San Antonio

San Antonio

[san an-toh-nee-oh]
San Antonio, city (1990 pop. 935,933), seat of Bexar co., S central Tex., at the source of the San Antonio River; inc. 1837. The third largest city in Texas, it is one of the nation's largest military centers; Fort Sam Houston and the Air Force Aerospace Medical Center are in the city, and nearby are Lackland and Randolph air force bases, both training command centers, and Brooks Air Force Base, an aerospace medical headquarters. San Antonio is also the industrial, commercial, and financial center of a large agricultural area. Its manufactures include textiles and apparel, computerized mapping equipment, processed foods, motor vehicles, air conditioners, aircraft parts, and beer. Tourism is an important industry as well. The tree-lined river meandering through the downtown, the huge Mexican quarter, the Franciscan missions, and the warm climate attract thousands of tourists annually. In the late 20th cent. San Antonio was one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities. Its outlying suburban area developed significantly in the same period.

Landmarks and Institutions

Points of interest include the Alamo; La Villita, the reconstruction of a 250-year-old Spanish-speaking settlement; the Spanish governor's palace (c.1749); the Paseo del Río, a downtown river walk; the Hertzberg Circus Collection; and numerous old homes. The Hemisfair Plaza, site of the 1968 world's fair, contains the Institute of Texan Cultures and the 750-ft (229-m) Tower of the Americas. A new central library designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta opened in 1995. Among San Antonio's educational institutions are Trinity Univ., St. Mary's Univ., Univ. of the Incarnate Word, Our Lady of the Lake Univ., and the Univ. of Texas at San Antonio. The Southwest Research Institute is notable for its research into the technical problems of the region. The city has artists' colonies, an art institute, and numerous museums. It is also home to the Spurs (National Basketball Association).

History

The site had been visited by the Spanish long before the expedition under Martín de Alarcón founded a mission (San Antonio de Valero) and a presidio (San Antonio de Béjar or Béxar) there in 1718. Other missions were opened along the river—San José (1719), Concepción (1731), San Francisco de la Espada (1731), and San Juan Capistrano (1731)—and the neighboring town of San Fernando (now the heart of San Antonio) was founded in 1731. San Antonio was the most important Texas settlement in Spanish and Mexican days. During the Texas Revolution it was captured by the Texans (Dec., 1835) and was the scene of the Mexican attack on the Alamo in Mar., 1836. Later a group of Comanche were killed (1840) in the "council house fight," and in 1842, San Antonio was taken and held briefly by Mexicans. After the Civil War and especially after the coming of the first railroad in 1877, San Antonio prospered as a roaring cow town with a Spanish flavor, which it still retains.

Bibliography

See J. L. Davis, San Antonio: A Historical Portrait (1978); D. R. Johnson, The Politics of San Antonio (1983).

San Antonio (pronounced /ˌsænænˈtoʊnioʊ/) is the second-largest city in the state of Texas and the seventh largest city in the United States. Located in , the city is a cultural gateway into the . San Antonio is the seat of Bexar County with a population of 1,328,984 as of the 2007 U.S. Census estimate, as well as the 4th fastest growing large city in the nation from 2000-2006 in terms of percentage. Its metropolitan area has approximately 2 million people and is the 28th-largest metropolitan area in the U.S.

San Antonio was named for the Portuguese Saint Anthony, whose feast day is on June 13, when a Spanish expedition stopped in the area in 1691. The city has a strong military presence—it is home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks City-Base, with Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley right outside the city. Furthermore, Kelly Air Force Base (now Port San Antonio) operated out of San Antonio until 2001, when the airfield was transferred over to Lackland AFB and the remaining portions of the base became an industrial/business park. The decision to close Kelly and consolidate its resources came from the 1995 BRAC. San Antonio is also home to the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.

Famous for its River Walk, the Alamo, Tejano culture, and home to the SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, the city is visited by 26 million tourists per year according to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. San Antonio is also home to the first museum of modern art in Texas—the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, as well as one of the more successful National Basketball Association teams in league history, the San Antonio Spurs.

