Monday,
April 21

 
CULTURE

A bridge to Brackenridge's future


The Dionicio Rodriguez faux bois bridge in Brackenridge. Image by Larry D. Moore, used under a Creative Commons ShareAlike License.The Dionicio Rodriguez faux bois bridge in Brackenridge. Image by Larry D. Moore, used under a Creative Commons ShareAlike License.Brackenridge Park remains a very popular destination, but it’s a shadow of its former self in many ways. Nestled just north of the Pearl and at the top of the remade river, it's filled with more critical potential than ever before. Time is of the essence.

San Diego has Balboa Park. Atlanta has Piedmont Park. Boston has The Commons. Chicago has Lincoln Park. In Nashville it is Centennial Park; in Denver it is Washington Park; and it's Forest Park in Portland. New York, of course, has Central Park. There are so many examples of successful signature urban parks in the U.S.

Does San Antonio have a great, signature park? To some San Antonians all eyes appear to be on HemisFair Park and the grand plans afoot for its 21st-century makeover. The emerging plans for Hemisfair are ambitious and exciting, and I have no doubt that between powerful leadership, bond funding, planned Convention Center activity, the Decade of Downtown, and important private interests at the table, HemisFair will succeed. Yet it still won’t be the most important park in San Antonio.

Without a doubt, San Antonio’s signature urban park is Brackenridge. And we should be focusing great attention on it. Urgently. Now.

Some people I spoke to in preparing for this column have suggested to me that San Antonio can only tackle one major park remake at a time, and that right now that park is HemisFair. Such thinking is selling San Antonio and our overall capacity, economic strength and cultural vitality short.


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