Just below the flood intake structure on the San Pedro Creek, a bird goes fishing. In two years, a beautiful plaza will celebrate the San Antonio Tricentennial. Photo by Don Mathis.

Bexar County Commissioners added on to its $125 million commitment to the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project last week and approved another $7.8 million to go toward the transformative project that broke ground last month.

A number of factors, including design changes envisioned by project planners and stakeholders, created a funding gap of about $7.7 million, officials said. To cover the cost, the County agreed to allot $2.8 million in Advanced Transportation District funds and another $5 million from the federal reimbursements it received for the Mission Reach project.

The County also authorized directing $30 million of its already pledged $125 million to Sundt/Davila Joint Venture to start construction and utility work. The San Antonio River Authority (SARA), which is managing the project, is finalizing Construction Manager at Risk contract negotiations with the firm, River Authority General Manager Suzanne Scott told the Rivard Report Friday.

“In principle we’ve got pretty much everything negotiated,” she said.

The $175 million San Pedro Creek project has been on a fast-tracked schedule for the past few months in order for the first portion of the creek – from its inlet near Fox Tech High School to Dolorosa Street – to be completed by the city’s Tricentennial celebration in May 2018. The River Authority has already been working with CPS Energy, SAWS, and several cable and internet providers to expedite utility relocation near the creek and is anticipating a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction permit by Dec. 23.

“This is a very complicated project with a lot of moving parts,” Scott said, “but everybody is still moving forward.”

Up until this point, project officials have already used $24 million of the County’s original $125 million for pre-construction costs and designs. The $175 projected cost is for all four phases of the project, Scott said, and takes into account $4.5 million in savings through value engineering and mitigation strategies and another $3.5 million in contingency, in case of unexpected challenges.

The main focus at this point, Scott said, is on Phases 1 and 2 of the effort, which can continue to evolve with the secured funding mechanisms provided by the County. Project planners also are relying on $19.5 million of the City’s 2017 municipal bond allocations for the project and the County already awarded bids in anticipation of those funds coming through. If, for whatever reason, the bond election is not approved by voters in May 2017, the County will have to cover that cost, too.

Over the next few years, the creek will evolve into a linear park, home to both permanent and rotating public art pieces and other cultural landmarks.

Construction on the creek is set to begin in January 2017.

Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia

Camille, a San Antonio native, formerly worked at the Rivard Report as assistant editor and reporter. She is a freelance writer based in Austin, where she is getting her master's in Latin American Studies...