Representing a sprawling region stretching from Encino Park and Stone Oak to San Antonio International Airport, District 9 Councilman John Courage has created satellite offices to reach more residents.

Soon, the possibility even exists to visit an in-district Whataburger restaurant and have concerns addressed face-to-face by the council member’s staff.

“I recognize that a lot of people can’t get around so easily, and not everyone can make it to the field office, which is located in one part of the district,” Courage said. “Our district is very large and diverse. We want all our constituents to have access to us.”

The regular field office, 16500 U.S. 281 North, Suite 290, on the second floor of the Frost Bank Financial Center at Thousand Oaks Drive, doesn’t always receive as many visitors as Courage wishes.

“We weren’t getting as many walk-ins as when we moved into the Thousand Oaks location as we would have liked,” said Zack Lyke, Courage’s communications director. “So we started going around to different parts of the district in an attempt to reach out.”

In September, Courage’s mobile-office program launched from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on designated days at specific locations once a month.

The current monthly schedule is: Encino Branch Library, 2515 E. Evans Road, the second Friday (Feb. 9); Parman Branch Library, 20735 Wilderness Oak Road, the third Monday (Feb. 19); Brook Hollow Branch Library, 530 Heimer Road, the third Friday (Feb. 16); and Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, 10843 Gulfdale Drive, the fourth Monday (Feb. 26).      

“We wanted to set up regular satellite-office hours in the four quadrants of our district,” Courage said. “It is another way of reaching out, of connecting with constituents. The main thing we wanted was to hear the concerns in their neighborhoods. We ask people, ‘Are you having problems in your neighborhood? Is there anything you think the city should know about?’”

Courage said his staff will continue operating the current remote locations, plus may include others to broaden their coverage. The councilman added they might even periodically set up at local Whataburgers to meet with constituents.

“A lot of people go to Whataburger to grab lunch, or stop in for coffee. We’ll be there to make it more convenient to speak with us,” Courage said.

He noted the program is off to a positive start; dozens of residents have talked with personnel on issues ranging from the status of road repair to San Antonio Water System rates to the use of smart meters by CPS Energy.

“There are a variety of topics we hear about — especially construction such as sidewalk projects or street projects,” Courage said. “People say, ‘We didn’t know about that project. Why weren’t we notified?’”

As a result, Courage said his staff will begin walking streets and placing door hangers in parts of the district where roadwork will have an impact on constituents.

“We’ll be block walking in neighborhoods, and go to residents to talk about certain issues, such as construction,” Lyke said. “You get construction notices all the time, but ones involving sidewalk projects or projects where streets will be affected will be given more advanced notice.”

Usually, individual flyers/door hangers are distributed to homeowners 48 hours before the start of thoroughfare work.

Courage said residents who want to talk with their political leaders should have the opportunity.

“People should feel confident with their elected officials. It makes people feel better about their government,” Courage said. “We may not always find the exact solution they want, but we will always find something that can be done.”

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