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Schertz accepts $27,000 donation from Santikos

December 18, 2018

Santikos Entertainment is helping the Schertz police department with funding for needed equipment.

The company’s donation of $27,000, presented at the Schertz City Council’s Dec. 11 meeting, will be used to purchase nine automated external defibrillators and 15 body cameras,” Police Lt. Kelly Kallies told the council.

“This gift to the Schertz police department is just a small example of the gift John L. Santikos left to the San Antonio Area Foundation and our local community,” said Andrew Brooks, director of strategy and innovation at Santikos Entertainment.

“And just like this gift is going to change and save lives, the gift that he left leaves us with the mission to change and save lives every day. So we’re excited to get that started,” Brooks explained, noting “this gift that he left is not a marketing gimmick. It’s an engine for change, and with that, we’re here to provide transformative funding to our local communities.”

“We’re obviously very excited and humbled by this presentation. It means a lot to us to have this new business in our area being supportive of the community, “said Schertz Police Chief Michael Hansen. The chief noted that the funds will outfit every marked patrol vehicle with a portable defibrillator and every patrol officer a body camera.

Upon his death in December 2014, local movie theater chain owner John Santikos gave about $605 million to the San Antonio Area Foundation to found the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation. According to a city spokesperson and an oversized check that was presented to the council, however, the police department donation came directly from Santikos Entertainment.

The company is building a new entertainment complex in Cibolo, just across that city’s border with Schertz.

Under construction at the southeast corner of Wiederstein Road and Interstate 35 in Cibolo, the project will include an 87,000-square-foot entertainment complex with 12 movie screens with 1,500 reclining seats, six restaurants, retail shops, a sports bar, arcade facilities and a 16-lane bowling area. The complex is scheduled to open next spring. Cost estimates have not been released by the firm.

Later additions could include a hotel, 800 units of multifamily housing, a fitness center, a bank and additional restaurants and retail shops, Santikos officials have said.

The council also heard a presentation on plans for a second water pipeline from the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corp. (SSLGC). The organization, formed in 1998, is jointly controlled by both communities to meet their water needs. It also provides water to Selma and Universal City from wells in Gonzales County pulling from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.

A second pipeline is needed, explained Dudley Wait, the city’s executive director of operations, because of larger than expected population growth. Growth estimates, however, also show possible water shortages between 2020 and 2025, something which Wait said might be somewhat misleading.

“When you first look at this, it looks very frightening,” Wait said, “but this is a worst-case scenario put together by the engineers with growth at the absolute peak. However, that being said, there is a critical need for additional water for the city of Schertz.”

Part of that is due to population increases, but another part of the problem, he explained, is that SSLGC also transports about 12,000 acre-feet of water a year through its 36-inch pipeline for the San Antonio Water System, cutting half to two-thirds of the pipeline water capacity to Schertz and Seguin. “What they (SAWS) pay us to do that has kept the water costs to our citizens lower than they would have been,” he said.

SSLGC received state funding in 2016 to construct a second well field in Guadalupe County capable of producing 5,000 acre-feet of water and a second, parallel 36-inch pipeline from Seguin to Schertz. Those projects are now being designed and anticipated to be completed by 2022, Wait said, adding acquisition of easements for the new pipeline was currently underway.

The Dec. 11 council meeting was the last one for 2018 and marks some substantial changes coming to the Schertz city staff.

On Jan. 1, Mark Browne, the outgoing city manager of Alamo Heights, will join Schertz as its new city manager. After retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2005 with nearly 27 years of service, Brown became city manager of Terrell Hills and, six years later, of Alamo Heights.

Brian James, now Schertz acting city manager, will return to his old post as executive director for Schertz. He served as acting city manager for nearly a year.

And Wait, after 17 years with the Schertz city staff, is leaving his position to become director of the Medcom Division of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, a nonprofit that helps develop and maintain the regional trauma and emergency healthcare system for 22 South Texas counties.

In his new job, Wait will be managing operations of a large call center that directs emergency units and law enforcement to appropriate destinations within those counties.

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