Plans for the final, and most difficult, phase of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park are moving forward with approval from the Historic and Design Review Commission on Wednesday. 

The review panel gave a certificate of appropriateness to the San Antonio River Authority for phase four construction to begin. 

The first goal within the fourth phase of the linear park is to complete a segment of the creek from El Paso to Guadalupe streets. A subsequent project will tie El Paso Street to East César Chávez Boulevard.

The work will begin Sept. 22 and be completed by summer 2023, said Melissa Bryant, director of technical services at the San Antonio River Authority, which manages the Bexar County creeks and trails program.

Phase four is the last leg of a $300 million total effort that began in 2017 to turn 2.2 miles of a blighted creekbed into a scenic linear park in the western part of downtown San Antonio. 

Plans for phase four approved by the review panel include details for wayfinding signage, park benches, landscaping, a trailhead with parking access, pedestrian trails, site lighting, fencing, art elements and site paving. 

“That’s the portion that we’ve had the most difficulty to coordinate right away because there are so many hotel properties and a portion of it is underneath the ground,” Bryant said.

Some of those underground portions will be “daylighted,” meaning engineers will open the channel so the creek can be seen between East César Chávez Boulevard and El Paso Street, Bryant said. Other parts of the linear park will be at street level with signs directing pedestrians along existing sidewalks, expanded to 10 feet wide and with trees planted for shade. Plans include a plaza with decorative paving that overlooks the creek. 

Construction on segments one and two of the first phase of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park continue as Bexar County officials tour the linear park.
Construction on segments one and two of the first phase of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park continue as Bexar County officials tour the linear park. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

 The construction cost for phase four is an estimated $2.6 million. 

Work already has begun on phase three, which is a segment south of South Alamo Street that runs past Cevallos Street. Construction is ongoing in that segment, all the way up to the Union Pacific Railroad bridge, according to Bryant.

The first sections of phase one opened in May 2018. Despite some delays due to archaeologic discoveries, the final sections of phase one are set to be completed at the end of August. A grand opening is planned for Oct. 15. 

“We’re still coordinating and working on phase two,” Bryant said. “Right now, we’re waiting on some permit approvals from Union Pacific Railroad for the bridge that we are upgrading there.”

Construction on the segment of phase three south of the railroad tracks will be funded as part of the Westside Creeks Restoration Project, and won’t start for another year or two, she said. 

When all phases of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park are completed, the river authority will turn its attention to an Army Corps of Engineers project to complete trails from San Pedro Creek where it joins with Alazan and Apache creeks, to the San Antonio River.

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.