San Antonio River Walk Expansion Leads Nation in Urban Ecosystem Restoration
In extending its famed River Walk from two to 13 miles, San Antonio will undertake the nation’s largest ecosystem restoration in an urban area. Already a leader in the reuse and repurposing of buildings, conservation of historic sites and preservation of architectural feats like the city’s five Spanish colonial missions, this latest environmentally friendly endeavor highlights San Antonio’s vision to preserve its natural landscape, distinguishing the city as a place that invests in the generations to come.
The portion of the River Walk extension earning this acclamation is a nine mile stretch that will connect the original River Walk with four of San Antonio’s Spanish colonial missions to the south. Scheduled for completion in 2014, this bucolic addition will have an emphasis on ecotourism and historic preservation. The restoration will offer serene, natural environments, an enhanced aquatic habitat, over 20,000 new trees and acres of native landscaping. Features will also include trails for hiking and biking.
Currently, the River Walk runs through downtown along the spring-fed San Antonio River, connecting thousands of hotel rooms with riverside restaurants, shops, theaters and historic sites. It’s one of the nation’s most culturally rich and diverse locations. In May 2009, the first phase of the River Walk extension will be complete, extending an additional two miles north linking the San Antonio Museum of Art and the eco-friendly Pearl Brewery redevelopment area. With a total investment of $279 million, the San Antonio River Improvements Project provides immense potential for further economic development.