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San Antonio officials postpone plans to remove trees in Brackenridge Park

Water Works Pump House No. 1 at Brackenridge Park
Charlotte Mitchell
Trees crowd the Water Works Pump House No. 1 at Brackenridge Park

The City of San Antonio will postpone consideration of a plan to remove trees at Brackenridge Park.

The Historic and Design Review Commission had scheduled a special meeting on the issue for Friday morning, which will now not take place.

City Manager Erik Walsh made the announcement on Tuesday after some public outcry.

He said the pause will allow the city and its consultants to complete the design work for the 2017 Bond Project. It will also allow the city to work with the Texas Historical Commission and reengage a committee of Brackenridge Park stakeholders to ensure that historic structures in the park are adequately protected and the removal of heritage trees is minimized.

“No one wants to remove heritage trees, especially from a historic City park, but if the removal ultimately remains necessary to protect the public and historic structures at Brackenridge, I want the community to understand the full context of the project,” Walsh said in a press release. “So I have directed staff to pause consideration by the HDRC, which has dominated the conversation and distracted from the broader benefits of the restoration work, while we complete the design and work with our partners and stakeholders.”

The Lambert Beach project area will be fenced off to restrict public access due to degrading conditions in this area of the park, which includes the historic river walls.

In 2017, voters approved $7.75 million for improvements to Brackenridge Park, including the historic river walls and structures. The project will be completed in two phases and specifically includes:

  • Restoration of 1920s river walls on Lambert Beach 
  • Rehabilitation of the historic acequia and 1776 Upper Labor Diversion Dam
  • Stabilization of the 1870s Pumphouse and Waterworks channel 

The 2017 Bond Project is subject to review by the Texas Historical Commission and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for environmental impacts including impacts to designated cultural resources because of its listing in the National Register of Historic Places, according to a city news release.

The project team will seek HDRC approval this spring or summer for the final design of Lambert Beach and conceptual design of a pumphouse built in 1877.

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