Working class families who use Brackenridge Park to enjoy barbecues and picnics on holidays and weekends will get a chance Monday afternoon to provide feedback on a proposal that could forever change the landscape of the park and the way it's used.
City Councilman Roberto Treviño says that after receiving community complaints that the development of a new master for Brackenridge Park didn't include these key stakeholders, a Neighborhoods and Livability Committee meeting that will consider the proposal was rescheduled from 2 p.m. next Monday to 6 p.m. You know, so everyday working people can attend.
The City of San Antonio spent $250,000 on creating a proposal to massively overhaul the park by closing roads, building parking garages, creating a grand entrance, trying to make the area more "pedestrian friendly," renovating the Sunken Garden, better interpreting historic buildings and Spanish waterworks and reverting the San Antonio River and Catalpa-Pershing channels back to more natural states.
But community advocates who have criticized the proposal, like Gianna Rendon of the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, say community members were never asked to provide any input. "What we're hearing is a concern that they weren't asked to be part of the conversation," Rendon said of working class families that use the park. The City initially only scheduled two public meetings on the proposal, but after complaints, it scheduled six more public hearings during July.
Plans for the park include closing the many entrances to it and replacing the park's porous nature with one grand entrance. The problem with that, opponents say, is that parking at one of the proposed garages could cost money. And on top of that, removing individual parking throughout the park will radically change the nature of the place, where families on weekend regularly bring coolers and grills and kids to barbecue out underneath the canopy of trees. Instead, according to the current proposal for the park, there would be centralized parking and a tram system that would shuttle people around to different areas of the park.
As of yet, however, the proposal is in its infancy. There is no funding source and nothing is set in stone. After the proposal satisfies members of the Neighborhood and Livability Committee it would head to a City Council B session for further vetting before making its way to a full City Council session for approval. For those interested in attending Monday's meeting, the City Council B room is located at 100 Military Plaza across from City Hall by the San Fernando Cathedral.