History

Native Americans originally lived in the San Antonio River valley in the San Pedro Springs area, calling the vicinity "Yanaguana," meaning "refreshing waters."

In 1536, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, a shipwrecked captive of Native Americans, visited the interior of what would later be called Texas. He saw and described the river later to be named the San Antonio.

In 1691, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river and Native American settlement (located in the area of present-day La Villita) on June 13, the feast day of Saint Anthony of Padova, Italy, and named the place and river "San Antonio" in his honor.

In 1716, The Spanish Council of War approved a site on the San Antonio River for construction of a fortified presidio (fort). The Domingo Ramón expedition, accompanied by the trader St. Denis from Louisiana (who had come to the site two years previous) established a presidio on the river. That council also approved a request by Father Olivares to establish a Catholic Mission at the site.

In 1718, Martin de Alarcón, then Governor of Texas, reinforced the presidio and the ten soldiers and their families were recognized officially as the beginning of the villa. Alarcón named the presidio San Antonio de Béjar in honor of the Duke of Béjar, in Spain, the viceroy's brother, who died what was considered a hero's death defending Budapest from the Ottoman Empire in 1686 (This is in dispute because there is no such saint).

That same year, the Mission of San Francisco de Solano was moved from the Rio Grande to merge with Mission San Antonio de Padua. Father Olivares renamed his merged mission Mission San Antonio de Valero. The presidio, the villa and the mission comprised the municipality named San Antonio de los Llanos (of the Plains) by Governor Alarcón. One year later, in 1719, Mission San Antonio moved to its second site on the east bank near the present day St. Joseph's Church on Commerce. (The names are in dispute because there are no such saints and only a Pope can name saints.)

In 1721, The Marquis de Aguayo moved the presidio San Antonio de Béjar to its present site on the Plaza de Armas, where permanent quarters were constructed for the soldiers. In 1726 the official settlement population was 200, including 45 military and their families.

The Mission San Antonio was moved to its third and final site on Alamo Plaza in 1724 because of hurricane flooding at the previous location.

On eleven o'clock on the morning of March 9, 1731, sixteen families (56 people) from the Canary Islands, often referred to as the "Canary Islanders," arrived at the Presidio of San Antonio de Bexar in the Province of Texas. By royal decree of the King of Spain, they founded La Villa de San Fernando and established the first civil government in Texas. The Marquis of Casafuerte, Viceroy of Spain, (King of Spain) bestowed upon each Canary Island family titles of nobility. Many descendants of these first settlers still reside in San Antonio.

The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, and eventually the town would grow to encompass the mission where the battle took place, a mile to the east. This was where 189 defenders, both Mexicans and settlers, were besieged in the old mission against 4,000 Mexican troops led by Antonio López de Santa Anna for 13 days. The defenders were all killed in the final assault on the garrison. Some recent evidence suggests there might have been a few prisoners, Colonel Davy Crockett perhaps among them, that were executed after the battle had ended. The cry "Remember the Alamo" became the rallying point of the Texas Revolution. Texas independence was finally attained at the subsequent Battle of San Jacinto the following April.

Like many municipalities in the American Southwest, San Antonio experiences steady population growth. The city's population has nearly doubled in 35 years, from just over 650,000 in the 1970 census to an estimated 1.2 million in 2005.

The city has also grown substantially in area. Unlike most large cities in the U.S., San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities, and under Texas law exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) over much of the surrounding unincorporated land, including directing growth and zoning. It pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its ETJ. This is the reason the city is the 7th largest in the U.S. but its metropolitan area is just 29th largest. Nearly three-fourths of its current land area has been annexed since 1960. In recent years, the city has annexed several long narrow corridors along major thoroughfares to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. The city plans to annex nearly forty additional square miles by 2009.

The Alamo is a shrine and museum located in the heart of downtown, and is surrounded by many hotels and tourist attractions. It is clearly San Antonio's most well-known landmark, and is featured in its flag and seal and in the city's nickname, "Alamo City." Also right by the Alamo is the world famous Crockett Hotel. It is named after the legendary pioneer Davy Crockett.

