A Great Place to Live, Work, Play and Learn
Amy Kincheloe, TDHCA
It’s not often that an affordable housing community makes history for its state-of-the-art technology, but the Gardens of San Juan Square has.
On Aug. 1, 2015, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech, the first digital library located within a public housing community, opened at the Gardens of San Juan Square in San Antonio. The re-development of the former San Juan public housing community includes 539 units in a master-planned, mixed income complex with commercial space and live/work spaces.
The San Antonio Housing Authority (“SAHA”) received an allocation of 4% Housing Tax Credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, coupled with mortgage revenue bond financing, to redevelop the third phase of the Gardens of San Juan Square in 2012. (The Gardens of San Juan Square previously received tax credits from TDHCA for Phases I and II in 2005 and 2007.)
While the BiblioTech is available to all Bexar County residents, it’s very conveniently located for the residents at the Gardens of San Juan Square which further supports this community’s design, which also supports access to public transportation, pedestrian amenities and walking trails from the adjacent neighborhoods.
The new BiblioTech is the second full branch of Bexar County’s digital public library system. It offers residents of Bexar County 24/7 access to 38,000 current titles, an endless number of classic titles, research databases, comics, graphic novels, music, movies, technology tutorials, genealogy resources and more through a cloud-based collection. The physical locations, including the one at the Gardens of San Juan Square, offer access to Mac desktop computers, laptops, iPads, study rooms and interactive touch screen tables for children to play educational games. Residents can also check out e-readers loaded with five books at a time, or interactive e-readers loaded with 150 children’s books for a two-week period.
“This spectacular development has been billed as a great place for families to live, work and play; now we’re adding ‘learn’ to that description,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.
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