A committee studying how to apply Bexar County’s future venue taxes to projects along the scenic San Antonio River has trimmed its project list from $177 million to the $125 million requested by the county. The venue tax from hotel stays and car rentals will become available when the debt on the San Antonio Spurs AT&T Center is paid off. First, voters have to approve an extension of the tax beyond its original purpose. A vote is expected next spring. In the meantime, committees are creating lists of projects that could be funded with the money. The county wants to use some of the revenue to finance improvements and extensions of San Antonio’s famed river walk to the south of downtown. Another piece of the revenue will fund amateur sports and cultural facilities, while a third piece will go to upgrading the AT&T Center. The river group has one list of priorities priced at $75 million and a more ambitious alternative list that takes the total up to $124.8 million. The first priority list includes $71.1 million for the project’s Mission Reach, to pay for work the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be doing to restore the river to a more natural state from the flood control channel work it began in the 1960s. If extended, the venue tax would relieve the city and county from having to pay the cost of the remaining three phases of the Mission Reach section of the river that will run from downtown to the mission district to the south. The second priority list includes an additional $8.8 million for the Park Reach to the north and $38.6 million worth of additional items for the Mission Reach. The public will be able to study the selections for funding at a meeting Dec. 13.
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