The Riverwalk – at the heart of it all.

River Walk Capital Improvement Project
Each year, thousands of residents and visitors enjoy San Antonio’s many community amenities. One of them in particular, the Riverwalk, is a favorite destination to appreciate while in our downtown. Over the last several years, the City has taken steps to improve and maintain our historical gem with needed infrastructure improvements.

The River Walk Capital Improvements Master Plan was finalized in 2008, and identified a prioritized list of capital improvements with an estimated total cost of $15 million to be constructed over four phases. The Master Plan identified the infrastructure needs for the historic river bend to include sidewalks, stairs, lighting upgrades, walkway retaining walls, and a number of aesthetic improvements.

Master Plan Phases I & II have been completed and represent a $7 million investment in the River Walk. Work completed includes river wall repairs; stairway repairs; paver and concrete flatwork repairs/replacement; landscaping and irrigation; electrical and lighting upgrades; handrail and bridge painting; “crafted” style furniture; pedestrian bridge repairs; fountain repairs and ADA improvements.

With both initial phases complete, Phase III construction began in September 2012 and will continue through August 2013. Work completed in phase three includes the North Flood Gate towards the Southbank Development and from Michelino’s Ristorante to the pedestrian foot bridge. The sidewalk section located between the St. Mary’s St Bridge and the North Flood Gate included the restoration of original Hugman panels. Upcoming work includes the demolition and re-construction of the San Antonio Rio Cruises Historic ticket booth. This work will be an extensive project and will include the widening of the river wall an additional 2 feet to give the trees roots room to grow. Once completed, the new office space will allow for an additional ticket booth window and queuing space.

We look forward to the completion of these capital improvements to the River Walk.

Riverwalk LightsDowntown Holiday Lighting:
On Friday, November 30, the City turned on the River Walk and downtown Holiday Lighting. The lighting this year adds 30% more lights on trees than previous Holiday Lightings, through the use of energy saving LED lights. Again this year River Walk bridges will feature programmable LED lights that change colors and “dance” throughout the night. Last year’s LED lights are being repurposed on the street level at City Hall, La Villita, Milam Park, Main Plaza, Alamo Plaza and Market Square. In total, 200 trees will be lit on the River Walk, 22 River Walk bridges will feature programmable lighting and 78 trees will be draped at the street level this holiday season.
Mayor Castro’s “Light Up Downtown” Holiday Contest has inspired 60 downtown businesses to feature festive holiday lighting displays, and residents are encouraged to come downtown and vote for your favorites. Lights will be found on storefronts and buildings throughout downtown. In a new category this year, RiverCenter Mall will feature window displays decorated by local non-profit organizations. In addition, look for Best Use of Space participants showcasing original holiday lighting decor at the Pearl, Sunset Station, HemisFair Park, Houston Street, and on the River Walk by Rio San Antonio Cruises. Vote online at www.lightupdowntownsa.com .

Sheryl Sculley
City Manager

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