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CPS Energy Makes Move to New Headquarters on McCullough

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The boxes are packed, the moving trucks are here, and the first CPS Energy employees are officially moving to the utility’s new headquarters at 500 McCullough Avenue. While we will dearly miss our old home on Navarro Street, our big move signals a new era for us and the community we’ve loyally served for 160 years.

The old CPS Energy headquarters on Navarro Street are comprised of buildings that are 92 and 52 years old, respectively. The age of these buildings continually required escalating operating and maintenance costs to keep them safe and secure. Their sale will offset the cost of our new home and help us save money each year going forward. Once sold, the older buildings can be redeveloped by the next owner.

“The building is…attractive, but it’s affordable,” said Frank Almaraz, Chief Administrative and Business Development Officer, in an interview that took place on Sept. 11, 2020 with News 4 San Antonio’s Jaie Avila. “We focused very, very much on making sure that we were spending these dollars in the most prudent way possible. We think it’s going to be a fantastic place for us to base our operations out of. We are a 24/7/365 business that supports our community. In this time of COVID, everything’s just gotten a little more complicated, but we know one day we will welcome our customers to our facility and they will see that we have done the right thing for the community.”

Our new home will be more energy efficient and cost-effective.  It is 60% more efficient that our older headquarters and we paid special attention to things like using recycled wood to create tables and fixtures, as well as having fewer offices that would block natural sunlight. 

“Our customers are going to be better served with this new building with the lower cost that it takes to maintain it,” said Frank. “It’s 60 percent less energy intensive. With an [older building], everything is more expensive from an efficiency standpoint, but even just maintaining the exterior, it’s gotten so cost-burdensome that really the only responsible thing to do is to consolidate our employees into something that’s going to last us for many more decades [to come] and be more cost-effective.”

Once it is safe to return to the office, nearly 1,200 of CPS Energy’s 3,100 total employees will work at the new McCullough building, which will serve as a modest yet attractive addition to the Broadway corridor downtown and the downtown skyline. The total cost of the building will come in at $212 million, which is less than the company’s original budget allocation of $215 million. Significant care was taken to ensure that every monetary decision, even down to each piece of furniture in the building, was made with discretion and with the community in mind.

“The cost of furnishings is a small fraction of the total amount of the project itself,” said Frank. “We are taking over as much of the furniture that has an existing useful life in our current facilities…[but] it really is time for a refresh.”

Expenditures to our competitively selected furniture vendor represent only 3.4% of the total project costs. ($7.3 million for furniture / $212.0 million for the total spend = 3.4%).

From the very beginning when the project formally began in 2017, CPS Energy obtained public input to come up with three key principles in making our decision for our future headquarters selection:

  • Stay in the downtown area,
  • Ensure the cost of the new headquarters would not drive an increase in customer rates, and
  • Take the opportunity to spur economic development in the selected area of downtown.

“We watched every penny as though it was our own,” said Frank. “We know that, in the end, these are the dollars of our community and we were careful to only spend money that was cost-effective and prudent. I’m very comfortable with what the big team of people, who analyzed this to every penny, have produced and I think that we’ve been very, very reasonable.”

We are confident that, in the years to come, the new McCullough building will serve as a beacon to our community.

For additional information about CPS Energy’s new headquarters on McCullough, read this informational fact sheet. 

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Applicants Sought for Community Action Advisory Board

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The City of San Antonio is accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB). The CAAB advises the City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and San Antonio City Council on needs, concerns, and goals of low-income persons; recommends policies; and advises on the allocation of federal Community Services Block Grant funds. The CAAB also oversees key responsibilities regarding the Head Start Policy Council of the City’s Head Start Program for its benefit and effective governance. DHS  also administers the Community Action Program for the city and Bexar County. 

“This is an opportunity for residents to get involved & make a difference in the lives of low-income children & families in our community,” stated Minerva Hernandez, Family Support Coordinator with the Department of Human Services.

Applications will be accepted for representative(s) of low-income individuals and families in the following areas: 

  • Area I – City Council Districts 1 & 2 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area II – City Council District 5
  • Area III – City Council Districts 3 & 4 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area IV – City Council Districts 6 & 7 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area V – City Council Districts 8, 9 &10 and Adjacent Bexar County area

Applicants interested volunteering on the CAAB, must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of a selected service area and committed to serving low-income individuals and families living in poverty.

The Board is comprised of 15 members: five elected public officials (four City Council Members and one County Commissioner), five representatives of the community’s low-income residents, and five representatives from private groups and organizations.

Interested residents can apply with the Office of the City Clerk on the City’s website. If you have any questions or need assistance with your application, please contact Nancy Cano, Boards & Commissions Coordinator, at (210) 207-7257 or via email at Nancy.cano@sanantonio.gov.

The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, Dec.6, 2022, by 4 p.m. with the Office of the City Clerk.

In the event more than one candidate applies for Low-Income Representative from the same area CAAB Elections for Low Income Representative(s) will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following polling locations:

  • Area I – West End Park Senior Center – 1226 N.W. 18th St., 78207
  • Area II – Normoyle Senior Center – 700 Culberson, 78225    
  • Area III – Willie Cortez Senior Center – 5512 S.W. Military Drive, 78242
  • Area IV – Doris Griffin Senior One-Stop Center – 6157 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 120, 78238
  • Area V – Northeast Senior Center – 4135 Thousand Oaks, 78217

Each election site will have paper ballots available with the name of the candidates for each area. For information about the Community Action Advisory Board Contact Liaison: Minerva Hernandez LMSW at 210-207-5917 or email: Minerva.hernandez@sanantonio.gov.