Geography

San Antonio is located near 29.5°N 98.5°W. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2000 the city had a total area of 412.07 square miles (1,067.3 km²) — 407.56 square miles (1,055.6 km²) of land and 4.51 square miles (11.7 km²) of water. The city sits on the Balcones Escarpment.

The primary source of drinking water for the city is the Edwards Aquifer. Impounded in 1962 and 1969, respectively, Victor Braunig Lake and Calaveras Lake were among the first reservoirs in the country built to use recycled treated wastewater for power plant cooling, reducing the amount of groundwater needed for electrical generation.

Downtown

Because of its status as a historic urban center, the architecture and layout of San Antonio are more traditionally urban than other cities in Texas, such as Dallas and Austin, which have developed in the last half century.

Downtown is encircled by three numerical freeways, I-35, I-37, and I-10. Together the three highways create a rectangular route around the downtown area of San Antonio: I-35 to the north and west, I-37 to the east, and I-10 to the south.

Downtown is home to many districts including the Alamo District, Alamodome District, Central Business District, Convention Center District, Historic Civic District, Houston Street District, King William Historic District, La Villita District, Market Square District, North Downtown, North River District, San Antonio CO-OP district, River Bend District, SoSo (South of Southtown), Southtown, Eastbourough, and the University District.

The Central Business District is home to Rivercenter, anchored by Dillard's and Macy's. The five-level Art Deco Dillard's, at the corner of Alamo and Commerce streets, opened in 1887 as Joske's. Joske's flagship store was in floor space until Dillard's bought the Joske's chain in 1987. Today, Dillard's only occupies a fraction of the original building.

Housing the famous Alamo many people can be seen traveling to visit the historic district. Attractions such as the river walk are home to many of the festivities throughout the year including NIOSA (Night In Old San Antonio) which celebrates Fiesta, Cinco de Mayo, and numerous parades such as celebrations for their home NBA team the Spurs, Christmas parades and much more.

Neighborhoods

Culture

Climate

San Antonio's weather is alternately dry or humid depending on prevailing winds, turning hot in the summer, mild to cool winters subject to descending northern cold fronts in the winter with cool nights, and comfortably warm and rainy in the spring and fall. Only a few freezes occur each year and snow is rare.

In San Antonio, July and August tie for the average warmest months with an average high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 °C). The highest temperature ever to be recorded was 111 °F (43.8 °C) on September 5, 2000. The average coolest month is January. The lowest recorded temperature ever was 0 °F (-17.7 °C) on January 31, 1949. May, June, and October have quite a bit of precipitation. For the last 135 years, the average annual precipitation has been 29.05 inches (73.79 cm), with a maximum of 52.28 inches (132.79 cm) and a minimum of 10.11 inches (25.68 cm) in one year.

Demographics

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 1,144,646, ranking it the ninth-most populated city in the country. Due to San Antonio's low density rate and lack of significant population surrounding the city limits, the metropolitan area ranked just 30th in the U.S. with a population of 1,592,383.

Subsequent population estimates indicate continued growth in the area. The July 1, 2007, population estimate for the city was 1,328,984 making it the second-most populous city and the third-most populous metro area in Texas, as well as the seventh-most populous city in the U.S. The 2007 U.S. Census estimate for the eight-county (Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson Counties) San Antonio metropolitan statistical area (MSA) placed its population at 1,990,675, making it the third-most populous metro area in Texas and the 28th-most populous metro area in the U.S. San Antonio's MSA is bordered to the Northeast by the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and the two metros together combine to form a region of almost 3.6 million people.

There are 405,474 households, and 280,993 families residing in San Antonio. The population density is 2,808.5 people per square mile (1,084.4 km²).

There are 433,122 housing units at an average density of 1,062.7 per square mile (410.3 km²). According to U.S. Census data from 2006, the racial composition of San Antonio is 65.0% White, 6.7% African American, 2.1% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 22.5% Other, and 2.1% from two or more races. However, 61.9% of the population identify themselves as being of Hispanic origin. Whites of non-Hispanic background were 31.83% of the population.

