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Arts & Culture

Despite COVID-19 Pandemic, Progress On San Pedro Creek Project Still Flowing

Waterfall.jpg
San Pedro Creek Cultural Park project
An artist's rendition of 'The Stream' interactive art piece.

Work continues on key features of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park project through west downtown San Antonio, despite the pandemic, according to the September briefing of the park’s citizens advisory subcommittee.

Work has started on replacement of the Alamo Street Bridge. Traffic will be reduced two lanes in both directions on Alamo Street between South Flores Street and I-10, starting Monday, Sept. 21.

The 2.2.-mile linear park and flood control project includes landscaping, walkways, water features, murals, and sculptures, and interpretive panels.

The replacement of the Alamo Street Bridge and other bridges is part of the flood control project. The creek channel has been widened to hold more flood waters, so wider bridges had to be installed.

Completion of all four phases of the project is still years away and has been delayed in part for archaeological work around the foundation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The dig around the foundation is part of an effort to win a place for the post-Civil War church in the National Register of Historic Places.

State and federal officials had to approve of work at the site.

“We’re going to do some additional field investigations and unit digs around the foundation. We just got approval to proceed with that work, so they’re going to start getting ready to do those investigations,” said Terry Averyt, who manages the project for the San Antonio River Authority.

Averyt said the Texas Historical Commission also approved a new wall that will be erected at the Spanish Governor’s Palace. The white wall will include large mahogany doors and door hardware from the original.

Progress continued on three major art features, including one called "Stream," which syncs voice or music to multi-colored lights to illuminate a waterfall, said Carrie Brown, the SARA public art curator. The installation is next to TPR headquarters.

She said a test of the system was planned this month.

“We’ll be taking lots of photos and videos, testing out how that water is flowing over the waterfall and interacting with the lights so we’re getting the desired effect that we’re all looking for,” Brown said.

She said they were testing materials to be used in murals for a section along the creek titled “Rooted in History,” which will trace Bexar County’s 300 year old history.

Bexar County commissioners will consider approving the murals next month, she said.

Work was scheduled to be completed in December on a stainless steel sculpture titled “Creek Lines.” The sculpture will capture rainfall at its top and release it at its center to create a temporary waterfall.

The county has spent more than $180 million on the four phase project, which started in November 2016. It runs from I-35 and Santa Rosa to the north to the confluence of the Alazan and Apache Creek to the south.

Half of the project, mostly to the north, has either been completed or remained under construction. Much of the lower half remained in the planning or design phase.

The completed project was expected to bring $1.5 billion in economic growth, add $227 million in new property tax revenue and create 2,000 new housing units.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.

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