It takes less than 500 steps to walk the length of a new recreation trail set to officially open at Brooks. But the connections it creates are long in both miles and significance.
The quarter-mile trail extension, more than five years in the making, links the Greenline, a 43-acre linear park and trail at the former Air Force base, to the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk.
The extension provides Brooks residents, visitors, and workers direct access from the Greenline, open since 2018, to the 30-mile hike-and-bike path that runs from Brackenridge Park to Mission Park. For Daniel and Blanca Martinez, founders of the Brooks City Running Club, the new trail expands the “ground cover,” Daniel said, that he and others can use for their weekly runs.
In addition to the easy access, the extension adds to the overall length of the Greenline, expanding the distance for coordinated running events.
“Connectivity is important … in multiple forms — that’s what we’re striving to do,” said Leo Gomez, CEO of Brooks.
“Whether it’s roads, whether it’s trails or other kinds of multimodal path systems, it’s important that we be connected, that Brooks not be an island unto itself, and the areas around Brooks not be separated from Brooks,” he said. “And that we’re all part of San Antonio.”
The Greenline is a source of recreation on the 1,300-acre mixed-use campus on San Antonio’s Southeast Side where both the number of jobs and housing units are expected to nearly double in the next couple of years, Gomez said.
The 1,200-foot extension starts at the Greenline’s easternmost point at Corpus Christi Road and continues west, crossing the acequia then passing through a box culvert at South Presa Street. It continues with a 43-foot-long tunnel under Union Pacific railroad tracks before connecting to the Mission Reach trail.
Construction on the 10-foot-wide connector trail began almost a year ago after Bexar County commissioners approved $1.5 million in funding for the project in 2017. The effort to cross both a road and railroad tracks caused some delays, and the project took “longer than I had hoped,” Gomez said.
The San Antonio River Authority managed design, permitting, and construction for the extension trail, which was completed by RCO Construction. The project also included stormwater drainage improvements, including two box culverts.
Funds to build The Greenline came from $7.6 million in revenue bonds issued by the Brooks Development Authority and another $3 million from the City of San Antonio’s capital budget, of which more than $2 million was slated for a water quality project.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for Wednesday was postponed, but the extension is open.
“It really truly is a celebration,” Gomez said. “It makes no sense for an asset as major as the San Antonio River and Brooks and the community that’s being developed to be less than a quarter of a mile away from each other and not be connected to each other.”
This article has been updated with a scheduled ribbon-cutting ceremony being postponed.