July 2021-June 2022

A Letter From Our CEO

A Letter From Our CEO

Hello Downtowners, 

The past year has presented both amazing opportunities and complex challenges for our community. Hospitality has picked up in a big way. Art, activations, and events have brought hundreds of thousands back into our urban core.  Fiesta was back and the Roadrunners Football energized everyone! The new UTSA and Weston Urban projects, coupled with public sector investments in San Pedro Creek, Zona Cultural, and Hemisfair promise to transform our cityscape in the next five years.  

At the same time, we face serious challenges including rapid inflation, erosion of public safety perception, increasing homelessness, severe weather events, hybrid work and encroachment of personal rights.  These are negatively impacting residents, students and workers downtown and, in many cases, across the entire city.   

While many of these forces are beyond our scope, we work with city, community and business leaders to adapt quickly and thoughtfully.  In that spirit, we work hard every day to catalyze a vibrant and diverse collection of neighborhoods in and surrounding downtown.   

Our long view is that downtown becomes home to 100,000 people from all walks of life.  Where individuals, students and families live, grow, learn and play together. A neighborhood supported by a robust, inclusive economic ecosystem and offers amazing spaces and experiences for locals and visitors alike to dive into our city’s art and culture.  

As you read this report, you will become familiar with the work we do in our Public Improvement District. We wake up every day thinking about how we can make this .8 square miles in downtown San Antonio more beautiful, welcoming, playful, and prosperous.  

I am so proud of what this team has been able to accomplish through our clean and safe programs augmented with art, activations, economic development, storytelling and homeless assistance.  Downtown is resilient, surprising, welcoming and beautiful.  Our residents love El Centro.  We have challenges for sure, and I’m confident the future is going to be more beautiful, exciting and prosperous for downtown SATX. 

As you may be aware, the Public Improvement District is up for renewal next year.  It’s current ten-year term coming to an end. Serving our community is a privilege, one that we would be honored to continue for years to come. We will be coordinating closely with the property owners, businesses, and residents in the district as well as City leadership to plan for a renewed PID that best serves the community. If you are a downtowner, we encourage you to read through this report to familiarize yourself with Centro’s work. 

The story of our organization and of our city continues to unfold. I very much hope you will join us for that journey. Thank you for supporting us and the work we do. As always feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions or concerns. 


Matt Brown, CEO

2020 will be a year we won’t soon forget.

Like many of you, we have had to adapt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. As local public health orders went into effect in mid-March, we amended our operations and staff protocols in order to ensure the health and safety of our personnel as well as the entire downtown district. Our team pivoted to connecting local businesses with much-needed resources and assistance.

The senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25th, 2020, sparked nationwide protests calling for long- overdue reforms to the criminal justice system. We were proud to stand with our community in peaceful protest. We looked inward at our makeup and began redesigning our organization to reflect the community we serve.

There is no doubt that 2020 has brought its fair share of challenges, but we have learned how our Downtown may grow and thrive in this unfamiliar moment in responding to these challenges. Our new disinfecting protocols have resulted in a district that is cleaner than it has ever been. The calls for social justice manifested in our public art projects and virtual programming, raising the voices of local BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people. We launched our new Main Street Business program to preserve and empower local businesses downtown in the face of unprecedented economic hardship.

Challenging times have a way of revealing what is truly important. We move forward from 2020, affirmed in the belief that, together with our community, we can create a prosperous and welcoming downtown for all of San Antonio to call home.

In 2021, we have premiered programming which is both safe and inspiring. We have expanded the impact and scope of the marquee initiatives born in 2020 including Art Everywhere, Main Street Business, and Urban Activation. We are preparing to re-launch our membership program to build community and support for our initiatives. In the report below, you will see our impact described and measured. There is no way, however, to properly measure the outpouring of support and collaboration we have enjoyed from the community. We remain committed to you.

Matt Brown, CEO

We Are On A Mission

Centro strives every day to catalyze a more beautiful, playful, prosperous and welcoming downtown San Antonio that amplifies our culture, heritage and spirit. 

