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San Antonio Adds 'Sky Walk' To The Land Bridge At Hardberger Park

Jack Morgan
Phil Hardberger all smiles at the southwestern entrance to the Sky Walk on the Land Bridge

The Robert LB Tobin Land Bridge at Phil Hardberger Park wowed the public when it opened last December, but now its newest and final architectural attribute has been unveiled.

It all happened Monday morning at the Land Bridge’s northeast side, where camera crews and several dozen people gathered for the big event. Park namesake and former Mayor Phil Hardberger was the man of the hour.

Jack Morgan
Sky Walk disappears into the trees

“We're opening a feature of the park called the Sky Walk. The Sky Walk joins the regular pathway of the park down at the bottom and gradually ascends up through the trees ’til you get on top of the trees,” Hardberger said.

The 1,000-foot-long elevated pathway starts at forest level and slowly winds its way up to the canopy of the trees, ending where it meets the Land Bridge.

“You can have either a squirrel’s eye view or a bird's eye view as you come up through the trees,” he said.

Justin Moore Airborne Photography
Robert LB Tobin Land Bridge at center, with Sky Walk at left

Hardberger said the construction of both the Robert LB Tobin Land Bridge and the new Sky Walk continued in the public monies/private partnership mode that funded the Museum and Mission Reach revitalizations in recent years.

“The land bridge itself was $23 million. Thirteen million of that came from a bond that people did vote on,” he said. “But 10 million actually came out of the pocketbooks of people.”

As to who came up with the Sky Walk, Hardberger gives credit where it’s due.

“The Sky Walk was not my idea. I believe that it belonged to Lauren Stimson,” he said.

Reached by phone in Massachusetts, Stimson regretted not being here for the opening of the Sky Walk.

“I’m so jealous that you’ve seen it. We’ve not seen it yet because of COVID!” she said.

Stimson and her husband Steve are partners in not just marriage but in Massachusetts firm Stephen Stimson and Associates Architecture. They carefully designed the Sky Walk.

“Because it’s elevated we were able to protect the tree roots. We have a very very light touch in terms of the foundation of these point structures in the ground,” Steve said.

San Antonian Jason attended the opening Monday morning, then walked the Sky Walk.

“It’s great. It’s the closest thing you can get to the Swiss Family Robinson out here in San Antonio. It’s kinda like a treehouse,” Jason said.

Harberger was all smiles as he led dignitaries the first time walking the Sky Walk. He said he thinks both the Land Bridge and the Sky Walk will have an important function to people

“Nature enhances the soul and takes care of a lot of things. If you're happy, nature will make you even happier,” Hardberger said. “If it's a sad time for you, nature kind of makes you realize the world does go on and you, too, will go on. So it's pretty much good for what ails you.”

Jack Morgan
Former Mayor Hardberger cuts the "ribbon" to open the Sky Walk

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii