The Issues ...
But I Want a Grocery Store!
H-E-B is asking the city to for the block of S. Main Avenue between César E. Chávez Boulevard and Arsenal Street as part of their incentive to build a downtown store. This is an irrevocable decision in exchange for a short-term promise: a small urban market that will remain open for at least 5 years. Furthermore, this block of Main was given to the City by the Federal Government for public use only. (See the deed here.)
If a portion of S. Main Avenue is privatized, we would be losing an important north-south connection, particularly for pedestrians and bike riders, in order to have virtually no improvement for downtown's grocery store situation.
Our streets are our city's circulation system. When you eliminate public access by walling off even a small portion of a public street, you risk choking off the entire circulation network.
H-E-B only promises to keep the store open for 5 years, but unrequested and undesired fuel pumps would remain long after. That issue aside, the market proposed by H-E-B is too small to be a good solution for downtown’s grocery woes: It will be approximately the size of a Family Dollar store and mostly stocked with high-priced prepared foods.
The citizens of San Antonio are prepared to hold out for a better solution. Losing a public right-of-way is not worth it. We need a grocery store development that supports the Lone Star Community Plan and the goals of SA2020: a livable, sustainable urban core. What we do NOT need is a corporation co-opting public property, so that they can wall an entire campus into a ‘private superblock.’ This will make downtown even more fragmented and unnavigable than it already is.
Organizations and Businesses That Support Our Cause
Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group
LULAC "Mission City" Council 4662