The Denominator: Changing Tides in an Election, Headwaters, and Downtown

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The Durango Buildo Building at the University of Texas San Antonio Downtown Campus. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The Denominator is a weekly brief of significant numbers underlying our latest news stories.

Downtown moves

More than $200 million is the cost of a plan announced last week by the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to build new facilities and double its student population at the university’s downtown campus.

The announcement included a $15 million gift from Rackspace co-founder and philanthropist Graham Weston to develop the university’s School of Data Science. Additionally, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County are considering a transfer of $13 million worth of property on the other side of Interstate 10/35 from UTSA’s existing downtown campus.

These collective financial gifts and the $200 million plan are expected to catalyze San Antonio’s downtown renaissance by attracting more students and generating new development to accommodate them.

A helping hand

9,500 is the number of households that receive emergency assistance in paying their electric and water bills in San Antonio, which equates to about $2.4 million worth of credits, according to the City.

Starting in October, San Antonio’s low-income and qualifying residents will be able to apply for assistance to pay their water and electricity bills from their phones using a City mobile application developed by Kinetech Cloud – one of two San Antonio-based startups chosen to work with the City after a 16-week CivTechSA residency program.

Applying for utility bills assistance is costly to both the customer and the City, as the local government deals with the administrative costs of handling applications. The mobile app is expected to reduce costs and raise awareness about the City’s Utility Assistance Program.

A GOP win 

6 percent is the margin by which Republican Pete Flores won Tuesday, securing a seat to represent State Senate District 19 and replace former Sen. Carlos Uresti, who resigned in June after being convicted on 11 felony counts. Flores’s victory over Pete Gallego, a former congressman and state representative, flipped the historically Democratic district to the Republican Party.

Flores won 53 percent of the vote on election night while Gallego won 47 percent.

Senate District 19 covers all or parts of 17 counties from Bexar County to the border with Mexico – a broad swath of West Texas country.

Flowing again

672 feet is the level the Edward’s Aquifer reached Thursday as the result of recent rain. The level marks the highest it’s been since June 2017, according to Edwards Aquifer Authority data.

That means the Blue Hole, the spring at the Headwaters at Incarnate Word sanctuary next door to the University of the Incarnate Word campus, is flowing once again. Water that flows up to the Blue Hole is sourced at the Edwards Aquifer, which serves as the main drinking water supply for San Antonio.

Earlier this month, other downtown aquifer-fed springs and pools saw returned water flow, including San Pedro Springs. San Pedro Springs begins to flow when the aquifer reaches 665 feet.

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