Ed Piner will continue his appointment as Treasurer.

RRNA committees include:
Communications – Boothe-Meredith, Sullivan, Grover
Traffic and Sidewalks – Clark
Drainage – Reed, Witte-Howell, DeMartino, Sullivan, Schweers
History – Sibley, Larme
River Care – Clark, Augie Cortez, Russ Smith
Events – Brogan, Briseno
Yard Sale – Piner, Mimi Quintanilla, Griswold
By-Laws (special committee) – Sally Buchanan, DeMartino, Hector Gonzalez, Chris Green, Grover, Quintanilla

Neighborhood Affiliative Representatives:
Zoning Overlay (changed from NCD/Historic District) – John Larcade, chair
Kings Court – Bob Buchanan, DeMartino
River Oversight Committee – Reed
San Antonio Conservation Society – Witte-Howell

RRNA Annual Membership Meeting and Directors’ Meeting Highlights

RRNA Annual Membership Meeting and Directors’ Meeting – March 22 and 29

Twenty-five members and guests, along with the RRNA Board of Directors, attended the RRNA Annual Membership Meeting at Lions Field on March 22, 2009.

  • Guest speakers included District 1 City Council candidates Mary Alice Cisneros, Chris Forbrich, and Ruby Krebs, SAISD School Board candidate Ruben Cuero, and John Toohey, of ARTS San Antonio, who announced a July 4th concert at Sunken Gardens Theatre and requested our support.
  • Nefi Garza, of the San Antonio River Authority, gave an overview of flooding issues and discussed efforts to mitigate the potential for flooding in the River Road neighborhood, in coordination with Bexar County and the cities of San Antonio and Alamo Heights. One of the most viable solutions being explored is the construction of retention ponds.
  • Board elections were held. New RRNA board members, elected to three year terms, include Diane Briseno (River Rd.), Tammy Griswold (Woodlawn), and Matt Wallace (Trail). Outgoing board members Larry DeMartino, Nell Grover, and Mimi Quintanilla were commended for their service to the neighborhood.
  • A committee to review and update the RRNA bylaws was created, and will include Sally Buchanan, Larry DeMartino, Hector Gonzalez, Chris Green, Nell Grover, and Mimi Quintanilla.
  • Richard Reed, RRNA Chair, reported that in the past year, the RRNA successfully lobbied to get the Hike and Bike Trail located on Avenue B rather than through the neighborhood, and to get Avenue A designated as a bird sanctuary. He noted that we need to be vigilant about the effects of the Fort Sam Houston expansion on the neighborhood, particularly on traffic on Mulberry.
  • Updates for other RRNA initiatives were given, including the community garden, neighborhood history interviews, and the Upper Labor Acequia study and historical marker.

A short follow-up Annual Directors Meeting was held on March 29. Normally board officers are selected and committees are established at this meeting, but due to low attendance, these actions were deferred to the April Board meeting.

February 19, 2009 RRNA Meeting Highlights

Guest speakers included Chris Forbrich, District 1 Councilperson candidate, and representatives from the San Antonio Water System, who came to explain the recent sewer reconstruction work on Lindell.

Plans were made for the annual membership meeting of the RRNA, which will take place on Sunday, March 22. The nominations committee reported that neighbors Diane Briseno, Matt Wallace, Russ Smith, and Tammy Griswold have agreed to run for the two open board positions. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor.

The communications committee reported that an easily accessible copy of RRNA bylaws is now posted on the RRNA website.

Work on the community garden is progressing. The current project is constructing stone-walled raised beds, which will then be filled with soil. The goal is to be ready for a fall planting.

City archeologist Kay Hines is proceeding with plans to excavate the acequia area near the garden, with consultation by neighbor/archeologist Karen Stothert.

Money from leftover City bond issues has been distributed among the ten city council districts, and RRNA chair Richard Reed has communicated neighborhood infrastructure needs to Councilperson Cisneros. These include an electric speed sign on Mulberry, and a sidewalk between the bridge on Mulberry and St. Mary’s St. Cisneros is also proposing to resurface River Road.

John Larcade reported on the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD)/Historic District committee plans. (Note: This committee is separate from the RRNA.) They recommend that the neighborhood apply to be a Historic District rather than a NCD, because this designation provides for better protection of the neighborhood character. The focus of the guidelines, which the neighborhood committee itself writes, would be on demolitions, scale of housing, setbacks, limits on impervious cover, and other aspects to retain the neighborhood’s “funky bungalow-type feel.” Minor items such as paint color, window type, etc. would NOT be included. Fifty-one percent of property owners must vote in agreement in order for a Historic District to be approved.

See you at the Annual Membership Meeting on Sunday, March 22, Lion’s Field, from 2-4 PM!

Anne Larme,
RRNA Secretary

January 15, 2009 RRNA Meeting Highlights

  • The RRNA Annual Membership Meeting will take place at Lions Field on Sunday, March 22. The nominating committee for open board positions will be Nell Grover, Mimi Quintanilla, and Bill Sibley.
  • Ground will be broken May 1 for the Hike and Bike Trail under Hwy. 281. A six foot wide sidewalk along Mulberry Ave. will be constructed after the Avenue B portion of the trail is completed.
  • The San Antonio River Authority has completed a study of drainage on Broadway using computer models. They have concluded that drainage from N. New Braunfels Avenue during a rain event, flowing across Broadway and through the area north of the Witte Museum, will not increase the danger of flooding in the River Road neighborhood.
  • Memorial tributes to Jill Smith, our neighbor who died in October 2008, along with her photograph, have been posted on the RRNA website.
  • The Parks Department may conduct an archeological study of the area near the RRNA community garden and former acequia, as many artifacts, dating from prehistoric times to the present, were found when preparing land for the garden.
  • District 1 Councilperson Cisneros has requested a list of infrastructure improvement needs for our area. The board brainstormed briefly, and came up with better signage, and painting a stop line for easier egress from the neighborhood at St. Mary’s Street. There was consensus that sidewalks were not a priority.

Our next RRNA Meeting is February 19, 7 PM, at Lions Field. All are welcome!