Southwest side Councilman Rey Saldana says, while the city does a great job welcoming most visitors to San Antonio, there is a huge group of people who come to the city every week who are not treated to the best that San Antonio has to offer, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
He's referring to the two thousand people who arrive in the city every week, fifty weeks a year, to see a son or daughter graduate from basic training at Lackland AFB.
"These families fly to the airport, get a hotel room downtown, and then come see their Airmen graduate here on Friday," he said. "And they are seeing San Antonio, they are taking it in."
And generally what they see around Lackland Air Force Base is a forest of billboards, roadside motels, and not so scenic development.
"And they can be forgiven, if they believe that San Antonio doesn't have any respect to the military, and for their Airmen, and where they live and train, if they drove down Highway 90."
So Saldana is spearheading the Lackland Corridor Gateway Project, which will transform 3.9 miles of Southwest Military Driver and the intersection of Highway 90 with artwork, new development, and landscaping.
The first phase was the dedication of 'Tribute to Freedom,' a soaring 75 foot tall, lighted sculpture, which is the tallest metal sculpture in the state.
Artist George Schroeder says it includes forms representing the five branches of the U.S. military surrounding a towering obelisk which represents the country being protected by the military.
The interior of the sculpture will be illuminated in blue on Fridays, in honor of the Airmen who graduate from Lackland AFB each week.
"This will give birth and life back to miltiary drive," Saldana said.S
aldana says the entire area facing Lackland AFB will see public art, street improvements, multimodal travel options, median landscape improvements, improved wayfinding signage, low impact development irrigation, and a linear creek connection.