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Community

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

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Texas’ Biggest Christmas Celebration Offers the Largest Light Display in the State and an Exciting New Christmas Nativity Musical Extravaganza

Beginning November 10, SeaWorld San Antonio is trimming the tree and hanging the lights for the return of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the biggest Christmas event in Texas. For 42 days the marine life park will transform into a holiday wonderland featuring millions of sparkling lights, decorations, holiday festivities, and scrumptious holiday treats and eats. Along with returning favorites, the park will premiere the brand-new O Wondrous Night, an exciting, multi-faceted live action musical!

NEW O Wondrous Night Stage ShowThe greatest story never told – the story of the Nativity as seen through the eyes of the animals who experienced it – makes its debut this year at SeaWorld San Antonio. This magical experience features amazing puppetry, more than 30 inspirational carols, and dance set against the backdrop of the very first Christmas. This glorious live stage show celebration will charm, entertain, and delight people from all walks of life as they experience the true glory of the season. Singing, special effects, and holiday spirit combine to make O Wondrous Night yet another reason to make SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the largest in all of Texas, an annual part of family holiday traditions for years to come.

NEW Christmas Party Zone, Snowman Jam – SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration may be a winter wonderland, but things will heat up at the holiday party zone! Amongst the many holiday areas to visit, guests can catch a special Christmas vibe at Snowman Jam. A DJ spinning the sounds and Festive Flurries fill the air with snowflakes at this club-like section of the park, all centered around the new Frozen Fusion Bar that will serve up specialty cocktails like the Mistletoe Margarita!

Returning Favorites– Guests can renew holiday traditions and encounter 12 uniquely themed holiday areas. Guests will experience the joy of the season while enjoying returning favorites like millions of festive twinkling lights and displays around the entire park, meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, watching the Sesame Street Christmas Parade, or strolling through Christmas Market and visiting Santa himself. Park-goers can also savor the season with chef-created holiday treats served up in cozy holiday settings with visits from Santa, Rudolph, and a cast of memorable holiday characters. Returning holiday festivities include:

  • Twelve Yuletide-Themed Areas – A country Christmas can be discovered at Christmas Market, with a unique Christmas tree made entirely of cowboy boots. Park goers can also stroll through Christmas Cove, a 1950s-inspired wonderland, as well as enjoy a whimsical Snowman Village where they can pose with life-sized snowmen. Additionally, guests can make their way through nine more holiday themed areas featuring millions of lights adorning every corner, putting guests in the ultimate holiday mood.
  • Holiday Shows and Festive Animal Presentations – World class entertainment awaits those craving the holiday spirit. Enjoy a bit of Fiesta flare with the Merry Mariachis, hear the story of the first Christmas told through song in Peace on Earth, and be inspired by the festive beluga whale and pacific whitesided dolphin presentation, Ocean Discovery: A Splash of Christmas set to the music of The Nutcracker.
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Friends – Guests can immerse themselves in the story of Rudolphwhen strolling past life-size story book vignettes featuring the classic tale and can meet beloved characters including Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble.
  • The Sesame Street Christmas Parade features fantastic, festively decorated floats with show-stopping performances that celebrate the magic of the holiday season! The whole family will experience an energetic Christmas celebration with Sesame Street friends, including Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Ernie, and more. Families are sure to sing, dance, and be merry with their favorite furry friends!
  • Coca-Cola presents Fireside S’mores and a Holiday Scavenger Hunt – Families and friends alike can create memories as they cozy up around a toasty fire and experience the tradition of roasting marshmallows for delicious holiday smores. Afterwards, guests have the chance to become Insta-famous and featured on billboards around San Antonio by participating in a jolly photo scavenger hunt. Upon completion guests will receive a Coca-Cola theme festive holiday prize.
  • Festive Food and Beverages – Plenty of holiday inspired treats and eats will satisfy cravings with seasonal candies and baked goods, festive funnel cakes, piping hot chocolate and coffee, and winter cocktails including and the NEW Santa-Gria and the Grinch Cocktail with melon liqueur, and rum! Those wanting a traditional holiday meal can join Mrs. Claus in her kitchen for Dinner with Santa as she serves up a Christmas feast and welcomes the big guy to read stories to the kids! Families can also delight in holiday food and fun as they Dine with Rudolph and Friends. (Reservations required for Dinner with Santa and Dine with Rudolph.)

No visit to SeaWorld is complete without spending time with some incredible marine animals. Guests have the opportunity to view, engage with, and learn about everything from orcas, dolphins, belugas, sharks, and puffins; to tropical fish, sea turtles, birds, and more.

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Community

Neighborhood Leadership Academy 

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Applications Now Open for City of San Antonio’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy

The City of San Antonio is now accepting applications for the eighth cohort of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. The Neighborhood Leadership Academy equips residents with the skills, knowledge and resources to better advocate for their neighborhoods. There is no fee to apply or participate.

The Neighborhood Leadership Academy brings together neighbors from all parts of San Antonio to learn more about how their local government works. This valuable program also helps our neighbors learn how they can make their voices heard for issues that are important to their own communities,” said Alanna Reed, City of San Antonio Director of Communications and Engagement. 

Participants in the program will hear from guest speakers and City staff about pressing local issues and how they can get involved and share feedback. They will also participate in group discussions, networking opportunities and a specially curated behind the scenes tour of City facilities and services. Past participants have included neighborhood association leaders and residents who are interested in leading their own association or community group. 

Applications are open to anyone who lives within San Antonio city limits. There is no cost to participate in this program. Program sessions will take place once a month from January 2023 through June 2023. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2022.

For more information or to apply, visit www.saspeakup.com/2022NLA101.

Interested residents can also email Neighborhoods@sanantonio.gov or call 210-207-6920.

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