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Arts & Culture

San Pedro Creek Project Resumes After Delays Due To Historical Findings

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Provided by the San Antonio River Authority
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Artist rendering of a portion of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park project, which is estimated to be completed by April 2023.

The San Antonio River Authority told Bexar County Commissioners this week that work has resumed on the San Pedro Creek Culture Park after delays caused by the discovery of a couple of historical sites.

Work should really intensify by this fall, SARA said.

The $180 million project — which extends along the creek through the West Side of downtown — was paused after the foundations of a post-Civil War-era African Methodist Episcopal church and separate soap works were discovered before the pandemic. Both are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed work away from the site on Camaron Street to resume. Creek project manager Christine Clayton told commissioners the Corps also approved a scaled down option for a nearby gathering area.

"This option preserves the majority of the eligible foundations, provides an additional space to the north for events and gathering," she said.

The foundations were found under what would have been a larger gathering area. County Commissioner Tommy Calvert encouraged SARA to consider a sculpture by a Black artist to help mark the church site along with other interpretive signage.

Commissioners this week also approved the artist to create five murals in the San Pedro Creek Culture Park, near the Spanish Governor's Palace.

The five murals, covering 1,600 square feet, will tell the 300-year-old history of the county and the creek.

The public art curator for the San Antonio River Authority project, Carrie Brown, said the design team of Kathy and Lionel Sosa were chosen to create five murals to tell an accurate and diverse history.

Brown said several ethnic groups will be represented in the murals at a cost of $400,000 or just below.

"Their vision for their proposal uses a tree of life concept to visually tell the story," Brown said.

Work on the tiled murals begins this fall and may be completed by March 2022.

It's part of a larger 2-mile revitalization project through the West Side of downtown from I-35 and Santa Rosa on the north end to the confluence of the Alazan and Apache Creeks on the south end.

The project, which includes improved flood control, art, walkways and water features, may be completed by April 2023.

It has already spurred construction of new residential and office buildings. Work continues on a new UTSA cybersecurity school on the creek side at Dolorosa.

A new federal courthouse on the creek at Nueva is expected to open at the end of the year, according to County Judge Nelson Wolff.

It will be connected to the creek with landscaping.

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