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Year In Review

Our Guiding Principles

We seek to think big, have fun, get the right stuff done, and be good to others. Living by our principles below helps us achieve this. 


Devoted to serving, reflecting, and building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.


Demonstrate passion, bravery, and commitment to do the right thing. Be vulnerable and learn from our missteps.


Be curious. Be outrageously imaginative problem-solvers and play-makers.


Listen with an open heart. Treat everyone with care, kindness, and respect.


Be pragmatic, tenacious, and intentional in our work and effort.

Join us as we work every day to help cultivate a complete, well-functioning ecosystem of neighborhoods and thriving enterprises situated in the civic and cultural epicenter of our beautiful, historic city. 

What’s the PID?

The Public Improvement District is a 
.8 square mile area in downtown San Antonio. Property owners within this District pay a self-assessed tax based on their property values, which funds Centro’s services, including- but not limited to- maintenance, landscaping, hospitality, homeless outreach, marketing + events, and public art.

What’s the PID?

The Public Improvement District is a .8 square mile area in downtown San Antonio. Property owners within this District voluntarily pay an assessment based on their property values, which funds Centro’s services, includingbut not limited to clean + safe maintenance, landscaping, hospitality, economic development, homeless outreach, marketing + events, and public art. 

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Clean + Safe

Want to Download the Annual Report? Click Here.

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Matt is the lucky guy that gets to lead a team of passionate placemakers who work every day to make downtown San Antonio more beautiful, playful, prosperous, and welcoming. Since starting his career as an attorney, Matt accumulated 25+ years’ worth of experience in the private sector by founding play and creative companies; consulting for start-ups and Fortune 500s in strategy, innovation, and leadership; and serving as president and C-level executive for Scholastic, Klutz and LeapFrog, among others. Directly prior to moving to San Antonio, he was the Economic Development Director and Interim Land Use Director for Santa Fe, NM.  He and his daughter have visited 15 state capitals on their way to all 50! 

Elizabeth Burt


Liz is a passionate underutilized space evangelist known for collaboration matchmaking + play based troublemaking (snow, pumpkins, and Parisian mimes included). She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Public Policy studying Public Administration (#BirdsUp)! More recently, she oversaw the award winning Activate Houston Street Initiative, a placemaking action plan to reinvigorate the historic pedestrian corridor in the heart of Downtown, which is recognized as a Best Practice in Public Space Management by the International Downtown Association, for which she is also a proud Emerging Leader Fellow.


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Connie Garza


Connie is a native San Antonian with roots planted deeply on San Antonio’s Southside. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Passionate about building strong communities, Connie loves acting as a connector to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and people to help each other reach their goals and work together. She works inbetween the Cultural Placemaking team and the Mainstreet Economic Development team, bringing vibrancy and support to urban core businesses to make downtown the place to be. When not at work, you can usually find her at the local plant nursery buying another plant, exploring new cafes/breweries, and spending time with family.

Laura Aldrich


Laura (She/Her) has a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin where she fostered a deep love for communication, critical theory, & experiential spaces. Her heart lies in community, communication, & creative spaces for connection & collaboration.

She’s found much of her life’s direction in sharing her love for fitness & yoga alongside her deeply lived passion for social equity & women’s equality.

Laura has years of experience in developing & carrying out creative, strategic project management, marketing & membership-based sales as well as large-scale events & leadership training.

Outside of work she can often be found biking downtown with friends, adventuring with her sweet pup on the Greenway & casually perusing the cheese aisle at Central Market. She finds simple pleasures in unexpected live music, mochi, freshly bought pairs of matching socks & toppling the patriarchy.

Priscilla Lopez


Priscilla or “P.Lo” as her teammates affectionately call her, has 20 years of corporate administrative experience. Priscilla attended The University of San Antonio with a focus on Business Administration. In her role as office “fixer,” she handles everything from communications and relationship management to IT sleuthing. On weekends you can find her enjoying a Truly poolside. She lives the vegan lifestyle and is  a proud member of the Peleton community.

