We’ve been looking at the San Pedro Creek Project from north to south, and now we’re down to its last section, called Campo Abajo, or the Lower Field. This stretch goes from Guadalupe Street to South Alamo.
"There’s already economic development happening," said San Antonio River Authority’s Suzanne Scott about the area. "The new Kipp Academy is going to be located in this stretch and we’ve already been in conversations with them about having educational opportunities for the kids."
The creek's re-development will soon give them great places to teach science right out their back door. The area already contains art studios, lofts, and condominiums created out of re-worked former light industrial properties. Chris Park in the area is contiguous with Campo Abajo, and then IH-35 lurks menacingly at the project’s end.
“This is a great opportunity to see how that underneath of that bridge, which is very unattractive today, can become a gateway from the West Side into this project," Scott said. "In the future it could be a great place for people to gather.”
San Pedro Creek continues on, joining the San Antonio River just south of IH-10 by Probandt Street. To complete this project Bexar County has set aside $125 million, which is estimated to cost $175 million to finish. The county is bargaining on private/public partnerships to close that money gap. They’re also hoping that some landowners will donate right of way by San Pedro Creek to realize benefits in coming years.
"The property owner would feel as though they’re making a contribution to the project but still not losing anything in the value of their property, or the development potential for their property," Scott said.
As to timeline for the project, the next big mile marker is what they call a 40% design submittal, which is projected for next February. Scott explained what that means.
“We’ll have all the right of way lines determined. We’ll have an updated cost estimate for the project," she said. "We’ll have the designs more defined than they were in the concept designs.”
From May to December next year all the final details will be worked out, and then Scott explained the second big mile marker.
"We will have the final design by December, 2015. That means construction documents ready to go for bid at the beginning of May 2016, and we’re hoping that we would begin Construction in May of 2016 and that would continue until April of 2018," she said.
The next period is one of intense construction, with completion in the spring two years later.
"The desire is to have all or portions of the project open by the 300th anniversary of the city of San Antonio in May of 2018," said Scott.
There is a build-it-and-they-will-come aspect to the San Pedro Creek Project. But Scott said the optimism isn't without precedent.
"The good thing that we have working in our favor is that people have recent examples of the transformation of the river on the Museum Reach and on the Mission Reach," she said. "So the idea to dream and to believe that a vision can actually become reality. People have seen it happen already because of the investment of the city and the county have already made in other waterways."
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Paul Elizondo shares the optimism.
"We started the project, we’re in design and now we’re working to get the additional money. And it’s going to happen," Elizondo said.
Only time will tell how this latest round of self re-invention will be received. We’ll keep you informed.
- For more on the project: spcproject.com
Watch a drone flyover of San Pedro Creek: