The view of The Lone Star Brewery from a Mission Reach path. Photo by Scott Ball.
The view of The Lone Star Brewery from a Mission Reach path. Photo by Scott Ball.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will reimburse $874,826.44 to the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) for the Mission Reach Project, the first payment toward USACE’s $61.3 million  portion of the $271.4 million project.

SARA will turn around and give the funds back to Bexar County, the project’s primary funder.

U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro, (D-District 20), announced the reimbursement on Friday. The federal government authorized the River Authority as the project manager in 2009 and allowed SARA to conduct advanced federal work using Bexar County funds, under the condition that Bexar County would be eligible for federal reimbursements. USACE confirmed the reimbursements in 2012.

The River Authority, acting as a sponsor, used local funds to advance the project in an efficient and cost-effective manner, saving USACE an estimated $25 million.

“After years of pushing for this reimbursement, I’m thrilled that Bexar County has received the first portion of what it’s owed by the Army Corps of Engineers,” Rep. Castro said. “The River Authority’s work on the Mission Reach has resulted in sounder water infrastructure, greater ecological sensitivity, and improved economic outcomes for the local community. These improvements came with a hefty price tag. For Bexar County and SARA to undertake future projects that stand to benefit San Antonio’s residents and economy, the Corps must provide its full reimbursement. I’m going to continue working with the USACE and other federal officials to ensure the Country receives the entirety of what it was promised.”

Bluebonnets brighten the trail along the Mission Reach. Photo by Al Rendon/SARA.
Bluebonnets brighten the trail along the Mission Reach. Photo by Al Rendon/SARA.

The Mission Reach project restored an eight-mile stretch of the San Antonio River into a linear park that courses through San Antonio’s Historic Mission District. The project was completed in Oct. 2013.

“Thank you to Congressman Castro for working with us, SARA, and the entire Federal delegation to secure the first reimbursement from the Army Corp of Engineers,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. “We will reinvest these funds in our local rivers and creeks to continue the enhancement of our local waterways.”

Suzanne Scott, SARA’s general manager, commended the project for being on time and under budget.

“The wonderful Mission Reach project would not have been built without the funds provided by Bexar County,” Scott said. “Since completion of the project, it has been our priority to secure all the reimbursement funds due to Bexar County, and we greatly appreciate the support provided by Congressman Castro and our entire Federal delegation to hold the Corps to their agreement with SARA and Bexar County.”

*Top image: A pathway along the Mission Reach. Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....