The age of the city's population is spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. In San Antonio, 48% of the population are males, and 52% of the population are females. For every 100 females there are 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,214, and the median income for a family is $53,100. Males have a median income of $30,061 versus $24,444 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,487. 17.3% of the population and 14.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Economy

San Antonio has a diversified economy with four primary focuses: financial services, health care, national defense, and tourism. Located northwest of the city center is the South Texas Medical Center, the largest medical research and care provider in South Texas, which is a conglomerate of numerous major hospitals, clinics, and research and higher educational institutions. The center is "chief catalyst" for a $14 billion biomedical industry. It employs over 27,000 persons with a combined total budget of $2.8 billion. San Antonio is the only city in the United States hosting three Level I Trauma Centers within the city limits (2 military, 1 civilian).

The city is also home to one of the largest military concentrations in the United States. Fort Sam Houston on the city's northeast side hosts Brooke Army Medical Center, focus of the U.S. Army's medical command and training functions. Lackland Air Force Base on the city's west side is one of the world's largest training complexes. While it is known for hosting the U.S. Air Force's basic military training, it also hosts follow-on technical training for many other Air Force specialties, as well as other operations. Randolph Air Force Base on the far northeastern outskirts is the headquarters of the Air Education and Training Command, headquarters for Air Force personnel management and also hosts pilot and navigator training. Additionally, Brooks City-Base on the city's south side and Port San Antonio (formerly Kelly Air Force Base) adjoining Lackland still have significant military presences as well as defense contractor businesses. The defense industry in San Antonio employs over 89,000 and provides a $5.25 billion impact to the city's economy.

Twenty million tourists visit the city and its attractions every year, contributing substantially to the city's economy. The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center alone hosts more than 300 events each year with over 750,000 convention delegates from around the world. Tourism employs 94,000 citizens and makes an economic impact of over $8.7 billion in the local economy as revealed in the Economic Impact Study conducted every two years by the San Antonio Tourism Council and the research team of Dr. Richard Butler and Dr. Mary Stefl of Trinity University. Tourism also brings new annual revenues to the City of San Antonio and other governmental entities with the hotel & motel tax, sales taxes and other revenues from hospitality agreements and contracts. This number exceeded over $160 million in the 2004 study.

San Antonio is home to five major Fortune 1000 companies: Valero Energy Corp, Tesoro Petroleum Corp, Clear Channel Communications, USAA, and NuStar Energy. Telecom giant AT&T was once based in San Antonio, but in June 2008, they announced their decision to move corporate headquarters to Dallas, Texas, but will continue to operate telecom operations in the city, leaving 5,000 employees. The move will be complete near the end of 2008. Other companies finding home in San Antonio include: Advantage Rent A Car, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, Frost National Bank, Harland Clarke,Harte-Hanks, H-E-B, Jim's Restaurants, NewTek, Rackspace, Southwest Research Institute, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Taco Cabana, V. K. Knowlton Construction and Utilities, Zachry Construction, EyeMasters, Kinetic Concepts Inc, and Fairchild. Companies not headquartered in San Antonio but which have a strong presence in the city include: Bank of America, Boeing, Caremark Rx Inc., The Capital Group Companies, Citibank, InfoNxx, QVC, NSA, Wachovia Bank, Washington Mutual, West Corporation, and Lowe's, while Microsoft is currently constructing a server farm on the city's northwest side. Other industries are establishing plants in the area, as the city's economy continues to grow.

Attractions

San Antonio is a popular tourist destination. The jewel of the city is the River Walk, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater, this attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, and is suffused with the local sounds of folklorico and flamenco music during the summer, particularly during celebrations such as the Fiesta Noche del Rio. Also based along the River Walk is the newly restored Aztec On The River, the only surviving exotic-themed movie palace in Texas.

The Alamo, located nearby, is Texas' top tourist attraction, while the River Walk is the second most visited attraction.