Jacqueline Lucio


Jacque is a longtime downtowner with a deep passion for community service. She oversees Centro’s Clean & Safe and Homeless Outreach services, which aim to create a more beautiful, welcoming, inclusive, and hospitable downtown. For nearly two decades, Jacque has lived in downtown San Antonio and has been actively involved in the transformation of the urban core. Through her work with nonprofits, local government, and news media, she’s continually focused on championing more sustainable, diverse, and equitable communities. Jacque has led efforts to support asylum seekers, served as communications director for City Council District 5, and served in public affairs role for Clear Channel Outdoor San Antonio. Jacque studied Mass Communications and Mexican-American Studies at UTSA.

Matt Sirgo


Matt graduated from Texas Tech University in 2016 with a Dual Major in Media Strategies and Honors Arts & Letters with a minor in Italian (Benvenuto a tutti!). Matt oversees the marketing, public relations, and digital content for Centro. After sharing the story of Downtown San Antonio on digital channels, he enjoys creating TikToks about LGBTQ+ media. His mug graces a Fiesta Mural on the St. Mary’s Strip just north of Downtown. You can’t miss it. 

Andi Rodriguez


Andi is a long-time urban champion and leads Centro ‘people projects which tell our stories and bring us joy, such as Centro’s Art Everywhere and Zona Cultural. Serving on the Leadership Council of Urban Land Institute, she is a former city Planning Commissioner, Founding Chair of the Hemisfair Conservancy, Co-founder of Power of Preservation/PROM, former Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and immediate past Chair of Leadership San Antonio. Andi considers herself a servant leader; she has an MS in Architecture/Urban Planning, and enjoys advocating for the unifying power of art, history, and public space.

Jakob Villareal


Currently studying for a B.A. in English at A&M San Antonio and Majoring in Writing & Rhetoric, Jakob is a key player in securing additional funding for Centro’s many projects and initiatives. Jakob acts as a matchmaking service for Centro’s projects and Initiatives. Using his intimate knowledge of our goals and ideals, he seeks to find the perfect match of project and potential funding organization. When he’s not busy fundraising Jakob also fills the roll of Game Master, host the team’s various gettogethers and keeping the party going with games galore. He spends his free time painting miniatures, and is an avid Dungeons and Dragons & Table Top RPG enthusiast.

JanIe Garza


Janie is a native of Corpus Christi, TX and has made San Antonio her home since 2012. Her 15+ years’ experience allows her to serve a broad range of functions that allow the organization to operate efficiently, including, accounts receivable/payable, record management, information technology, office management, and assisting with human resources. Outside of the office she enjoys spending time with her family, visiting local art museums, and enjoying a German beer in Southtown.

Michael Cirlos


Michael began his studies and volunteer work at Webster University Thailand with a focus on international relations and Buddhism. After returning to San Antonio and graduating from UTSA, Michael began photographing and telling the stories of people in Downtown San Antonio to help connect and increase awareness of our vibrant urban culture. Michael’s work has appeared in several news media organizations, and has produced digital content for small- and large-scale marketing campaigns for Red Bull, COSA Department of Arts and Culture, World Heritage Office, National Park Service, and others. Michael is a former Pecha Kucha San Antonio Speaker, best-selling author at Trinity University Press, entrepreneur, and adventurer.

Sarah Esserlieu


Sarah is a passionate urbanist who has spent the majority of her career on downtown revitalization efforts. Downtown is the best part of any city where you can find the finest history, culture, life, and beauty. Sarah has a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of California, San DiegoSarah enjoys visiting small local businesses, enjoying foodie culture, cooking, hiking, and visiting the cities of the world. 



Kandice is a Sunnyvale, CA native and has made San Antonio her home since 2014She graduated from University of Argosy in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and continued to complete her Master’s in Business Administration from University of Phoenix 2020. She has worked in downtown San Antonio for years, bringing 15+ years of accounting experience to the organization and has been tasked with promoting and developing the city’s urban core. When not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, managing her family’s businesses, and enjoys cooking and baking.  

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs 


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