Request for Proposals – Taco Haven Facade Design

The new property owners of the Taco Haven strip on S. Presa and Vance St are requesting proposals from local artist for design concepts for the facade.

Call for Local Artists

Requests for Proposals (RFP) for Taco Haven Strip Center Facade

The Project

Braun Enterprises (“Property Owner”) is seeking local artist(s) to propose a design concept for the Taco Haven Strip Center Facade Improvement Project. The Taco Haven Strip Center is located at 1032 S. Presa St., San Antonio, Texas. This opportunity is open to local artists residing within the Lavaca Neighborhood in “Southtown” who understand the unique character and culture of the area, which should be reflected in the proposed facade design. The scope    of work includes the color scheme and patterns for the  facade’s  tile,  wall  paint,  border  around the windows/doors and/or new mural (painted  or  tiled).  The  tile  may  be  manufactured  tile  and/or  original mozaic design(s). Respondents may submit a proposal for  all or portion(s) of the Project with a cost estimate for each line item (paint, tile installation, mozaic design/installation, mural, etc.).

The proposal deadline is 9:00 a.m. (CST) on Monday, May 18th, 2020.

Project Intent

The vision for the Project is for a signature art work of exceptional quality and enduring value located in a prominent location that reflects the unique character of the Lavaca Neighborhood and Southtown. This art work should:

Demonstrate artistic excellence.

  • Enhance the front of the building, (facing towards S. Presa Street, corner visible from Vance St. and corner visible from Eager St.) with a distinctive aesthetic experience both highly visible and welcoming to pedestrians, bicyclists and those traveling by in vehicles.
  • Provide a recognizable identity for the Taco Haven Strip Center and Lavaca


  •   An original art piece appropriate for outdoor installation able to stand up to severe weather, vandalism, graffiti etc  and be adequately and safely displayed and secured.
  • Selected artist(s) shall consider the site’s limitations and the art element placement previously determined by the site architect in Exhibit “A”.
  • Create a signature presence for the building that incorporates a colorful tone; Incorporate an image or feeling that is representative of Lavaca Neighborhood’s unique character.
  • Provide excitement and interest for locals and visitors.
  • Celebrate Lavaca Neighborhood’s identity and heritage.

Information about the Site and Immediate Surroundings

Taco Haven Strip Center is situated along S. Presa St. which abuts Lavaca Neighborhood    and is within close proximity of the King William Neighborhood in San  Antonio,  TX.  The former and existing uses within Taco Haven Strip Center includes restaurant, bar, salon and professional services. S. Presa St. has a mixture of low rise retail, commercial service, and restaurant establishments. A former restaurant/bar with ample parking is located directly  across Presa St., as well as a medical clinic. The wider  surrounding  neighborhood  is  primarily single family residential with several condominiums and rental units.

Attached to this RFP is Exhibit “A”, which include the following:

  • Building elevations prepared by site architect; and
  • Exterior drawing of areas subject to tile installation, paint, and/or artwork (mural, etc.).


This RFP is open to local artists residing in the Lavaca Neighborhood in San Antonio, TX.    The selected Respondent(s) shall work with the Property Owner and/or representatives, community, and City of San Antonio to obtain required permits, if/when necessary, for installation of exterior wall tile, paint work, and/or mural. Respondents who wish to be considered for this project should have experience working in public settings, as well as a proven ability to fabricate their own work or work with fabricators and installers. The artwork   for this site must reflect the Project Intent as described above.

The  selected  Respondent(s)  will  be  required  to  provide  evidence   of   appropriate   liability, property damage, and workers compensation insurance while working on the site.

The Property Owner is committed to excellence in environmental stewardship and in sustainable building practices. We encourage artists whose work addresses issues of sustainability to consider applying for this site–specific artwork competition.

Proposal Submittal Process:

Artists interested in this project must prepare and submit the following:

Proposed Design Concept for Facade. This proposal shall include conceptual design drawings, sketches, and/or other exhibit format(s) sufficient to communicate the artist’s concept. It should include a budget and describe the specifications for the artwork related  to materials, size, weight, installation requirements and maintenance guidelines.

RFP for Taco Haven Strip Center Facade                                         Page 2 of 3

  • Letter of Interest, no more than one page in length, which explains your interest in the

project. Please include your name and contact information.

  • Artist’s Statement, no more than 200 words in length, describing your work.
  • Current Resume. If submitting as a team, an individual resume should be submitted for each team member.
  • At least three professional references familiar with your work and working methods. The list must include complete addresses and telephone numbers.
  • Work samples and/or portfolio of previous work. Artists applying as a team should submit work samples of each individual artist’s work.

