Centro: Creating a Safe, Vibrant Downtown San Antonio

Downtown San Antonio


Ever wonder how downtown stays clean, vibrant, and energetic? It’s thanks to the efforts of Centro San Antonio, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the city’s public spaces.


Centro focuses on managing downtown’s public improvement district (PID), including San Antonio’s iconic, cultural, creative, and civic epicenters. Employees come together daily as placemaking agents who create a clean, beautiful, playful, and welcoming downtown for residents and tourists alike.


Since its inception, Centro has contracted to provide the Clean and Safe program, other core services, and special projects identified by its board and approved by the City Council annually. These initiatives beautify the city and improve safety and community engagement, making downtown San Antonio a more attractive place for all.


While Centro has many programs, four anchor the organization: Clean and Safe, “The Art Everywhere Project,” Centro Alliance Membership, and Activations and Events. These programs bring together an amazing group of women: Jacqueline Lucio, Director of the Public Improvement District Operations, or the area that Centro cultivates; Andi Rodriguez, Vice President of Cultural Placemaking; Lizzy Aranibar, Director of Centro Alliance Membership; and Elizabeth Burt, Director of Urban Activation and Play.


Centro GuayaberaFest4


Program: Clean and Safe


When you see exciting changes happening downtown, you can frequently credit Centro. While some may think Centro is events-driven, it is only part of the equation. “The Clean and Safe Program is the backbone of Centro, and if downtown isn’t clean and safe, then other initiatives are not possible,” says Director of Centro Alliance Membership Lizzy Aranibar. Centro initiatives have made downtown safer, cleaner, more vibrant, and welcoming, attracting more residents and tourists and contributing to the local economy.


Jacqueline Lucio, Director of the PID, is a long-time downtowner passionate about community service. She oversees Centro’s Clean and Safe Program and housing insecure outreach services, which create a beautiful, welcoming, inclusive, and hospitable downtown.


“Centro creates good in our community by doing good for the community,” says Lucio. The program employs 115 individuals, 40% of whom have experienced homelessness and have found a sense of purpose working to keep downtown safe, beautiful, and clean.


“Our Clean and Safe Program is not unique to San Antonio, but we are constantly innovating and attracting attention from cities across the U.S.,” says Aranibar. “Our ambassadors, easily identifiable in their yellow and dark blue shirts and smiling faces, are the heart of this program.” These ambassadors do everything from providing hospitality, wayfinding, cleaning, and landscaping to providing safety escorts. They’re keeping downtown streets clean and creating a welcoming environment that sets San Antonio apart from other cities.


Ambassadors also deploy to highly trafficked areas and set up kiosks to share free water and hospitality. This friendliness sets San Antonio apart from other cities. “The ambassadors love our city and reflect our city as a first impression to others. They’re the spirit of downtown,” says Aranibar. SAPD Bike patrol complements the presence of ambassadors after hours from 3:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.


Centro GirlScout


Program: “The Art Everywhere Project”


Andi Rodriguez, Vice President of cultural placemaking, is a long-time urban champion who leads Centro’s “The Art Everywhere Project,” which makes art happen downtown. She is a servant leader and enjoys advocating for the unifying power of art, history, and public space.


“The Art Everywhere Project” debuted during the pandemic in 2020. The project adds verve to our city’s concrete skyline by adding creativity, warmth, and reflections of pure talent and love for our city.


The program matches local artists with local businesses and property owners for commissioned projects. Downtown displays almost 200 works. “Centro uses art to add economic value by encouraging engagement downtown while allowing artists to curate and show their work, whether on murals or in popup exhibitions or galleries,” says Rodriguez.


Some examples of the “The Art Everywhere Project” include the recent mural at 114 Main Plaza. It is 48 feet long and was painted by San Antonio-based artist Cristina Sosa Noriega and assisted by Silvia Ochoa. The mural depicts seven real-life Girl Scouts from the Southwest Texas area.


“Por Vida—San Antonio Spurs” is a mural near Navarro and Houston Streets downtown. Local artist Andy Benavides led a team of extraordinary talent, including Christina Duncan, Phil Montoya, Nick Tijerina, Matt Tumlinson, Jose Cosme, and Danielle Edwards. The mural features two hands holding a Spurs prayer candle, a Spurs jersey, a championship ring, and “Por Vida” in classic script at the top.


