Castro to appoint downtown task force, lauds street car plan

The Future of Downtown

During a Centro San Antonio luncheon San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro addressed the future of downtown before he prepares to pack his bags and head to Washington D.C.

And he used the opportunity to announce that he’ll form a mayoral taskforce that will look at how to keep San Antonio’s urban core lively and affordable.

Castro said he’ll make the formal announcement, including all the details, early next week, but did say that District 1 Councilman Diego M. Bernal will chair the task force.

“I’m confident they’ll come up with a good policy to guide it,” Castro said, after announcing that there were four points needed to ensure San Antonio, and its downtown, are economically independent in a 21st century global economy.

Listing off those points Castro said the city must continue to incentivize downtown housing, attract tech entrepreneurs to downtown and revive storefront retailers.

But it was his last point that was met with a resounding applause.

“It is in the entire city’s best interest that we pay to invest infrastructure dollars in downtown and that means for streets, for drainage, and that means for the VIA Street Car as well,” Castro said.

The Senate overwhelmingly voted to confirm Castro's nomination as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday, which means city council will have to choose an interim mayor from among themselves to hold the post until a new mayor is elected next May.