Riverwalk and Redevelopment

Few things excite me more than urban re-creation; inspiring redevelopment that attracts people to live, work and play in the city.  I am not a fan of town centers, parking structures or a new building or two.  I love to see a city take a negative, like a derelict elevated rail structure that was considered and eyesore, and turn it into a unique park that attracts new development and becomes the center of the new community, as New York has done with the Highline.

I have heard about the Riverwalk in San Antonio but did not expect a beautifully landscaped, widely varying, 10 mile walk/bike trail that is spurring redevelopment and getting people active.  The San Antonio River is really not much of a river, more like a stream, but planners are milking it to the maximum. Most people are probably more familiar with the Riverwalk downtown and the main tourist area, but the new extensions are where the real story is, in my view. 

San Antonio’s Riverwalk:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alaynedunn/8570941976/

North of downtown they are getting more artistic with interesting grottos, art pieces, Japanese inspired landscaping, stages in the river, and locks for water taxis.  It seems like everywhere you look they are redeveloping warehouses into lofts and building new condos.  An artistic young community has taken to the area with the many funky outdoor river-front bars, micro-breweries and eateries.  South of town, the river is left in a more natural looking state and is a serious bike path.  While the south-side is considered less desirable, the area is showing signs of improvement and everyone seems to be enjoying the river front.

Northern Riverwalk:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alaynedunn/8569833959/

It has been said that dollar for dollar parks bring the best return on investment.  The San Antonio Riverwalk is one of the best examples I have seen of this in action.  It is my hope that all cities begin to realize that stadiums, arenas and convention centers are nice, but  making cities enjoyable and livable is better for the health for all and will attract more people and will be a greater asset in the long run.

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2 thoughts on “Riverwalk and Redevelopment

  1. Uncle Jay and Aunt Pat

    Your Dad and I and our parents spent 2 1/2 enjoyable years in San Antone when Dad was at Brooks Air Force Base. We became good horsemen at ages 12 and 10, taking lessons at Ft. Sam Houston. We had a beautiful palomino named Dimples for awhile and rode her often along with the more kid friendly nags at Ft. Sam. Caught horned toads and bashed a few rattlers with baseball bats. Great place to be a kid back then. Ah Hah, San Antone!
    Uncle Jay

    Reply
  2. Dan Rooks

    That is really exciting to hear about development along the river! I’ve been to San Antonio, specifically to the Riverwalk area, several times over the last 15 years. My last time was about 4 years ago. They were business trips lasting a few days and we stayed in the popular tourist down town area of the Riverwalk. I had no idea a bike trail was developed in those years or that new areas north of down town existed. Overall I really enjoyed the area. i too really dig “rejuvinated” down town areas, especially if the development is along water fronts.

    Reply

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