3 thoughts on “Nature Meets City as Hardberger Park’s Urban Ecology Center Opens

  1. I attended the opening of the Urban Ecology Center (“UEC”) on Saturday as a representative of one of the nonprofit environmental organizations invited to participate and exhibit. The UEC is spectacular and will no doubt increase appreciation of San Antonio’s natural environment and encourage citizens to protect all our natural resources.

    At the ceremony, Councilperson Elisa Chan was lauded for her sustained advocacy for both Hardberger Park and the new UEC. Her remarks from the podium indicated her commitment to improving San Antonio. After the ceremony, I introduced myself to Chan on behalf of my organization and referred to the pride she justifiably feels for her accomplishments with the park and the UEC. We both smiled broadly at each other. I then introduced myself as one of the “disgusting” citizens of San Antonio and a veteran, both groups whom she feels undeserving of the same protections she, her family and most of the people in the UEC that morning enjoy. Her smile vanished at that point. I told her I hope the pride she feels today will help her deal with the shame she – and probably her children – will one day feel for her actions last Thursday when she voted against the LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance and the separated out veteran nondiscrimination ordinance. I told her that was all I had to say and asked her to “now talk to me.” She mumbled something – I think about free speech – and quickly walked away.

    I then thanked Councilman Ron Nierenberg for voting for both ordinances last Thursday. Then I congratulated Mayor Hardberger for the new UEC and thanked him for all he has done for our city. He recognized me from the organization I’m involved with and I further introduced myself as one of the San Antonio citizens who Councilperson Chan finds so disgusting. With his characteristic warmth, Mayor Phil then thanked me for being so disgusting, encouraged me to keep being disgusting, and pointed out that SA’s greatness is the product of its various citizens working together.

    I returned to my organization’s exhibit table for the rest of the opening. A few minutes later Chan walked by. We made eye contact and she expressionlessly looked straight ahead and walked briskly away. I guess she’s right: I am disgusting. And it feels great.

  2. Hardberger Park is a great achievement, but it is just one of many deserving parks in San Antonio. For example, one under-utilized and neglected public park hiding behind barbed wire is the Commander’s House Park between Main and Flores Streets. The desire for a downtown grocery at any price is threatening this public space even more. While the city has made big improvements, there’s still so much to do.

  3. Very fine article! So impressed with the creative, ingenious, tasteful, environmentally friendly work of Lake Flato Architects! Generations will come to this park and enjoy the ambiance of its surroundings.

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