With the first of three phases – Yuanaguana Garden completed the next section marked for renovation is the 20+ acre section of the park located north of Yuanaguana Garden and the park’s northern edge along Market street. Currently this area houses the original section of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center which was built as part of HemisFair ’68. Once this phase is completed the final phase will be Tower Park.
The following is a symopsis of my involvement this section of the overall redevelopment of the site of the 1968 World’s Fair – HemisFair ’68
In the spring of 2011 the HPARC board of directors along with the L.A. based architectural firm of Johnson Fain held a three part public workshop series to meet with the residents of San Antonio to share their research and gather our ideas and opinions about the then current state of the park and what we would love to see in the future redevelopment.
I missed the first event where participants were asked to brainstorm on what they would like to see in the new park. However, I was able to attend the second event held at Sunset Station, it was great to see the entire station full of residents sharing a common interest in Hemisfair Park. Each table had a layout of the park as is at that time along with a 11″ x 17″ packet with instructions and several cutouts for us to add to the layout during the workshop. After reviewing and discussing all the options available each table updated their layout with the options wanted. At the end of the exercise one rep from each table presented the group’s ideal plan (including what we liked, disliked, etc…)
One of the biggest options was the idea from the previous workshop to expand the the Convention Center on its eastern end and the demolition of the original western section of the center. In the end every table (except for one) supported the idea for the convention center.
The overall opinion. mine included is that the the Convention Center as it is currently laid-out creates a sort of barrier cutting off Hemisfair Park from the rest of downtown. Currently (as of July 2015) the only two way to access the the park from the downtown core is to either walk around the whole complex and enter on N. Alamo at the archway or go down to Riverwallk level and walk under the complex and then back up to street level. The removal of the original western section will add a new 20 acre public space to the site for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.
In effect this will expand the overall park north along N. Alamo St. up to Market St., as well as, connect the park with the downtown core while creating a free flow of traffic in and out of the park.
Below are images I took during the second public workshop in 2011. (Click on images for a closer look)
Below is content related to the project
Here’s a link to StudyHemisfairCivicParkEdgeCondtions
Here’s a link to HPARC’s Civic_Park_Programming_Vision_13-10-17_Final
Below are images I took during the first public workshop for the new park in 2013. (Click on images for a closer look)
Below are images I took during the second workshop for the new park in July of 2014. (Click on images for a closer look)
Below are images I took during the public presentation in December of 2014. (Click on images for a closer look)
By Feburary of 2016 the HBGCC had completed the opening and activation of the new addition to the center on the eastern end which allowed the closing and deactivation of the original section (built as part of HemisFair ’68) on the western end of the center. Shortly after the constuction fences went up and demolition work began thus begining the next stage of the overall Civic Park project.
Below are images I took during the physical construction stage of Civic Park starting in Feburary 2016. (Click on images for a closer look)