By Morgan Montalvo
Bexar County Commissioners Court last evening for a time had the look of a trendy, bustling urban bookstore, complete with crowds of admirers eager to get a signed and inscribed copy of "The Changing Face of San Antonio" by its author: County Judge Nelson Wolff, News radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The signing was part of an after-five reception celebrating Wolff's newest book, his fifth, which chronicles a half-dozen area infrastructure projects completed over the past decade, from southward extension of the River Walk to efforts to put San Antonio on the map as a biomedicine and cybersecurity incubator.
A previous volume, "Transforming San Antonio", covered four earlier, similar initiatives in the early 2000s.
Wolff says one of the city's crowning achievements described in the new book is The Pearl, a former brewery-turned-mixed-use development just off Broadway north of downtown. He says the idea of reconfiguring the long-closed Pearl Beer Brewery was conceived while he toured the upper San Antonio River area to discuss flood control.
"There was nothing there in 2003," Wolff says. "Go over there today; you'll see the greatest transformation in the city just right there."
Other capital improvements described in Wolff's new book are renovation and transformation of the fire-damaged Municipal Auditorium into the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and expansion of the University Health System.
With the ink from his latest book still not quite dry, Wolff says new projects are taking shape downtown: renovations along a stretch of Houston Street that includes the Alameda Theater, and beautification and flood control along another inner-city waterway.
"It's going to totally transform that area," he says of the Houston Street improvements , "and then we're doing now the second phase of San Pedro Creek."
Wolff has been Bexar County Judge since 2001. Previously he represented Bexar County in the Texas House of Representatives from 1971 to 1973 and as a state senator from 1973 to 1975. He also was a District 8 City Councilman and, in 1991, elected to a four-year term as San Antonio Mayor.
His other books are: "Challenge of Change," a narrative of his time in the Texas Legislature and work for a state constitutional convention; "Baseball for Real Men," about his passion for the sport; and "Mayor," a memior of his City Hall years.
PHOTO: MORGAN MONTALVO