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SA2020 moving forward

February 1, 2017 GMT

San Antonio has made some serious inroads in the last five years on the long-range goals laid out in SA2020, the city’s community agenda, but there is still much work to be done.

Mayor Julián Castro launched the brainstorming on the city’s ambitious agenda in 2010. Following a series of public forums, community surveys and online participation by thousands, a plan targeting five dozen areas of improvement for the city was laid out in 2011.

Eleven of those targets have been met or exceeded. Another 28 show progress or are on track. The rest remain at baseline, are in development, remain flat or are getting worse, according to the latest report card released by officials of the nonprofit created to oversee the decadelong project.

The highlights: SA2020’s annual report notes the city of San Antonio has increased voter turnout and volunteerism. There are higher high school graduation rates and employment. Downtown housing and employment are trending upward, along with the economic impact of downtown employment.

Other positives are a decline in homelessness, the crime rate and emergency response times. There is an appreciable increase in the number of people with health insurance, and the diabetes rate is declining, as is teen pregnancy and the number of confirmed child abuse cases.

The news is not all good. Education has always been at the center of SA2020’s goals, and it is an area that still needs work. There have been gains in kindergarten readiness, but third-grade reading skills and college readiness are not where they should be. The city is expanding the number of job opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, but it is not doing so well on increasing the number of professional certificates awarded. The poverty rate, underemployment, the obesity rate, public transit use, commute times, air quality and philanthropic giving are also problem areas.

We have much to be thankful for, but there is still much work to be done. Some of the lofty goals laid out in the long-range planning guide are unlikely to be met in the prescribed time, but the city should make a strong effort.

Meeting the targets in SA2020 would provide the city a solid foundation that will make the area ready for the 1.1 million additional residents expected to make Bexar County their home by 2040.