SAN ANTONIO -- The New Territories area in northwest San Antonio dedicated new park improvements Tuesday after a long campaign to win funding.
“You can make a difference! Everybody can make a difference if they put forth the effort,” said New Territories President Melinda Smith as she celebrated the new family-friendly additions.
After a $350,000 facelift with money from the 2012-2017 bond program, park users now have new shade, new seating, new sidewalks and a new pavilion and picnic areas coming their way. New solar security lighting will also allow park patrons to feel safer during early morning or late evening trail use.
Smith said that she and other neighborhood leaders used the power of social media to work together to make it happen.
"When I joined NextDoor, there were very [few] neighbors that were part of that group. And now, I think we have like 500. I think there were maybe 20, as compared to now, about 500 in our specific neighborhood," Smith said.
“It’s a great time to be a citizen in San Antonio,” said Councilman Ray Lopez after cutting the ribbon on the improvements.
Councilman Lopez added that citizen involvement is the key to winning improvements at the grassroots level.
“Right now, everyone is looking for input from the community, recognizing that if it is home grown, if it's the people's bond, it has a great chance of passing and that's what we're looking for,” Councilman Lopez said.
On Wednesday, city council will consider the final list of projects for the next round of bond funding for the 2017-2022 cycle. For the last few months, thousands of people have packed public meetings to advocate for funding for their favorite projects.
Volunteers on several committees have studied projects for streets, bridges, sidewalks, drainage, and community service facilities, in addition to park improvements.
A proposal to turn 80 acres of wilderness at McAllister Park into little league fields was shut down early on when thousands of people signed an online petition protesting the idea. Instead, McAllister Park stands to gain $2 million in improvements if the bonds were to pass.
Hardberger Park, in north-central San Antonio, started the process with $7.5 million in improvements, but the final tally for that project has been whittled down by $2 million.
By far, the most expansive park project on the list is the Hemisfair Civic Park. What is now essentially a giant hole in the ground, where the original Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center used to stand, is slated to become a world-class public promenade.
When the project is complete, it will have the equivalent of eight football fields of open space, with plazas, courtyards, and spaces for public performances.
The $850 million bond proposal goes to voters in May.
For a full list of the bond proposals up for a vote, you can view them here: