We Need An Economic Development All Points Bulletin!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
February 27, 2008

In the wake of six San Antonio Independent School District schools being closed this week, I am calling a meeting of local economic development leaders in Bexar County to devise solutions to economically and even environmentally-challenged older neighborhoods. With the price of gas going to $4, $5 and eventually $6 per gallon, large urban centers are going to experience a new birth and growth like none seen in recent times. Additionally, it makes incredible common sense to balance our suburban and exurban sprawl with central city renaissance, areas where we already have serious investments in not only educational but physical infrastructure such as streets, drainage, highways and parks. It makes no sense to see demand for classroom space outstripping supply while the existing supply of classroom space provides significantly for the school children of our community.

Every suburban and exurban community has an interest in central city success as central city demise creates tax rate pressure in the larger community to compensate for the loss of value on the total tax roll.

The past fifty to seventy-five years has witnessed flight from the urban centers. Some of this is for good reason---failure to enforce codes, older neighborhoods often having to fend for themselves, under appreciation of the great role of the neighborhood association in the retention of community vitality and et cetera. We must confront these problems and devise long-term solutions.

Part of the problem is that the school districts of our community are not thought to be in the business of economic development but we at the County and other entities are! We need to partner with and support school districts looking to capitalize on their existing physical and intellectual assets in the education of our youth. The United Negro College Fund says, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." So is a community school!

As a post-note, I must say that getting down the road of life gives me a sense of urgency. Of the many worthy challenges that this babyboom generation should confront among others such as being a net energy exporting nation, is to crack the combination of urban decline. There is really no excuse. We are well-educated, many are financially stable at the least and because of much good health, many will grow very old, an impressive number reaching 100! It is with this in mind that I say, "Let's make it happen!"

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