Optional: Each artist may include up to three selections of support materials such as reviews, news articles, web links and other related information.

Submit all materials electronically via e-mail to Ms. Mitsuko Ramos at

no later than 9:00 a.m CST on Monday, May 18th, 2020.

Final Artist Selection:

The Property Owner will  review  and  consider  all  proposals  submitted  by  local  artists  for the project in accordance with the RFP.

A decision regarding the selection of artwork, tile design/installation, and/or other work related to the Taco Haven Strip Center Facade Project will be made by Friday, May 22nd, 2020. This site- specific  work  shall  be  completed  within  the  time  frame  indicated  in  the  Proposal  or   other deadline agreed upon by both parties.

Criteria for Selection:

  • An initial proposal that reflects Project Intent as described in this document.
  • A body of work reflecting artistic excellence.
  • Experience fabricating and/or installing permanent artwork and/or tile suitable for the outdoor environment.
  • References provided as part of this application which will be contacted prior to final selection.

Additional Information:

The selected artist will receive a Contract for the amount agreed upon by both parties, which must be sufficient for all remaining elements of the project including insurance, fabrication, shipping, and installation.

The Property Owner is committed to reflecting the diversity and cultural richness of Lavaca Neighborhood and Southtown in the selection process. The Property Owner is under no obligation to award a Commission for artwork based on the Conceptual Design Proposals submitted.

If you have any questions or need any additional information, please call Ms. Mitsuko Ramos (210) 887-0198 or email her at:

A close up of a map  Description automatically generated

Tile Area = Same area as existing tile                       Mural Area = 9’H x 30’W                                                    Frontage = 305’

A screenshot of a cell phone  Description automatically generated

Annual Potluck and General Meeting

New to the neighborhood? Been here forever? Now’s the chance to get acquainted (or re-acquainted) with your neighbors, old and new. Every January, the Lavaca Neighborhood Association gathers for a potluck social.

Wednesday Jan 15
Beethoven Mannaerchor
422 Pereida St

The LNA will be providing the BBQ from B&D Ice House. 
Please bring a dish to share. If you last name begins with:
A-J        Salad
K-S       Side Dish
T-Z        Dessert

There will also be a short meeting to recap the year and hold elections. The Executive Board are elected for two years, and can be elected for two consecutive terms. The following board members are up for election:
President – Cherise Rohr-Allegrini (2nd two-year term)
Treasurer – Vik Gudi (2nd two-year term)
Secretary – Kat Doucette (appointed to complete the term of Karen Glenney, first two year term)

The Bylaws have been revised and will be subject to a vote to approve.
The changes are minor and can be seen here.

The Maribel House

As we come down Florida St, most of us arrive at Labor St looking at the little house on the curve. Have you ever wondered about its story? 

Maribel House, with Central Baptist Church in the background. photo credit: Scott Martin

Known to many neighbors as “The Maribel House,”  the house at 903 Labor St was built by Otto and Maribel Heinen in the 1930s. Otto was born in Kendall County but was a near-life long resident of San Antonio. He lived in a boarding house at 109 Barrera St when he was drafted into WWI.  After returning home from the war, he married Maribel Green, in 1922. Maribel was originally from Yoakum, Texas.  For a few years they rented a house a block away at 805 Labor St before building their house at 903 Labor.  Mr. Otto Heinen worked for some years as a mail clerk in a downtown hotel. 

Otto and Maribel had no children of their own, but were aunt and uncle to many nieces and nephews. They lived out their years in the house in Lavaca. Otto passed away in 1965, and Maribel stayed on until her death in 1980. She had given the house to the Central Baptist Church which was on that site until 2016.

For many who drive through Lavaca from I-37, the Maribel House serves as a focal point. As the oldest neighborhood in San Antonio, we continue to preserve not just the houses, but the stories of the people who called Lavaca home. 

A Walk Back in Time: Kearney St

Haven’t been on Kearney St? That’s not surprising. Unless you live there, you probably don’t have a reason to go down the short, narrow street.  One block  long, it dead ends into the back of a property on Carolina St.  

1912 Sanborn Map

In the 1940s, Gasper Dupas moved from New Orleans to San Antonio.  He built two apartments above a duplex at 128 Kearney St. His extended family gradually moved from New Orleans to San Antonio, living in the new four-plex house. His niece, Theresa Rasso lived there when she graduated from Brackenridge High School in 1949.