The downtown area also features Cathedral of San Fernando, The Majestic Theatre, HemisFair Park (home of the Tower of the Americas and the Institute of Texan Cultures), La Villita, El Mercado, the Spanish Governor's Palace, and the historic Menger Hotel. On the northern side of the Alamo complex, beside the Emily Morgan Hotel, is the San Antonio Cavalry Museum, which features cavalry artifacts and exhibits and is frequented by local re-enactors.

The Fairmont Hotel, built in 1906, is in the Guinness World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. It was placed in its new location, three blocks south of the Alamo, over four days in 1985, and cost $650,000 to move.

Other places of interest include the The Woodlawn Theatre, the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Gardens, Kumamoto En, Brackenridge Park, the missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the Museo Alameda, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum, the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the Texas Transportation Museum, and Splashtown San Antonio. Visitors can also experience something of the cowboy culture year round, they can see the 40-foot (12 m) tall cowboy boots at North Star Mall.

Beyond taking in the sights and sounds of San Antonio, tourists can sample some of its world famous Tex-Mex cuisine at the many fine restaurants located throughout the city. Mexican restaurants are abundant in virtually all parts of town, and most — except for those in the Far North and some of the Uptown enclaves like Alamo Heights — are relatively inexpensive. Some outstanding examples of Tex-Mex eateries include Jacala, on West Avenue on the near Northwest side, La Hacienda de Los Barrios, on the North East side, and Los Barrios, on the near North side of town.

Sports

Current teams

Sport League Club Founded Venue League championships Championship years
Basketball NBA San Antonio Spurs 1967 AT&T Center 4 1999, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2006-07
Basketball WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars 1997 AT&T Center 0 N/A
Hockey AHL San Antonio Rampage 2002 AT&T Center 0 N/A
Baseball TL San Antonio Missions 1968 Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium 11 1897, 1903, 1908, 1933, 1950, 1961, 1964, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2007

The city's only top-level professional sports team, and consequently the team most San Antonians follow, is the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. The Spurs have been playing in San Antonio since 1973 and have won four NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007). Previously, the Spurs played at the Alamodome, which was built for football, and before that the HemisFair Arena, but the Spurs built -- with public money -- and moved into the SBC Center in 2002, since renamed the AT&T Center, following the merger of SBC and AT&T.

The AT&T Center is also home to the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League and the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA, both owned by the Spurs. San Antonio is also home to the Double-A Minor League affiliate of the San Diego Padres, the San Antonio Missions who play at Nelson Wolff Stadium on the west side of the city. San Antonio also hosts the NCAA football Alamo Bowl each December. San Antonio also has two rugby union teams, the Alamo City Rugby Football Club, and San Antonio Rugby Football Club.

The University of Texas at San Antonio fields San Antonio's only NCAA Division I athletic teams known as the UTSA Roadrunners. The university recently voted on the addition of a football team.

The city is also home of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, played annually in the Alamodome and televised live on NBC. The Bowl is an East versus West showdown featuring the nation's top 90 high school senior football players. The game has featured NFL stars Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, and many other college and NFL stars. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl also includes the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, the U.S. Army National Combine, and the U.S. Army Coaches Academy, all of which take place in San Antonio during the week leading up to the game itself.

The U.S. Army All-American Marching Band features 91 of the nation's top high school senior marching musicians who perform during halftime of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The U.S. Army National Combine features 500 of the nation's top high school underclassman football players. The U.S. Army Coaches Academy features 100 of the nation's top high school football coaches, including the coaches of each U.S. Army All-American. The Bowl and its related events are owned and produced by SportsLink, a New Jersey-based sports marketing and event management company.