Those interested in a self-directed walking tour can access a map on Centro’s website under “The Art Everywhere Project.”


Lizzy Member1


Program: Centro Alliance Membership


As Director of Centro Alliance Membership, Lizzy Aranibar brims with enthusiasm. She is passionate about creating a positive social impact and fostering a vibrant, inclusive San Antonio downtown community while building strong relationships with members and stakeholders to drive economic growth, connections, and community.


Centro supports its members by promoting economic development through its many programs. “The goal of Centro Alliance Membership is to connect, support, and promote our members,” says Aranibar. Centro hosts exclusive networking events and discussions regularly. Membership is open to all interested individuals, regardless of where they live in San Antonio.


There is something for everyone, and the program is tier-based. Members support the organization by joining and gaining numerous benefits, including networking opportunities with key city stakeholders such as civic leaders, downtown residents, business owners, and corporate executives. Members also have access to events focusing on issues important to San Antonians.


Centro promotes local businesses through various initiatives that foster economic development and enhance their visibility. Through these efforts, Centro provides robust support to its members, helping businesses thrive and succeed. Learn more about Centro Alliance Membership by checking out their website, www.centrosa.org/membership.


Centro GuayaberaFest3


Program: Activations/Events


You may have noticed the electric feeling of events downtown. Centro’s goal is to keep downtown safe and clean for residents and tourists and, in doing so, to create an exciting and energetic environment.


Elizabeth Burt, director of activations and events, oversees the Houston Street initiative and is passionate about evangelizing for underutilized spaces. She mentions that Centro “invests in activations and events because we want to attract locals and visitors alike who will preserve and grow the culture and economy of our city.” These events provide entertainment, making it a more vibrant, appealing, and attractive place to live, work, play, and visit.


In attracting people to downtown, Centro events and programming are based on collaborative partnerships and creating a legacy of spaces to enjoy, whether Peacock Alley, Legacy Park, Travis Park, or Historic Houston Street. “We activate spaces and deliver experiences that inspire and catalyze connection and community while supporting hyper-local, multigenerational small businesses in the heart of our city,” says Burt.


Centro breathes new life into downtown by animating and activating beloved spaces. In these spaces, you might discover a street party, community celebration, or performance. Significant events, such as the annual Guayabera Fest, also celebrate San Antonio traditions, like the culture of the Guayabera. The event attracted over 2,000 revelers who enjoyed retail, music, food, and community in historic Travis Park.

“The crème de la crème event, says Burt, “was Holidays on Houston St.” The event made Houston Street come alive with a variety of activations in partnership with the City of San Antonio, visit San Antonio and the Alamo, bringing the time-honored tradition of riverwalk lights to the street level on more than five city blocks, from Legacy Park down to the Alamo.


Reminiscent of the vintage era of Houston Street in its heyday but with a modern 2024 flair, residents and tourists enjoyed “Holidays on Houston” by patronizing small family-owned businesses and popups offering everything from handmade bags to jewelry. This event brought joy and excitement to the community and supported local businesses, contributing to the economic growth of downtown.


Families and singles could enjoy a Christmas market, drone shows, cowboy Santa Claus, a communal dinner under the Majestic marquee, and an evening Fun Run. The event reached all San Antonians and 700,000 visitors, inspiring the upcoming Stars & Stripes on Houston Street.


Centro San Antonio has transformed the downtown landscape through its dynamic range of programs, fostering a vibrant, clean, safe, and welcoming environment for all. From cultural activations to comprehensive safety measures, the organization’s dedication enhances our city and strengthens community cultivation. As Centro continues to innovate and expand its impact, it remains pivotal in making downtown San Antonio a clean, safe, and flourishing center of culture, commerce, and community.



Centro Ambassadors





Dear Downtown Enthusiasts!


Have you ever wanted to meet business owners, industry leaders, and other urban enthusiasts while attending the best mixers in town? Well, look no further—Centro membership is the perfect place to do just that!


