San Pedro Creek Feasibility Study, designed by Muñoz & Co. Courtesy image.
San Pedro Creek Feasibility Study, designed by Muñoz & Co. Courtesy image.

Bexar County and the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) hope to make the city greener by improving San Pedro Creek, a stretch of the creek that runs parallel to I-35 through downtown.

The two organizations leading the project will hold a public meeting on Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon at St. Henry’s Catholic Church Hall to gather public input about the project.

The San Pedro Creek Improvements Project hopes to mitigate flood risk, revitalize natural habitat, improve water quality, enhance surrounding culture, and transform a once vacant space into a linear urban park. The creek is one of four that feeds into the San Antonio River.

The project was first approved in May of 2013 after a preliminary engineering report submitted to the Bexar County Commissioners Court resulted in a $125-million commitment to the project. Additional funds will be needed to complete the $175 million project.

Michael Guarino of Ford Powell & Carson Architects (right) takes notes during the San Pedro Park public workshop. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
Michael Guarino of Ford Powell & Carson Architects (right) takes notes during the San Pedro Park public workshop. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Jerry Geyer is a co-chair for the San Pedro Creek Improvement Subcommittee. He explained that funding for the project was awarded because the project is first and foremost a flood control measure.

“Flooding has been a battle since the Spanish settled here in 1718 — nature usually wins,” he said.

The committee was formed to make the San Pedro Creek more than a drainage ditch and hopes to unite neighborhoods through renovation. Geyer noted that, due to environmental constraints, cyclists will not have a continuous path along the creek and will have to cross city streets when biking.

Revitalization is estimated for completion by March 2016 with at least 40% of revitalization projected for February 2015.

The last workshop was held Aug. 23 with an estimated 93 citizens registering their concerns and comments. Additionally, County Judge Nelson Wolff, County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, and other representatives from Bexar County were present.

Participants were able to visit six different stations to learn about the six different reconstruction components, or what the project is calling character areas. These character areas were designated based on the diverse landscape and ecology of the creek.

Common activities desired for the various areas include water and restrooms, seating, historic preservation, recreational sporting areas, green space, and even retail development.

The workshop also allowed participants to voice concerns, which included anything from parking to security to rising property values.

More than 100 people are expected to attend the Dec. 6 workshop. Designers and engineers for the project will be present to receive feedback from invested citizens. SARA staff hopes that the workshop will help the public understand that its ideas are being heard while continuing to gather more input.

“Through this public workshop, the community can have its input and suggestions heard and integrated by the design team,” said SARA General Manager Suzanne Scott via email.

The design team will begin the workshop by presenting a compilation of previously gathered ideas, Scott said. More refined designs that include an artistic theme will also be presented, featuring a “bold and visible design for the tunnel inlet.” 

“(San Pedro Creek) will attract visitors, but it’s really being designed for those of us who live, work, and play in our community,” Geyer said.

*Featured/top image: San Pedro Creek Feasibility Study, designed by Muñoz & Co. Courtesy image.

Related stories:

Share the River: 5 New Rules to Make the San Antonio River Safe and Fun For All

Rio Grande: River That Never Runs Free

San Pedro Creek: San Antonio’s Next Linear Park

Call for Artists: SARA’s Inaugural River Arts Fest

For The San Pedro Playhouse, The Show Must Go On

Sarah Gibbens

Sarah Gibbens is a student at UTSA studying English and Political Science and the editor-in-chief for The Paisano student newspaper.