The city was also a temporary home for the New Orleans Saints for the 2005 NFL season due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The Saints set up practice facilities in San Antonio for the season, and played a split home schedule between the Alamodome and Baton Rouge, Louisiana's Tiger Stadium during the 2005 season. After the final game in San Antonio, the Saints committed to moving back to New Orleans for the 2006 season. City officials are said to be attempting to lure the National Football League permanently to San Antonio and have also said that a strong showing at the Alamodome for the three local Saints games was vital to showing that San Antonio can support an NFL franchise. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stated San Antonio was successful in hosting the team, and that the city would be on the short list for any future NFL expansions. The city has also hosted the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers preseason camps in the past, and they have signed a contract with the Cowboys in which the Cowboys will practice in San Antonio through 2011. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has acknowledged his support for the city's efforts to become home to an NFL franchise. Although it is the second largest city in the United States without an NFL team (after Los Angeles), San Antonio's smaller metropolitan population has so far contributed to its lack of landing an NFL, MLB, or NHL team.

In March 2006, the city also made an offer to build a stadium for the struggling Florida Marlins baseball franchise. However, the Marlins and Major League Baseball, while indicating San Antonio would be a viable relocation option if things did not work out in Florida, have declined the offer and appear to be focused on keeping the franchise in South Florida.

In 2005 the city approached Major League Soccer with an interest in placing a soccer franchise in the vacant Alamodome. Both the city and the league seemed to be in harmony with the council voting 9-2 in favor of a the new San Antonio team, citing that it would reduce the financial burden of the stadium on the city by providing it with a permanent tenant without an extra financial costs as the necessary upgrading of facilities at the dome would have to take place regardless of a team moving in or not. The following week an 8-3 vote carried the second part of the plan, which would see a major new youth soccer complex being built in the city to compete for what was described as the lucrative Texas youth soccer event market. At the time it was stated that San Antonio had only a fraction of the youth soccer facilities available in other Texan cities of Dallas, Houston and Austin. All seemed to be in place and plans on course until a media campaign against the soccer proposals exposing that the team would only be leased with the Alamodome for three years. After three years the team would have to vacate to a soccer specific stadium. After Hurricane Katrina the city set their goal of earning an NFL franchise. The prospects for the franchise were further hindered when it became a political football during the election for Mayor, which was won by Phil Hardberger who instantly distanced the city from any deal with MLS. MLS meanwhile released a statement claiming that they had planned to withdraw before the election but did not wish to comment until afterwards in order to "respect the electoral process in San Antonio." The deal died with both sides blaming each other for its demise.

Some current names in professional sports from the city of San Antonio's high school sports programs include WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Sam Hurd, New York Giants defensive back Aaron Ross, New Orleans Hornets guard Devin Brown, Minnesota Vikings 2006 second-round draft pick Cedric Griffin, Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, Houston Texans defensive end N.D. Kalu, Florida Marlins pitcher Logan Kensing, Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal, Olympic gold medalist Darold Williamson, and Kansas City Chiefs Tackle Anthony Alabi.

Government

The City of San Antonio runs under a Council-Manager form of government. The city is divided into 10 council districts designed to ensure equal population distribution between all districts. Each district elects one person to sit on the City Council with the mayor elected on a city-wide basis. All members of the City Council, which includes the mayor, are elected to two-year terms and are limited to two total terms. All positions are elected on non-partisan ballots as required by Texas law. Council members are paid $20 a meeting, while the Mayor earns $4,000 a year. Most council members maintain full-time employment in addition to their positions on the council.

The council hires the City Manager to handle day to day operations. The council effectively functions as the city's legislative body with the City Manager acting as its Chief Executive, responsible for the management of day to day operations and execution of council legislation.

The current mayor is Phil Hardberger (an active supporter of the U.S. Democratic Party, but officially elected on a non-partisan basis). Before he took office as San Antonio's mayor, he served as Chief Justice on the Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas. The current City Manager is Sheryl Sculley.

The city stretches into several national congressional districts and is represented in Congress by the following:

Growth policy

Unlike most large cities in the U.S., San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities and under Texas law it exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) over much of the surrounding unincorporated land, including directing growth and zoning. It pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its ETJ. Nearly three-fourths of its current land area has been annexed since 1960. In recent years, the city has annexed several long narrow corridors along major thoroughfares in outlying areas to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. The city plans to annex nearly forty additional square miles by 2009.

