Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff joined San Antonio River Authority (SARA) General Manager Suzanne Scott and SARA staff earlier today to review the newly reopened sections of the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project that were closed following the rain event from this past Memorial Day weekend. With these trails being reopened, the public can now access approximately six miles of the hike and bike trail system as well as the five pavilions, overlooks and picnic areas stationed throughout the project. The Mission Reach paddling trail will remain closed until further notice.
“Because of Bexar County funds and the diligence that SARA and Zachary have exhibited in completing the repairs, we are able to open the trails for the public to enjoy,” said Judge Wolff. “Our hope is that the community continues to visit Mission Reach and witness its evolution as current vegetation continues to grow and more vegetation is reintroduced.”
To respond to the growing public demand to gain access to the trail system and project amenities, crews worked long hours to expedite the repairs. Crews are still working to complete the last stretch of the Mission Reach project that is scheduled to be finalized in the fall of 2013. Some of the newly reopened sections of the project will close for a short period of time to allow crews to finalize work on small repairs and to reintroduce vegetation to the project.
A grand opening celebration is also currently being planned for the general public on October 5 and will include an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with Bexar County and other elected officials, as well as all the private and public entities involved in the Mission Reach segment of the San Antonio River Improvements Project.
Bexar County Commissioners Court committed local funding to the overall project to fill any shortfalls in federal funding and to ensure completion of the Mission Reach by 2013. Bexar County’s portion of the entire Mission Reach project, which is locally managed by SARA, is $176.6 million of the $245.7 million total cost. SARA also will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the Mission Reach once construction is complete.
The $176.6 million in funding from Bexar County is from Flood Control Tax and the County’s Community Venues Program, which was approved by voters in May 2008 to provide enhancements along the entire Mission Reach, including overlooks, upgraded pedestrian bridges, pavilions and picnic areas, street connections and portals to Missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada.
For more information and to view a map of the Mission Reach project with the current trail closures, please visit www.sanantonioriver.org.
The Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project is transforming an eight mile stretch of the San Antonio River into a quality riparian woodland ecosystem. The Mission Reach project is being primarily funded by Bexar County, with additional funding from the City of San Antonio, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the San Antonio River Foundation. The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) is overseeing construction on the project and will oversee operations, maintenance and concessions when the project is complete. For more information about this project please visit www.sanantonioriver.org.
Photo of flood damage to the Mission Reach contributed by Cosima Colvin.