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'It's been loved to death': Brackenridge caretakers developing plan to restore, preserve declining park

A recently-commissioned reports indicates Brackenridge's 349-acre ecosystem is not healthy. Now, the park conservancy aims to preserve its eroding history.

SAN ANTONIO — The Brackenridge Park ecosystem is unhealthy, according to a report commissioned by the Brackenridge Park Conservancy. If humans do not step in to restore the land, some aspects of its heritage could be lost. 

"The park has been loved dearly, but it's been loved to death," Lynn Osborne Bobbitt, executive director of the park conservancy, said in an interview with KENS 5. 

Bobbitt's group, charged with caring for the park, requested the Cultural Landscape Report to guide preservation efforts. 

The study highlighted a number of ecological issues, as well as infrastructural problems that threaten the park's layout. Invasive species have choked out native wildlife and retaining walls are collapsing into the river. 

"Maintenance has not been able to keep up with usage," Bobbitt said. "This isn't a quick fix. This is a couple of decades' worth of work." 

The Brackenridge Park Conservancy will begin holding informational meetings about the Cultural Landscape Report at the end of September. Soon after, the conservancy will ask the public to prioritize the project proposals. 

Bobbitt says she hopes the report will inform the public's priorities. 

"It is, by no means, a list to say "Approve this,'" she added. "We want to know what the community thinks: Which priority moves up to No. 1?"

She hopes to have a ranked proposal sheet intact by the beginning of 2022. Then, the conservancy will discuss funding options. 

In 2017, voters approved a bond proposal the conservancy lobbied for. It will pay for restoration of manmade structures on the park property. Future work will focus on the landscape itself. 

Bobbitt says she hopes the projects will also uncover history that's literally buried in the park. Since it's underground, it can't be appreciated. 

"We don't know these hidden stories, and this park is a diverse explanation of how our city has developed," she said. 

"We need to look at the ecology of the park because it's out of balance right now," she added. "It's part of all of us. It's San Antonio's urban center."