Involuntary annexation is a controversial issue in those parts of unincorporated Bexar County affected by it. Residents, attracted to the outlying areas by lower taxes and affordable real estate values, often see annexation as a mechanism to increase property tax rates without a corresponding improvement in services such as police and fire protection, while the city regards its annexation policy as essential to its overall prosperity.

Education

San Antonio hosts over 100,000 students across its 31 higher-education facilities which include The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and the Alamo Community College District's five colleges. Some of the private schools include St. Mary's University, Our Lady of the Lake University, University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University, and Wayland Baptist University. The San Antonio Public Library serves all of these institutions along with the 17 school districts within San Antonio.

The city is also home to more than 30 private schools and charter schools. These schools include San Antonio Academy, Central Catholic Marianist High School, Holy Cross High School, Incarnate Word High School, and St. Anthony Catholic High School.

Transportation

The San Antonio International Airport is located in north central San Antonio, approximately eight miles from downtown. It has two terminals and is served by 21 airlines serving 43 destinations including three in Mexico. An extensive bus and trolley system (vehicular not rail) is provided by the city's metropolitan transit system, VIA Metropolitan Transit. VIA is among the most economical large transit authorities in the nation and offers over 80 regular bus routes and four trolley routes, including express service from downtown to the West, Northwest, North Central and Northeast parts of the city including UTSA, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Sea World. VIA also offers a special service to city events, including Spurs games and city parades, from its Park and Ride locations.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service to San Antonio at San Antonio Amtrak Station, operating its Texas Eagle daily between San Antonio and Chicago's Union Station. Amtrak also operates its Sunset Limited three times a week in each direction through San Antonio between Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida (currently truncated to New Orleans due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina). The Texas Eagle section travels between San Antonio and Los Angeles as part of the Sunset Limited. The old Sunset Station is now an entertainment venue owned by VIA and neighbored by the current station and the Alamodome.

San Antonio is served by these major freeways:

  • Interstate 10 - McDermott Freeway (Northwest) to El Paso, Jose Lopez Freeway (East) to Houston
  • Interstate 35 - Pan Am Expressway (Northeast/Southwest) - runs between Laredo, Austin, Waco, and Dallas
  • Interstate 37 - Lucian Adams Freeway (Southeast) - runs from San Antonio to Corpus Christi
  • Interstate 410 - Connally Loop - simply called Loop 410 (four-ten) by locals
  • U.S. Highway 90 - Cleto Rodriguez Freeway (West) to Uvalde and Del Rio. Prior to I-10 East and US 90 expressway being built US 90 traveled through the west side via West Commerce St. (westbound) and Buena Vista St. (eastbound) as well as along Old Hwy 90. On the east side it traveled along East Commerce to its current alignment.
  • U.S. Highway 281 - McAllister Freeway (North) to Johnson City and Wichita Falls. Southbound, it runs concurrent with I-37, then I-410 for , then heads south to McAllen. Prior to I-37 and McAllister Fwy. being built US 281 traveled through the north side via San Pedro Ave. and the south side via Roosevelt Ave.
  • State Highway 151 - leads to the "Westplex" which includes Westover Hills and SeaWorld.
  • Loop 1604 - Charles W. Anderson Loop - simply called 1604 (sixteen-oh-four) by locals - serves as the outer loop for San Antonio, like Houston's Beltway 8.

Other highways include:

