City Council approves HemisFair Park framework plan
By: Vianna Davila for San Antonio Express-News
Without discussion, the City Council unanimously approved a plan Thursday to revamp HemisFair Park, an effort that would raze part of the city’s convention center, relocate several current park tenants and enhance connections to the East Side.
Council members vetted the plan at a meeting Wednesday, after a presentation by officials and consultants with the HemisFair Park Area Redevelopment Corp., created to oversee redevelopment of the park.
HemisFair Park officials hope a grand opening for the new park could happen by 2018 — the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding, and the 50th anniversary of HemisFair, the event that creation the park.
But the park likely still won’t be complete by that time, said HPark CEO Andres Andujar.
“I think it will take longer to complete the project 100 percent,” Andujar said Wednesday. “There are pieces of the project that are not completely controllable.”
Those include the vacating of the federal courthouse, on the southern edge of the park. The courthouse is scheduled to relocate to the site of the current police headquarters on Nueva Street but the timeline is uncertain. University of Texas at San Antonio representatives also have discussed relocating the Institute of Texan Cultures within HemisFair Park.
So far, slightly less than $21 million has been set aside for HemisFair. Funding for the convention center work has not been secured.
The framework plan is a draft version of a final master plan, which should be complete by September. The city then will start to look more closely at the financial details of making the project a reality, said Pat DiGiovanni, deputy city manger.
Among the financial resources the city has said it could tap into are public-private partnerships and the hotel occupancy tax.