Bexar County, the San Antonio River Authority, and the City of San Antonio are embarking on an ambitious new plan to reimagine San Pedro Creek, the spot from where the 300-year-old city was born.
With the San Pedro Creek Culture Park project, the partners aren't just restoring the area's natural environment on the western edge of downtown, they're giving it some flair. Among the planned projects, already clocking in at over $200 million, are a linear park adorned with art, architectural designs, and engineering that preserves the local ecosystem. Officials also hope an urban park will improve and inspire economic revitalization in the area.
Despite its important place in San Antonio history, San Pedro Creek had deteriorated into a glorified ditch. In 2013, the Bexar County Commissioners Court allocated $125 million to the project after a feasibility study it commissioned was completed.
"Under this design, the birthplace of San Antonio is receiving the respect and the veneration that it has not received in our city’s modern development," then-Precinct 2 Commissioner Paul Elizondo said later in a release.
Officials then announced four phrases to the project, and construction began in 2016.
North Santa Rosa Street to Houston Street— Phase 1
The first segment, running from North Santa Rosa Street to Houston Street, is now complete and open to the public. Among the improvements made were to Plaza de Fundación, or Foundation Plaza, which commemorates the 1718 founding of the Mission San Antonio de Valero, and the Presidio San Antonio de Béjar, the namesake of San Antonio, Bexar County, and other South Texas cities. Visitors can also enjoy the Rain from the Heavens installation, other art pieces, and standout tile work.
Next to it, from Houston Street to Nueva Street, segment 2 is currently under construction. Three attractions here are promised: a performance plaza, green space for park visitors, and a five-piece mural behind the Spanish Governors' Palace. Construction is slated for completion in early 2021.
Currently in the planning stage is segment 3, which stretches from Nueva to Cesar Chavez streets. "Still in design-mode, phase 1.3 will primarily focus on infrastructure updates," the project's site states. "The design of this phase will complement the new federal courthouse, also in development."
Guadalupe Street to Alamo Street — Phase 2
From Guadalupe to Alamo streets, this phase, also in the planning stage, focuses on flood control. "A major aspect of the park is to remove part of the creek banks from the floodplain and improve safety for San Antonians for generations," says the site. "Phase 2 will mainly incorporate flood control improvement."
On June 18, Bexar County commissioners approved spending approximately $86 million to complete segment three of Phase 1 and all of Phase 2, adding to the more than $130 million previously allocated for the first two segments of Phase 1, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The creek along Alamo Street and more — Phases 3 and 4
The final phases of the project are still a work in progress. The third segment focuses on the creek along Alamo Street, while the fourth and final phase adds updates to the historic area from Cesar Chavez to Guadalupe streets.
"Still in development, the last two phases will be a beautiful extension of the previous two and add to the culture, nature, and art of this unique park," the site says.
When it's all said and done, the park will stretch 2.2 miles, giving residents and visitors alike a fitting tribute to the birthplace of San Antonio.