A specator holds up her Cruz Ortiz poster while wearing the screen printed shirt. Photo by Scott Ball.

After gathering community feedback regarding the future plans for city’s newly-designated World Heritage sites – the city’s five Spanish missions – the City of San Antonio and its partners will provide an update on the World Heritage Work Plan during an open house on Tuesday, April 5 from 6-8 p.m.

The open house will be held at the National Park Service Visitor Center, adjacent to Mission San José, at 6701 San José Drive. Free parking is available in the Visitor Center parking lot.

“Essentially, this (meeting) is going to be an opportunity for the community to get a summary and tangible information that resulted from our previous symposia and see what the next steps are in the work plan,” said Laura Calo, director of communications for Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3).

Viagran, along with other City staff including City Manager Sheryl Sculley, Assistant City Manager Lori Houston, Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), and Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5), will be in attendance, as well as representatives from the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and the National Park Service (NPS).

Since the historic Missions received UNESCO World Heritage designation last July, a series of three World Heritage symposia were held to spark discussion and gather community input on several areas of the work plan, including infrastructure, way finding, transportation, tourism, and cultural/historical preservation of the missions.

Land use and development around the missions were perhaps the most hotly-debated issues in the symposia, with the response overwhelmingly in favor of limited development and increased green space surrounding the sites, despite the multi-family housing proposal in front of Mission San José by 210 Development Group.

The World Heritage open house will display the feedback from the symposia in a series of tables, or “stations,” that will be set up around the visitor center, said the World Heritage Director Colleen Swain, to allow for more effective and straight-forward feedback from attendees regarding specific aspects of the work plan.

Attendees will have an opportunity to visit the stations before and after a brief introduction and update by City staff and Swain.

Stations on signage recommendations, tourism, land use and development, and transportation, among several other things, will be available with representatives specific to each topic on hand to provide information and clarification, if needed. Los Compadres, the Tricentennial Commission, and SA Tomorrow are just a few of the partners who will be present with a station at the open house.

VIA Metropolitan Transit representatives will also be there to discuss the new bus branch that will service all five of the missions come June.

(Read more: VIA Board Approves Downtown Route Changes for June)

“I’ll have a table, too, and will collect email addresses and any comments that people want to share with me. Maybe there’s something that doesn’t fit in one of the categories that someone wants to address,” Swain said. This will be her first official World Heritage meeting as director.

The Office of Historic Preservation will show a video portraying various residents’ stories about the missions that were collected over the past three symposia, and will also provide the opportunity for attendees to record their stories at the open house.

“We’re not going to be talking at people. Instead we’re really going to try to get (attendees) to interact with what we’ve resulted from the symposia, and give them information on what the next steps are that are going to take place in the work plan,” Calo said.

For more information on the World Heritage sites, click here.


*Top image: A specator holds up her World Heritage Cruz Ortiz poster while wearing the screen printed shirt. Photo by Scott Ball. 

Related Stories:

Swain Chosen as World Heritage Director

World Heritage Symposium Addresses Land Use Around Missions

World Heritage Symposium Highlights Need for Strategic Development, Storytelling

City Convenes First World Heritage Symposium

Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the San Antonio Report as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is camillenicgarcia@gmail.com