Residents in the Lavaca neighborhood just south of downtown San Antonio will soon see improvements aimed at encouraging community members to be more physically active. Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Co. to the National Parks and Recreation Association, there will be an installation of outdoor fitness equipment, and upgrades to the basketball court and kickball field at Labor Street/Victoria Commons Park. In 2011, the San Antonio Housing Authority launched a public involvement process concerning the long-term revitalization and redevelopment of the site of the former Victoria Courts public housing complex. This area is now known as Victoria Commons. City Council voted earlier this month to approve the use of this specific grant for these improvements. Additionally, Coca-Cola is helping provide ongoing access to free and subsidized outdoor activity programs, including the Fitness in the Park and a new kickball league. The company is also working with the U.S. Road Tennis Association (USRTA) to supply access to RoTenGo, a weekly, year-round instructional program, two annual tournament events and two family fun day events for participants. Residents may start registering for the kickball league and RoTenGo program starting in late Spring 2015.
“Creating a sense of community starts with a welcoming and safe environment for the neighbors to enjoy being active together,” said Mayor Ivy R. Taylor in a news release. “These important improvements, combined with stimulating new programs for both youth and adult residents, are just the first step in servicing many more community members that reside near Labor Street/Victoria Commons Park.”
Representatives from Coca-Cola say they are pleased to be part of the effort to improve access to exercise and recreation equipment in the inner city. “Bringing happiness to the communities we operate in has always been our mission,” said David Salazar, vice-president, Coca-Cola Refreshments, in the news release. “With more than 750 members of The Coca-Cola Co. raising their families in San Antonio, we are proud to provide quality recreation space for the community through our collaboration with the city of San Antonio.”
SAHA has used various federal and foundation grants to help transform Victoria Commons. City officials and neighborhood advocates see Victoria Commons as complementary of the development of HemisView Village, a nearby apartment complex. Meanwhile, early work continues on the redevelopment of the HemisFair Park area to boost the city’s stock of downtown living spaces. The recreational renovations for Labor Street/Victoria Commons Park are scheduled to be completed in March 2015.