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To Talk or Not to Talk: HemisFair and Convention Center designs

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Proposed north entry redesign for the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

“It certainly feels like there is no opportunity for input,” the councilman said, noticeably agitated that the firm didn’t run their design elements by the public, let alone council first. He wasn’t the only one.

“So is this building going to be decided by consultants or by the residents of San Antonio?,” District 9 councilmember Elisa Chan asked pointedly.

When asked if SA residents were being made part of the process in an interview after the presentation, city engineer Mike Frisbee said well over 50 meetings with stakeholders – meaning those with a financial interest in the development – have been conducted since the outset of the project. But with average citizens or the council? Not so much.

Councilmember W. Reed Williams of District 8 countered his fellow members’ criticism, saying the lack of input is simply the nature of the fast-paced design-build process. And with construction set to start in September, the window for debate is closing quickly.

“Whether it’s right or wrong or indifferent, this process did not have a place to pick up the needle and come to council and the community for input, it just didn’t’ have it,” he said. “So right or wrong this is the process and we got to think about if this is the kind of process that we want.”

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