  • U.S. Highway 87 - Southbound to Victoria along Rigsby Avenue. It runs concurrent with I-10 for where it goes to San Angelo northbound.
  • U.S. Highway 181 - Starts south of Loop 410/I-37/US 281 junction and goes to Beeville and Corpus Christi. Prior to I-37 being built US 181 traveled along Presa St. from downtown to its current alignment.
  • State Highway 16 - From Freer, it runs concurrent with Loop 410 for along southwest San Antonio, over to Bandera Road to Bandera.
  • Loop 345 - Prior to I-10 being built this was the former alignment of US 87 which goes along Fredericksburg Road, where it meets with I-10/US 87 both ways.
  • Loop 368 - Prior to I-35 north being built this was former alignment of US 81 north section which goes along Broadway to Austin Highway.
  • Loop 353 - Prior to I-35 south being built this was the former alignment of US 81 south section which goes along Nogalitos St. to New Laredo Hwy. (formerly Laredo Hwy. when US 81 was signed.)
  • Loop 13 - Serves as the city's inner loop on the south side serving Lackland AFB, Port San Antonio, South Park Mall and Brooks CityBase traveling along Military Dr. on the south side and WW White Rd. on the east side. Formerly traveled along the current alignment of I-410 on the north side before the expressway was completed.

Notable natives and residents

Media and entertainment

Print

San Antonio has one major newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, which has served the area since 1865. Robert Rivard, who currently serves as the paper's executive vice president and editor, was named Managing Editor in 1994 and then Editor in 1997. The Express-News currently circulates as the largest newspaper service in South Texas. The Hearst Corporation, which owned a second newspaper, the San Antonio Light, purchased the Express-News from News Corp. in 1992 and shut down the Light after failing to find a buyer. Hearst, using the Express-News brand, also produces Conexion, a weekly magazine written by an entirely Hispanic staff with a Hispanic spin on weekly events. The San Antonio Current is the free "alternative" paper published weekly with local political issues, art and music news, restaurant listings and reviews, and listings of events and nightlife around town. In addition, the San Antonio Business Journal covers general business news. La Prensa, a bilingual publication, also has a long history in San Antonio. The San Antonio River Walk Current covers general San Antonio news.

Television

While the city is one of the ten largest in the United States, its television market is only the 37th in the United States, according to the marketing research firm ACNielsen. This is primarily due to the lack of suburbs; most of the population has been or is being annexed into San Antonio proper. The San Antonio market has 65% cable TV penetration.

Radio

See also: Broadcast media in San Antonio
FM: 28 AM: 20

About 50 radio stations can be heard in the San Antonio area — 30 of them are actually located in San Antonio. The first radio station to broadcast in South Texas was KTSA AM-550 in 1922. Some of KTSA AM-550's better known local talk show hosts include Jack Riccardi, Trey Ware, Rush Limbaugh and Ricci Ware. Another significant station is WOAI AM-1200 (the flagship of Clear Channel Worldwide), which is the radio home of the San Antonio Spurs.

There are two National Public Radio stations in San Antonio, both belong to Texas Public Radio (www.TPR.org); KSTX 89.1 FM is NPR news/talk and KPAC 88.3 is a 24-hour classical music station. KSTX also broadcasts "Riverwalk Jazz", featuring Jim Cullum Jazz Band at The Landing, a fixture on the River Walk since 1963. KRTU 91.7 is a non-commercial radio station based out of Trinity University. Unlike other college radio stations throughout the U.S. the station plays jazz 17 hours a day and college rock/indie rock at night. College Alternative station KSYM, 90.1 FM, is owned by the Alamo Community College District and operated by San Antonio College students and like KRTU it plays the Third Coast music network during the day and alternative music at night.

Most Latin stations in the area play Regional Mexican, Tejano or Contemporary Pop. But on January 12, 2006, Univision-owned KCOR-FM "La Kalle 95.1" changed its format from Hispanic-Rhythmic Contemporary Hits to Spanish Oldies, now named "Recuerdo 95.1". However, Univision announced on November 10, 2006, that it flipped KLTO Tejano 97.7's format to Reggaeton in an attempt to reintroduce the format to San Antonio again. KLTO was acquired earlier in the year and operated as a simulcast of KXTN Tejano 107.5. San Antonio has quickly diversified in recent years, with the influx of non-Tejano Latinos, mostly from the East Coast, who are serving in the city's various military bases, as well as immigrants from Mexico. Therefore, just like in the rest of the country, radio station conglomerates have been changing formats in San Antonio to reflect shifting demographics.

Sister cities

See also

List of Registered Historic Places in Bexar County, Texas

References

External links

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