Tobin Endowment’s Gift Completes Funding for Land Bridge at Hardberger Park

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Rialto Studio / Courtesy of The Phil Hardberger Conservancy

This rendering shows the proposed Hardberger Park land bridge.

The Tobin Endowment will contribute $1.5 million to the construction of Hardberger Park's land bridge, former Mayor Phil Hardberger announced Wednesday. The gift finishes off funding for the $23 million public-private project.

The land bridge, officially named the Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge in honor of the gift, will connect the east and west sides of the 330-acre park that straddles Wurzbach Parkway. Slated for completion in December 2019, it will be covered in natural vegetation and built with elevated paths that will allow people and animals to cross over the Parkway.

"The Tobin Endowment exists to support and enhance the quality of life in San Antonio through the arts, historic preservation, and other worth civic causes, and I can think of few projects that will have the same level of impact on our city that this land bridge will have when it's complete," stated J. Bruce Bugg Jr., chairman and trustee of the endowment, in a news release.

Funding came from several sources, including $13 million from the voter-approved 2017 municipal bond, a $1 million grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and dozens of individual, corporate, and foundation donations to the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy. The conservancy led the fundraising efforts and Hardberger, its president, and his wife, Linda, donated $1 million to the bridge.

A rendering of the planned Phil Hardberger Park Land Bridge

Courtesy / Rialto Studio

A preliminary rendering of the Phil Hardberger Park Land Bridge on the city's Northwest side.

Some critics of the land bridge, including former mayoral candidates and some sitting City Council members, argue the bond money given to the project should have gone to neighborhood parks with greater needs for repairs or other basic infrastructure projects.

There is also skepticism that the bridge will actually be used by wildlife as planned. Studies have shown that other land bridges assisted animals as they look for food, water, and mates.

Former mayor Phil Hardberger shakes hands with Tobin Endowment Chairman Bruce Bugg Jr. after announcing the success of a ten million dollar fundraising goal for the now named Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Former Mayor Phil Hardberger shakes hands with Tobin Endowment Chairman Bruce Bugg Jr. after Hardberger announced the endowment's gift.

"San Antonio citizens have long since proven that we can do anything that we set our minds to do," Hardberger stated in the release. "This is but the latest example. The bridge with its beauty and utility will now be a part of our city for future generations."

The project's design received conceptual approval from the Historic and Design Review Commission in January. It must receive final approval before construction can begin.

The City will release a request for proposals for the construction of the bridge on Monday, March 12.

6 thoughts on “Tobin Endowment’s Gift Completes Funding for Land Bridge at Hardberger Park

  1. How ludicrous to say the animals won’t use it! They walk into neighbors searching for food. Of course, they’ll use it! I can’t wait!!!

  2. …but the voters approved it!…….It’s ridiculous that this project was pork barreled into the parks bond and streets and maintenance bond.

    They say the voters approved it….so if you want potholes fixed you basically had to vote yes for the land bridge.

  3. It’s going to be a beautiful addition to an amazing park which serves a large, appreciative constituency.

    Who was the designer?

  4. I find it a stretch that it fits the mission of the Tobin Foundation. What has Bugg done on behalf of the Tobin Foundation for nonprofits in the past few years, other than the Arts Center especially meeting with some and saying no new proposals? Who does he know that wanted this done as compared to other nonprofits and the arts needs in San Antonio?

  5. Potholes will come and potholes will go. Years from now visitors will seek out the Wurzbach Parkway to see the Tobin Land Bridge as an iconic work of art, another unique part of San Antonio. Perhaps the problem at NW Military Highway and Wurzbach Parkway will be another welcome addition to those same visitors.

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