How and why did this park come to be?
Here’s the story:
When the first Spanish explorers arrived and beheld San Pedro Creek centuries ago, they were struck by its abundance of natural resources and beauty. They immediately realized that this place had the potential to support not merely a tiny settlement, but a lovely and graceful city. As we all know now, that potential was fulfilled.
As the centuries passed, however, and while the urban environment and the population expanded, weather cycles brought both calamitous floods and devastating droughts.
These led to loss of life and property, killed vegetation, and caused wildlife to relocate. And so, beginning in the early 1900s, in an effort to alleviate repeating and devastating flooding, construction was done on the channel to straighten and widen it. Banks were sloped and vegetation was removed. Though efforts to tame the creek generally succeeded, they resulted in two unfortunate things. One of them was the loss of natural habitat. The other was loss as the historically significant relationship between residents of the adjoining neighborhoods and the creek. Something had to be done. But what?
What it turned out to be was a visionary approach: To take these problems and come up with a solution that was beautiful.
Practical. And yes—purposeful.
It came about because of an alliance between Bexar County, San Antonio River Authority, and the City of San Antonio. Because they are working together, San Pedro Creek is being returned to a more natural state—while maintaining flood control. This project provides improved water quality, increased biological diversity, and a renewed sense of the importance of urban communities and neighborhoods. Interestingly, the original 1900s vintage walls built to contain the flow of the creek are historic themselves, and have been incorporated into the creek design as a reminder of a city’s ever evolving interaction with nature.