1946. Theresa Rasso, 17, in the lawn of 128 Kearney St. 132 Kearney is in the background. [photo credit: Elizabeth Courtade]

Theresa Rasso moved away, but returned with her husband, George Bloxham and their children in 1960. The Bloxhams raised their family on Kearney, including daughter Elizabeth [Courtade] and her two siblings, George and Zelia [Hernandez]. All three graduated from Brackenridge HS (’73, ’74, ’75).  The Bloxham kids grew up playing ball in the street with their neighbors, walking downtown for Fiesta events, and joining their mom for lunch when she worked at Joskes.  

The Bloxham kids and their neighbors called themselves “The Blue Mystics.”
[photo credit: Elizabeth Courtade]
[photo credit: Elizabeth Courtade]

But let’s step back further in time. Before Gaspar Dupas moved to Kearney St, Edwin and Alice (Edwards) Southard, also from New Orleans, rented the house at 128 Kearney St for $20/month. In 1930, Mr. Southard was a meat cutter and his 17 year old daughter, Iola, was a comptometer operator for a creamery. Fifteen-year-old Edwin Jr would have been a student at Brackenridge High School.

It appears 128 Kearney St had been a rental through most of the 20s. Stepping back to 1920, Mack (Macario) and Mary (Maria) Huizar lived there with their nine children. Mary Dorangricchia Huizar had emigrated from Italy as a child, while Mack was born to Mexican immigrants and raised in nearby Mission Espada, where his family had a farm. They sold the house later in 1920 and moved just a but south.

The Huizars’ neighbors in 1920 were Alfred and Ada Sperlich, immigrants from Germany and Austria. They lived at 132 Kearney through the 1930s with their two children, Oswald and Gertrude. Theirs was the only house on the block with a basement. Decades later, when the US would be gripped with fear during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Elizabeth Bloxham’s family, along with four other families on Kearney, took refuge in their neighbor’s basement. They’d filled it with food and water, prepared, should the worst occur.

Elizabeth, George, and Zelia Bloxham on their way to the Pepsi Peña show in 1972.
[photo credit: Elizabeth Courtade]

More than a decade after the Bloxhams had moved away, Israel Rico’s family moved to Kearney St. Long time San Antonians might remember his father, Spanish Radio DJ Ruben Gomez Rico. Described as having a “velvety voice,” Mr. Rico had a weeknight radio show called “Guirratas de America,” on KXET 1250AM in the 1980s. The Rico family lived at 111 Kearney St in the mid-1980s, but it wasn’t their first home in Lavaca.

Ruben Gomez Rico and his wife, Maria de Jesus Rivas Rico at their house on 111 Kearney St in December 1986.
[photo credit: Israel Rico]

In 1979 the Ricos were living at 219 Sadie St when Wheatley High School [later Brackenridge] made a run for the city championships. Israel recalls how the entire community came together to support the school as they progressed through the playoffs. That was a momentus year for the Rico family. Earlier in 1979,  nine-year old Israel, a student at Bonham Elementary, was shot by the Fiesta Sniper. Now a local artist, Israel created a Fiesta medal to mark the 40th anniversary of that horrific day. While a traumatic event (which brought him some fame at Bonham Elementary), Israel has many fond memories of his youth in Lavaca. Before he moved to Kearney St, he often went to visit his friends there, Rodrigo and Sebastian. They played ball on the street, much like Elizabeth Bloxham Courtade’s family and friends a decade before. His older sister worked at Handy Andy; they went to The Pig Stand for burgers. And even though his family moved around, he stayed with his friends at Bonham, Page Middle School and Wheatley High School. When Wheatley’s name returned to Brackenridge High School, Israel Rico was in the first graduating class.

When asked what made Lavaca special, Israel Rico described how his mom talked to a neighbor to get some medicine for a cold. “It was like that, a community. Everyone knew each other, you all talked to your neighbors. You helped each other out.”

While the house at 111 Kearney still stands, the original house at 128 Kearny is now gone. There’s a new house with a new family. But the memories of Kearney St will forever linger, as new memories will be made and new stories told. From the 1920s to the 1980s to the 2020s, Lavaca has changed a lot over the years, but one thing remains: the sense of community is strong.

And if you listen, you can hear the laughter of kids playing.

Stay tuned for more “Lavaca, Block by Block.”

3-1-1 and Mobile Phones

Did you know that not all mobile phones can be connected to 3-1-1, even when calling from within San Antonio’s geographical boundaries? I found this out the hard way when calling from my mobile phone today. All I got was a Verizon Wireless generic error message. No helpful advice about how to reach the party I was trying to call. Like many people today, my mobile phone is all I have. We no longer maintain a landline in our home.

So, what to do? How to reach this very useful city resource line? Well, I went online to find out. Fortunately, there is an old-fashioned ten-digit phone number behind the 3-1-1 service: 210-207-6000.

It’s now programmed into my phone.