When people hear I am from San Antonio they often ask if I hope the High Line becomes like the River Walk. The answer is no. The River Walk is designed for tourists, and my dream is that the High Line is first and foremost a well-loved park for New Yorkers that visitors may also enjoy.
[San Antonio River Walk in the summer and in December]
But San Antonio now has the opportunity to be known for a wholly different kind of public space that’s designed for residents, not tourists, and it makes an inspiring story.
The last, large tract of undeveloped land just a few miles from downtown’s River Walk was the 311-acre Voelcker Dairy Farm. Most of the property had not been cultivated and looked like the land settlers saw when they first came to the area. Some of the trees there were standing at the time of the Battle of the Alamo — all within the bounds of the tenth largest city in the country. Plans were in the works to sell the property for housing developments. Instead the City, at the Mayor’s initiative, bought all 311 acres and set about to preserve the landscape and turn it into Voelcker Park, which will be the city’s largest park.
[photo from the Voelcker Park website]
And it keeps getting better. Them they hired the team of Steven Stimson Associates and D.I.R.T Studio to oversee the development of a master plan. D.I.R.T is led by one of my favorite landscape designers, Julie Bargmann.
Their winning competition entry is after the jump.