Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez (Pct. 2) walked along the San Pedro Creek Culture Park on Friday to see construction progress of the ongoing project. 

With construction delays due to the pandemic, and more recently, supply chain woes, segments two and three of phase one are now estimated to be completed by August, followed by a grand opening on Oct. 14, said Derek Boese, general manager of the San Antonio River Authority (SARA). 

The creek transformation project, primarily funded by Bexar County plus some federal funds, is remaking what was basically a drainage ditch in downtown San Antonio into a linear park highlighting the city’s history and culture. The first segment of phase one opened in 2018.

Boese, along with SARA engineers and construction managers guided Wolff and Rodriguez, who wore hard hats and safety vests, through the construction site toward Houston street. 

The officials saw the progress of the performance plaza, new bridges between the two segments, a five-panel ceramic tile mural, waterfall, interactive sculpture, public restrooms and direct trail access to nearby buildings. 

The most significant update comes after the discovery of an 1875 cornerstone, commemorating the St. James African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church; interpretive signs will be incorporated into the stretch to explain what once stood there, said SARA officials.

The remnants of the AME church, which are federally protected, led to a change in the culture park’s design. What was originally going to be an amphitheater in segment two will now be a plaza where the church once stood near Dolorosa street. 

Construction continues around the original walls of the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Rodriguez said he was confident the project will revitalize the west side of downtown. 

“There’s going to be an opportunity to really activate this park for performances, festivals,” said Rodriguez. “I can see this [completed] block being activated for artists and locals to enjoy.”

Water will be diverted back into San Pedro Creek in late July, according to SARA officials. Meanwhile, crews are installing brick pavers, irrigating trees and planting flower beds along Houston street; railing along the creek banks is also being installed.

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.
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez, left, looks over plans for San Pedro Creek Phase One Segments Two and Three along with County Judge Nelson Wolff, center. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Phase two, which starts near Guadalupe Street and goes to Alamo Street, and phase three, which starts south of Alamo Street, should be finished in June of 2022. Segment one of phase four is slated for completion by June of 2023. 

When construction between Houston and Cesar Chavez streets is complete, Houston, Nueva and Graham streets will re-open for traffic.

During the tour, Rodriguez expressed interest in securing American Rescue Plan Act funding for the San Antonio River Authority’s nonprofit, the San Antonio River Foundation, to establish a committee or board to discuss the culture park’s preservation projects in conjunction with the county budget, which will be adopted in September. 

For Wolff, the significance of the project is an integration of two communities. San Pedro Creek, he said, “used to be sort of the dividing line” between white and Hispanic neighborhoods — and their cultures.

“Now it’s a unifying piece,” he said. 

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Raquel Torres

Raquel Torres is the San Antonio Report's breaking news reporter. She previously worked at the Tyler Morning Telegraph and is a 2020 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University.