Neighborhood News

Voters Say “Yes,” Officially, to City Improvement Projects


On November 17, the $13.25 million bond issue, the “Austin Highway/Lower Broadway Improvement Project” was officially approved.

The money is to better streets and drainage, along a corridor starting from Austin Highway and Broadway, down to Burr Rd.  A video from a 2018 storm shows floods gushing down Broadway at Arcadia, seen on the Alamo Heights City Hall website. This is what the money aims to fix.

“It is only 7/10 of a mile, but you have all of these underground utilities and infrastructure that has to be redone. Gas lines, water mains, everything is going to be redone,” says Alamo Heights City Manager Buddy Kuhn.

“The street will be narrowed, and there will be design issues.”

Environmental impact studies are 18 months long, so work will not begin until sometime after 2022, projected to end in 2025.

The water main and sewer main are being revamped. Citizens will see fresh new pavement, wider sidewalks, better landscaping, and bike lanes. The new box culverts and better landscaping will absorb much more of the rainwater. “It will also help keep the water out of the businesses,” which Kuhn says have flooded in the past.

He adds that San Antonio and other communities concluded that a 100-year flood event was a $350 million project, which was unaffordable. The $13.25 million bond issue takes care of a 25-year flood event.

Holiday Safety Tips

porch thieves 2

“Porch thieves” are ramping up operations, this year especially with its wild increase in online shopping.

“More and more people are purchasing gifts online and having them shipped to their home,” says Alamo Heights Chief of Police, Richard Pruitt. “Package theft is on the rise. If you purchase gifts online, the safest practice is to have them delivered to your place of work, a post office box, or require a signature for delivery.”

The losses are staggering: one online survey reports consumers’ lose $5.4 billion in stolen goods from their porch.  

Alamo Heights realtor Guy Hamilton had a book stolen a few weeks ago, thieves swiping that package right off his porch. He made a police report, and he started a Facebook page, “San Antonio Package Thieves.” Followers post videos from home surveillance cameras capturing images of getaway cars and those crooks who take off with our parcels.

“Theft overall tends to rise in November and December,” says Pruitt. “The best thing to do is to make sure you secure everything you can. Do not leave valuables or packages in vehicles. Lock your vehicles and homes. Leaving lights on or set them on a timer if you will be away. Thieves usually do not approach homes that appear to be occupied. Please be cautious about what you share on social media. Use caution about tagging your location, if away. If traveling during the holidays, please fill out your house watch forms with the Alamo Heights Police Department.”

Heights Pool Will Finally Meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Requirements

AH Pool
AH Pool

The Alamo Height Swimming Pool, built in 1947, has never met ADA requirements.

Now, it will.

 “We just finished plastering the pool, putting in new lights, a new filtration system, fixing leaks, new concrete work outside, in May,” reports Alamo Heights City Manager Buddy Kuhn. On November 9, the Alamo Heights city council approved an additional $49,000 for the Heights Pool to become ADA compliant.

“The two ADA parking spots do not meet the current ADA regulation; they need to be repaired. There will also be some minor repairs in the front going into the office, to that ramp, and it includes upgrades to toilets, sinks, and mirrors.”

For the last two swimming seasons, disabled pool members benefited from new lifts, aiding them in and out of the water.

ADA fixes are to be completed by March 31, 2021.

Alamo Heights taxpayers fund repairs to the membership-only venue, with the pool’s operator Rick Shaw leasing it from the city for $30,000 a year.

Otherwise, says Kuhn, the city would have closed it.

Cat Up a Tree? You’ll have to find a way to get him down.

cat in tree

That is the friendly but firm suggestion from the Terrell Hills Fire Department this Christmas season.

The department says that despite the legend, their department, and most others, do not come to the rescue of scared, stuck cats.

Experts say that cats get stuck up trees because their claws are very good at getting them up but not helpful in getting them down. Then they are scared and remain in the tree.

“Firemen have been hurt,” Terrell Hills Fire Department reports, “when trying to assist homeowners with this problem.” They say that the last time they went on such a call was a “long, long time ago.”

However, they have some suggestions from past experience:

1. Coax kitty down with food. Find his favorite, and warm it, and wait for the aroma to reach him, enticing him down.

2. Place a ramp or ladder against the tree, and see if he will climb down it.

3. Use a laser pointer to show him the way down.

4. If after 24 hours, he is not down, try calling an arborist. They know how to get up and down trees safely. You probably don’t.

Most cats come down on their own, is the fire department’s experience.

By Berit Mason

Berit Mason has been a reporter – anchor for WOAI 1200 AM Radio, a contributor to the San Antonio Business Journal, a writer for SA Scene magazine, and for “San Antonio Woman”. She has been writing the “Ask Roxie” column since 2016. Berit also worked in T.V., as a reporter – anchor in West Texas and in Waco, where she was a RIAS Berlin Commission German – American Exchange Journalist, starting her career interning with CNN Washington. She is a frequent traveler to Scandinavia, where her mother was from. Her father was an author of military aviation history. Berit loves animals, and was raised in a family who preferred to acquire the family dog, from among the many homeless pups roaming San Antonio streets.
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