San Antonio, Santa Fe Named Most Livable; Cities’ Officials Agree With PM-Mayors, Bjt
Undated (AP) _ When the U.S. Conference of Mayors honored San Antonio, Texas, as the nation’s most livable big city and Santa Fe, N.M., the best small one, gleeful officials in both places stood up and cheered.
″We snuck right in there and grabbed the award away from them,″ crowed Santa Fe Mayor Sam Pick, after his city beat out stiff competition Monday in the under-100,000 category. The runner-up was New Rochelle, N.Y.
″The award doesn’t surprise me,″ said Alex Briseno, San Antonio’s acting city manager, after the city was chosen best among cities over 100,000. ″San Antonio is a livable place.″
Philadelphia was second among the larger cities.
Judges at the conference in Nashville, Tenn., cited San Antonio Mayor Henry G. Cisneros for leadership in creating the city’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee and adopting a historic landmarks district ordinance.
″We are the center of South Texas. There is something here for everybody,″ said Nick Milanovich, vice president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
San Antonio is Texas’ third-largest city, with a population of 900,000. Fifty-two percent of the population is Hispanic and 8 percent is black.
The city was established by the Spanish in 1718, and several Spanish missions remain near the San Antonio River.
It is home to the Alamo, where Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie died battling Mexico for Texan independence.
More than 10 million people visit each year, said Frances Schultschik, of the Visitor’s and Convention Bureau. Many have returned to live there, she said.
″San Antonio is perceived as being a sleepy little town and has not received very much recognition,″ Briseno said. ″Now, we feel we will be able to be noticed as a wonderful place to visit and to stay.″
Santa Fe’s mayor agreed that the honor will boost the image of this city of 52,000.
″One day someone will just have to say ‘Santa Fe,’ and listeners will know its the capital of New Mexico and in the United States,″ Pick said, alluding to New Mexico’s misfortune of sometimes being mistaken as a foreign city.
Pick was recognized for strong efforts in instituting the city’s One Percent for the Arts Ordinance, to provide money for installing public art works.
″I’m not surprised,″ said Chamber of Commerce president John Egan. ″I always knew Santa Fe was the most livable city in the country. In Santa Fe, people are genuinely friendly.″
Santa Fe was established by the Spanish in 1610. Its historic name is ″La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis″ - the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi.
The city is a multi-culture community, with Hispanics making up about half the population and American Indians accounting for about 2 percent.
It is located at 7,000 feet in the western foothills of the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountains, a range whose 12,000-foot peaks dominate the eastern horizon.
Santa Fe is noted for its unique Spanish-Pueblo architecture, which has been preserved by strict zoning codes that prohibit other styles within designated historic districts.
The City Livability Awards are co-sponsored by the mayors conference, representing 800 cities of 30,000 or more population, and Philip Morris Cos. Inc.