Courtesy rendering of Hemisfair Park's vision.
Courtesy rendering of Hemisfair Park's vision.

If it’s true that great cities have great downtowns, and great downtowns have great parks, then it’s also true that great parks have great conservancies. Hemisfair Park takes a big step forward in its long-term redevelopment Monday evening with the formal launch of the Hemisfair Conservancy.

hemisfair conservancy logo

Some of the greatest urban parks in the United States, including Central Park and The High Line park in New York and Grant Park in Chicago, owe their revitalization and maintenance as great public spaces to the respective conservancies that have provided the support necessary to bridge the gap in public funding and park management and planning.

The Brackenridge Park Conservancy, led by executive director Leilah Powell, was established to provide such support for Brackenridge Park in San Antonio in 2011.

“The international benchmarks clearly indicate that the city alone can’t create a great public space,” said Anne Krause, the newly appointed executive director of the Hemisfair Conservancy. “We need private and philanthropic support to go from good to great. There will be fundraising benchmarks as we move through each development phase of Hemisfair.”

Play Escape rendering courtesy of HPARC.
“Play Escape” (working title) rendering courtesy of HPARC.

Krause said the kickoff audience includes  “a very special leadership group from our community that will gather tonight, people who have demonstrated through their choices over the years that they are huge agents for transformation in San Antonio.

“We’re not asking for any money tonight,” she added. The Conservancy has filed papers to win non-profit status, will soon a lunch its own website independent of the Hemisfair Area Redevelopment Corporation, and will begin welcoming members and collecting donations. Individuals and businesses that wish to join at the outset can send a check to the Hemisfair Conservancy, 422 S. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX, 78205.

The Hemisfair Conservancy mission statement:

To serve as a powerful conduit of philanthropy to elevate San Antonio by ensuring exceptional quality and longevity of the Hemisfair public spaces and their amenities for generations.

Anne Krause, the newly appointed executive director of the Hemisfair Conservancy
Anne Krause, the newly appointed executive director of the Hemisfair Conservancy.

Krause said tonight’s program, which is being held at the Alteza Penthouse atop the Grand Hyatt Hotel, will include the unveiling of the conservancy’s logo, a talk by HPARC CEO Andrés Andujar and remarks by former Mayor Lila Cockrell, who served on City Council during HemisFair ’68 and later served as mayor of San Antonio from 1975-81, and again from 1988-89. She was the first women to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city in the post-World War II era.

Krause and her husband, Paul, are both Air Force veterans who chose to settle in his hometown after competing their military careers. She is a Class of 1990 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and locally, the former president of the Alamo Heights School Foundation. Paul flew F-16 fighter jets for 20 years and now works as a real estate developer in Texas and California.

Related Stories:

Conversation: Andrés Andujar Talks About Hemisfair Park Redevelopment

Hemisfair Park ‘Play Escape’ Design Approved

Hemisfair Park’s Working Titles and Public Meetings

Citizens Skip Spurs Tip-Off to Re-imagine Hemisfair as ‘The People’s Park’

Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard is co-founder and columnist at the San Antonio Report.