An untouched swath of land in the far-Northwest Maverick Creek neighborhood is slated to become a wheelchair-accessible park for children of all abilities, and local leaders want to call it Dan Markson Park, after the late affordable housing developer.
Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) initiated the process to name the 14-acre park on Monday. Property owners within 200 feet of the park will receive a notification about the new name that will include information about a public hearing. A committee will form to review and make a recommendation.
Pelaez said he worked closely with Markson, a former executive vice president of development for NRP Group who passed away suddenly in May, and considered him a close friend. He wants to name the park after Markson because of all the contributions he made to the city, Pelaez said.
“He considered his job not to just build out nice livable spaces, but to really focus on quality of life,” Pelaez said. “Dan always said that it was just as important to have play areas and places where communities can come together.”
The park will be located adjacent to the Maverick Creek Neighborhood at Jetlyn Drive and West Hausman Road near The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Maverick Creek Homeowners Association President Gil Garza and his wife, Kat, came up with the vision for the park 12 years ago, he said, crediting his wife with most of it. She is a special education teacher.
The park will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and its wheelchair-accessible playground equipment will allow children with special needs to play there.
“It’s going to have all kinds of places where children with special needs and their families can come and feel welcome,” said Garza, who has a daughter with special needs. “Moms and dads will feel confident that the equipment was built to accommodate their kid and that their kids are in a safe place.”
Changing stations for larger children and adults will also be available at the park, Pelaez said.
Several years ago, Garza received a phone call from the developers of the Maverick Creek neighborhood, he said. “They said congratulations, the [homeowners association] is now the proud owner of 14 acres of land.”
The land is located in an un-developable flood plain and largely forgotten by the developers.
It was a surprise to everyone, he said. “The paperwork for this property was sitting in a file cabinet of the developer’s office … I guess they realized that they owned this land and were paying taxes on it and they quickly deeded the land over to the [homeowners association].”
Dan Markson Park, which is a working title until approved by Council, will be the first public wheelchair-accessible park in San Antonio. It is funded through the voter-approved 2017 municipal bond and greenway sales tax as it is near the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System. A contract to build the park is expected to be awarded later this summer.
Those who knew Markson, who was active in the local Jewish community, said much of his work expanded the inclusiveness of housing and community spaces. Debra Guerrero, vice president of development at the NRP Group who worked with Markson for more than 20 years, said that this park is in line with the goals of his past work.
“Its an opportunity to celebrate Dan’s legacy [while] bringing families together in a positive atmosphere,” Guerrero said.