The Bexar County Commissioners reviewed the latest design revisions to the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project during a regular session at the Courthouse on Tuesday. The new designs are expected to celebrate the historic and contemporary significance of the area. The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by the San Antonio's Tricentennial in May 2018.
The revised design includes more greenspace, interactive water features, colorful designs and engaging stories that are expected to draw visitors and residents to the urban core. The County has committed $125 million to the project, but it may require additional funds from the City's 2017 Municipal Bond to meet the deadline for the unveiling. The entire project was originally expected to cost $175 million, but current estimates show the entire project will cost $206.8 million. Officials will meet again on Tuesday to discuss alternative ways to fund the project, and possibly make up the time spent on design revisions.
There were no Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) contract proposals seen last Friday, but the presentation of an alternative contract is a possibility for the next meeting.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said it will be "well worth it” to deliver a world-class linear park to the people of San Antonio.
Wollf was pleased with the revised design plans, and recognized the strong collaboration between local architecture firm Muñoz & Company and Grupo de Diseño Urbano, a Mexico City firm led by Principal and Landscape Architect Mario Schjetnan.
“He had a great input and made a lot of significant changes,” Wolff said of Schjetnan. “(Now) it’s got a pretty good blend between what I would call a ‘natural, ecological' piece, as well as some of the things that we needed to do where people could walk around, etc. I think we’ve hit the sweet spot, we’ve got really good buy-in to the project now.”
The general consensus among the Commissioners seemed to be that the design changes were a positive step in the project. Precinct 2 Commissioner Paul Elizondo was notably absent from the session due to an illness.
This comes after a successful presentation with the SPC Subcommittee last Friday. Read more about the presentation here: "San Pedro Creek Design Changes Praised, Pose Challenges."
San Pedro Creek is credited as a huge influence in the civic settlement in San Antonio, but infrastructure changes have reduced the once life-giving creek to an urban ditch. The project aims to return the creek to its original state, which included lush, green areas and engagement with natural water. Muñoz Principal Steven Land Tillotson explained some of the cost-cutting practices, such as removing unnecessary designs and building materials to get the project back on schedule and budget.
“Remember, this is primarily a flood control project so we have to make sure that the designs are not an impediment to the flood conveyance of the creek,” said Suzanne Scott, general manager of the San Antonio River Authority. Scott said the new design would also create opportunities to meet other project goals including: economic development, employment, cultural park and storytelling.
Wolff said he looked forward to exploring funding options for the project during the Commission's next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Top Image: The view down to Alameda Theater along San Pedro Creek. Image courtesy of San Antonio River Authority.