Why I’m Stubborn About San Antonio

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The Blue Star Brewery on a recent First Friday. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

The Blue Star Brewery at the Blue Start Arts Complex during a First Friday art walk in 2013. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

NicoleGoodmanSan Antonio is a special place. Sure, Austin’s got the music thing, and the Sixth Street thing, and the all-around “chill” thing. Young people love it and want to live there. It’s definitely a place to be.

But, as a previous Austin resident, I’m pretty stubborn when I tell people that San Antonio is the special city. San Antonio is all about the people. We’ve got the community thing, and San Antonio is where I want to be.

As a recent college graduate from Trinity University (about 8 weeks out now), I’ve spent my last four years in San Antonio getting to know this city. Well, that’s a lie. I’ve definitely spent my last four years in the library. But as an Urban Studies student, I made my way out into the city whenever I could, picking up on pieces of San Antonio here and there, and going downtown every chance that I got.

The Blue Star Brewery on a recent First Friday. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

The Blue Star Brewery on a recent First Friday. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Just some of the cool artwork I’ve seen downtown at First Friday. Photo by Nicole Goodman.

Just some of the cool artwork I’ve seen downtown at First Friday. Photo by Nicole Goodman.

From visiting our awesome artists and the galleries at Blue Star Arts Complex to panting alongside native San Antonians at the pub run on First Friday (foolishly wearing my friend’s Mavericks jersey for lack of any other sportswear… I really have no excuse), to working with residents in some of our most at-risk and disadvantaged neighborhoods, I’ve seen the mix of people who make up our San Antonio community.

One thing always struck me about my time here: although I’m not a native, nowhere else have I ever felt the sense of community and spirit that I have discovered here in San Antonio.

People here love their city and their neighborhoods. If you’re looking to gain a real, authentic experience from the city where you live, I’d say the community – the people – are the source, and this city is where you’ll find it.

Something Monday/B-cycle riders admire Mission San José, especially photogenic at sunset. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Something Monday/B-cycle riders admire Mission San José, especially photogenic at sunset. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

This is where SA2020 comes in. I’ve been granted the awesome opportunity to work with SA2020 this summer as a Trinity Mellon Fellow for Downtown Development, and if there’s anyone who gets the whole community in San Antonio thing, it’s these guys. This initiative is all about the people. They recognize the spirit of the people in this city and they’re building off of the sense of community here, asking residents what they want to see change in San Antonio and then asking them to be the ones to change it. I love that SA2020 isn’t trying to invent anything new – we are simply focusing the community’s energy and drive to build a stronger San Antonio in the future.

As an Urban Studies graduate, I feel particularly invested in watching the community here prosper and thrive. After getting a taste of the growth and community development I’ve seen through my projects and education at Trinity University, I want to be a part of it.

I love downtown, and I see it and its cultural institutions as the potential pulsing center of the community of San Antonio. I want to be around not only for the end product, but for the hard work it will take to catalyze the residents and organizations in the city to create a downtown that is “the heart of San Antonio and is everyone’s neighborhood.”

The Jewelry Box on an especially busy First Friday on South Alamo Street. Photo by Iris Dimmick

The Jewelry Box on an especially busy First Friday on South Alamo Street. Photo by Iris Dimmick

I hope that my role this summer as a Downtown Development Fellow is only very beginning of my involvement with the change we see taking place in our city. I’ve been placed in a unique position to see the passion and effort residents and organizations are putting forth, and I want to continue to be a part of it. I’m honored to say that along with the rest of the San Antonio community, I am SA2020.

 

Nicole is the SA2020 Downtown Development Mellon Fellow, and a fresh graduate of Trinity University with a B.A. in Urban Studies and a concentration in Issues and Policy. She likes Greek food, Stevie Wonder, dancing (mostly dance of the hip hop persuasion), and coffee. A lot of it. View all posts by Nicole Goodman at SA2020’s blog.

 

Related Stories:

SA2020: Moving from Aspiration to Accountability

SA2020 Then and Now: Brainstorm to Reality to Report Card

Conversation: Renting in San Antonio’s Urban Core

X Marks the Art: Because No One Likes to Look at Ugly Buildings

Avoiding Eye Contact on a Walk Through Travis Park

People Want a Park: San Antonio’s Passion for Hemisfair

Why San Antonio’s Future is Bright

 

7 thoughts on “Why I’m Stubborn About San Antonio

  1. Fantastic article from a great perspective, Nicole. I especially love this: “although I’m not a native, nowhere else have I ever felt the sense of community and spirit that I have discovered here in San Antonio.” I have made that same statement many, many times — the main reason I love this place so!

  2. SA2020 is a farce. The way I see it, it’s a way for politicians to take credit for all the great stuff that is already happening here. SA2020 hasn’t changed or “catalyzed” anything. The community was already on a path to greatness.

  3. I too have lived both in Austin and San Antonio as well as several other Texas cities. In addition to the sense of community in the Alamo city, we don’t have to brag about the diversity of our city…we’ve been living it for centuries. We continue to examine our city’s flaws and work to eliminate them while our friends to the north remain stuck in traffic. And, we’ve been protecting our limited resources (water conservation) while expanding opportunities for all citizens to enjoy a linear park system that will be the envy of Town lakers and the Barton Springs crowd. We’ve given birth to the Sir Douglas Quintet and the Jimenez brothers not to mention the Krayolas. We’re not perfect but we’re certainly not pretentious. Finally, I just returned from a HUGE Mexican breakfast that cost me under $5 knowing I’ve had to pay double for a similar meal served with pre-fab tortillas out of a bag in Austin. Count me Stubborn for SA too!

  4. We’ve lived in San Antonio for about 4 years and recently took a trip to Ft Benning for a graduation via Atlanta. What a polarized city, everything seems to fall along racial lines what part of the city do you live in,whose your employer, what’s your family name etc…argh couldn’t wait to land back in SA!

    Keep us informed of your progress…great article!

  5. I moved here from So. Cal. 7 years ago and have never loved “the place where I live” so much! Didn’t even know it was possible! Thought the place you live is just the place you live, but here I’ve found that the place you live is the place you love, fight for, explore, brag about, etc. I tell people that before I moved here I always felt like a square peg in a round hole, but living in San Antoino and specifically in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, I feel like a hand in a glove. Thank you to the San Antonio natives for the gift of your beautiful city!

  6. Thank you for a wonderful perspective on living in San Antonio. I’m San Antonio born and raised but I did live for better opportunities in 2003. I miss this city every day. I was just talking to some friends from other cities who said that they don’t feel that special feeling I do when the visit their hometowns. Too bad. Every time I board a plane bound for San Antonio I feel lucky to be from SA. I wish that I could move back and enjoy what I do in NYC. Maybe someday I will. – I hope also hope that kids who are being born and raised outside of Loop 1604 will discover downtown San Antonio for themselves. This will keep downtown thriving for years to come.

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