Our membership team is enthusiastic, accessible, responsive and ready to help you find your perfect fit. We’ve got you covered with different membership tiers designed to meet your needs, whether you’re a business owner, neighbor, student, or just a friend of Downtown San Antonio. Anyone is welcome to join; we have members from all over the city.


Interested in promoting your business? Centro membership is your place. Looking to expand your network? We’ll help you! We’ve got a spot for everyone.


Join the Centro family today! Head over to www.centrosa.org/membership or scan the QR code below to sign up. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or give me a call. I can’t wait to welcome you to our Centro Family.

Hope to see you soon!


Lizzy Aranibar, Director of Membership

laranibar@centrosa.org, 210-367-2656


Lizzy Aranibar1 Membership credit Victoria




Meet the Leadership Team Behind Centro



Jacque Lucio BIO




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. Jacque has lived in downtown San Antonio for nearly two decades and has been actively involved in transforming 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 a public affairs role for Clear Channel Outdoor San Antonio. Jacque studied Mass Communications and Mexican American Studies at UTSA.



Andi Rodriguez BIO




Andi is a long-time urban champion andleads Centro’s Art Everywhere Project, making art happen downtown, with over 170 works by local artists installed since its inception in 2020. 

Serving on the Leadership Council of Urban Land Institute, she is a former city Planning Commissioner, founding chair of the
HemisfairConservancy, 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.


She is past co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Initiative for ULI and the Downtown Neighborhood Association, serves as a current board member for the Westside TIRZ board, COSA Public Art Committee and the Visit San Antonio Cultural Committee. Among Andi’s highlights are being honored by the SA Hispanic Chamber, by the SA Library Foundation, the SA Business Journal, the Contemporary at Blue Star Andi and performing in Cornyation. Andi considers herself a servant leader;she has anMS in Architecture/Urban Planningandenjoysadvocatingfor the unifying power of art, history, and public space. 



Lizzy Aranibar2 BIO




Lizzy’s background consists of over 22 years of combined experience in fundraising and nonprofit leadership in the San Antonio area. She now serves as Director of Membership for Centro. She oversees fundraising strategies, event planning, and member engagement, ensuring everything aligns with the organization’s goals and vision.


Throughout her career, Lizzy has planned and coordinated successful campaigns, events, and programs that have raised awareness, funds, and support for various causes in San Antonio. She has built and maintained strong relationships with donors, sponsors, partners, and stakeholders, ensuring their satisfaction and loyalty. Lizzy is passionate about creating a positive social impact and fostering a vibrant, inclusive community.


She loves family, friends, food, a beautiful beach, and will never turn down a good cocktail. She’s always up for a challenge and will be the first on the dance floor when the music starts.



Liz Burt BIO





Elizabeth is a passionate underutilized space evangelist known for collaborative 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) and is a new member to the Alumni Board of Directors. 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.



Priscilla Lopez BIO





Affectionately known as “P.Lo” by her colleagues, is the Chief of Staff for Trish DeBerry at Centro San Antonio. With over two decades of extensive corporate administrative experience, Priscilla brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her pivotal role, solidifying her reputation as a “fixer” within the organization.


After laying a strong foundation by pursuing her degree at Incarnate Word University, Priscilla embarked on a journey that would shape her into the accomplished professional she is today. Prior to her current position, she honed her skills as a paralegal, handling a diverse range of complex legal matters, including bankruptcy, family law, criminal law, and personal injury law. Priscilla received her Paralegal certification from the University of Texas at San Antonio.


Priscilla’s administrative prowess was solidified as an Executive Assistant in San Antonio from 2016 to the present, seamlessly managing complex tasks. As Centro San Antonio’s Chief of Staff, the “fixer” adeptly resolves challenges, ensuring smooth operations. She bridges communication between the President’s office and departments, fostering collaboration and productivity. Priscilla’s problem-solving skills and dedication enhance Centro’s effectiveness, navigating difficulties with ease thanks to her vast experience and excellence commitment. Moreover, she is renowned for compassion, lending an empathetic ear, and creating a positive, supportive workplace culture.


When the workweek comes to a close, Priscilla unwinds poolside, savoring her well-deserved downtime with a refreshing drink in hand – a blissful respite from her busy schedule, allowing her to recharge and return with renewed energy and focus.






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