A rendering of CoCobijos, an art installation to be located on the Mission Reach near Mission County Park Pavilions. Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio River Foundation

Visitors walking, jogging, or biking along the Mission Reach will soon notice a large piece of public art near the Mission County Park pavilions.

Rendering of the new arat installation, CoCobijos on the expanded plot of land managed by the San Antonio River Foundation.
Rendering of the new art installation, CoCobijos, on the expanded plot of land managed by the San Antonio River Foundation. Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio River Foundation

Bexar County Commissioners approved a measure Tuesday allowing a public art piece resembling large cactus leaves to be installed at the Mission County Park pavilions. The agreement expands the existing portal of land managed by the San Antonio River Foundation, near Mission San José to include the area where the public art – called CoCobijos, or two shelters – will be placed.

The installation, which will be located at the intersection of the San Antonio River and VFW Boulevard, was designed by visual artist and Houston-native Mel Chin, who Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4) said is one of the top public artists in the world.

The piece will sit on a portion of land cut to duplicate the design of colored tiles found on Mission San José’s original façade.

“(Chin) chose a representation of cactus, which is native to this area and which grows on roofs at Mission San José,” Bexar County Heritage & Parks Department Director Betty Bueché told commissioners, “and he made it large enough, showing the vein structure of the cactus leaf, so that it can become a very large pavilion area.”

Private funding is covering the cost of the installation, which officials anticipate being completed by spring 2017.

The River Foundation is also overseeing the Southside’s Confluence Park project, which broke ground in May. The park and water catchment system on the Mission Reach will provide educational and recreational opportunities to the community once construction is completed in 2017.

Meanwhile, the County also approved amendments to a contract agreement with the San Antonio River Authority for the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project Tuesday that redirects approximately $32 million of the County funds for the project’s construction costs, such as underground utility and site work to expand the river channel, said River Authority Watershed Engineer Kerry Averyt.

The funds come from the County’s initial financial commitment of $125 million for the effort that will transform about 2.2 miles of San Pedro Creek into a linear park with art and other cultural amenities. The project broke ground in September with an opera.

The character of San Pedro Creek portrayed in Las Fundaciones de Béjar. Photo by Scott Ball.
The character of San Pedro Creek portrayed in Las Fundaciones de Béjar sings during the beginning of the opera. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard report

Under the contract agreement, the County will also allot $2.8 million in Advanced Transportation District funds and another $5 million in federal reimbursements for the Mission Reach project to address the San Pedro Creek project’s $7.7 million funding gap brought on by design changes and other factors.

Construction on Phase 1 of the project, which will connect the creek’s inlet near Fox Tech High School to Dolorosa Street, is set to begin in January 2017 and is anticipated to be completed by the city’s Tricentennial in May 2018.

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Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the San Antonio Report as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is camillenicgarcia@gmail.com