More than one dozen Hill Country Village residents attended a June 8 meeting as part of the town’s public engagement efforts regarding a potential City Hall project.
Representatives from the local office of LPA Design Studios unveiled the results of a master plan that city officials had commissioned in 2016 toward a future reimagining of the City Hall and police station campus at 116 Aspen Lane.
Local officials in 2022 considered a potential relocation of the municipal facility to an undeveloped, city-owned tract at Bitters Road and Tower Drive, but after criticism from several residents City Council opted to keep City Hall at the current location and see what improvements are needed.
Project architect Michelyn Smith said she and her colleagues offered a visioning workshop with city staff on May 25, when employees explained the challenges of working in a 5,210-square-foot building that features cramped spaces and infrastructure and building code issues.
Smith and local studio director Sara Flowers said before anything else happens, public feedback is vital toward helping city officials determine the next step.
“We want to incorporate your comments into what the new master plan will look like,” Smith said.
Smith said, based on the 2016 master plan, LPA had previously proposed developing a 7,715-square-foot facility next to the existing City Hall to contain administrative, council chambers/courtroom, and police operations. That way, Smith and Flowers said, employees could work in their existing structure while the new building goes up.
According to Flowers, a new, bigger municipal complex could be built on one of two undeveloped pieces of the tract at 116 Aspen Lane; one potential site is closer to the intersection of South Tower Drive and Aspen Lane, making City Hall more visible to passers-by, while the other potential site is slightly south of the current City Hall footprint.
Flowers said there are pros and cons to each potential site for a brand new City Hall building, but some residents said they prefer to see if the existing City Hall could be merely updated and expanded.
Flowers said residents have stated a preference for keeping City Hall a small-scale facility that complements its surroundings.
“We know how unique your city is within San Antonio, and you know what’s valued in your community,” Flowers told attendees.
Smith and Flowers said there would be more community meetings that will help LPA come up with a potential schematic of a new City Hall building for council approval.
Local officials are also weighing holding a November 2023 special election to repurpose unspent funds from Hill Country Village’s 2019 street bond to support a City Hall project.
Council will have a special meeting 5 p.m. June 14 to discuss LPA's preliminary conceptual plans.