H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt will pledge $1 million of his personal wealth to the redevelopment of the Eastside’s Lincoln Park during a special community celebration Wednesday.

The donation will double the $1 million allocated to the park in the proposed May 2017 bond program, should it pass.

“The park is going to be an amenity that will bring more people into the community,” Councilman Alan Warrick (D2) told the Rivard Report. The park will also “offer quality services to the people that are already in the community, that have lived on the Eastside for a number of years.”

Likening the upgrades to a “Yanaguana (Garden) or Pearsall Park type of experience,” Warrick said the park could include playground equipment, splash pads, and baseball fields as well as improved lighting and walkways to connect the surrounding community.

Basketball courts at Lincoln Park.
Basketball courts at Lincoln Park. Credit: Courtesy of City of San Antonio

Significant community input, however, will inform the park’s actual renovation plans. Opportunities to contribute will be announced at the event Wednesday, where Warrick will join Mayor Ivy Taylor, Judge Nelson Wolff, and Suzanne Wade, president of H-E-B San Antonio’s Food and Drug Division, to present the donation. Art illustrations from local students depicting their “dream park” will also be on display.

“There’s going to be some initial design work, but for the most part we’re going to take feedback from the neighborhood associations, the people who live around the park, the general Eastside residents that may use the park in the future, and any current users of the park,” Warrick said.

The City will aim to complete improvements by the summer of 2018, in time for its 300th anniversary.

Located in Jefferson Heights just a few blocks southwest of the AT&T Center, Lincoln Park currently includes a variety of athletic fields, basketball courts, a swimming pool, picnic areas, and a playground. The Lincoln Community Center in the park also provides a gym, game room, and weight room to the public.

According to H-E-B spokesperson Dya Campos, Butt’s choice to contribute to Lincoln Park rested significantly on its potential to connect and enhance the nearby community.

“We worked closely with the City to determine parks that are in the most need and surrounding neighborhoods that could really benefit from a revitalized park,” Campos told the Rivard Report. “We’re not talking about basic renovations. This will be a significant change.”

The celebration will take place Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Lincoln Park, located at 2915 E. Commerce St. and is open to the public.

Daniel Kleifgen graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., he came to San Antonio in 2013 as a Teach For America corps member.