City hosts HemisFair Park area master plan public workshop Jan. 12

HemisFair Park

HemisFair Park in downtown San Antonio

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(Jan. 6, 2011)--The City of San Antonio HemisFair Park Area Redevelopment Corp. is seeking public input on the master planning process to re-envision HemisFair Park. A public workshop is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 12 at Sunset Station Depot 1 in downtown San Antonio. The workshop is an opportunity for the community to share questions, concerns, comments and ideas regarding HemisFair Park.

>> The public meeting will begin with an open house from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunset Station Depot 1 is at 1174 E. Commerce St. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP online or call 210-785-0888 for more information.

The University of Texas at San Antonio is an anchor tenant in HemisFair Park. The park is bordered by Market Street to the north, Bowie Street and Interstate 37 to the east, Durango Boulevard to the south and Alamo Street to the west. The UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, home to the Institute of Texan Cultures, occupies the southeast corner of the property.

According to the redevelopment corporation's website, the purpose of the first public workshop is to develop goals and explore opportunities for the site with Johnson Fain, a consultant group hired by HPARC to conduct the latest master planning process. Johnson Fain has conducted interviews and focus groups with numerous stakeholders and will share their discoveries and observations to date.

"UTSA is involved in a master planning process which includes our vision to transform the Institute of Texan Cultures into a nationally recognized cultural institution," said Jude Valdez, UTSA vice president for community services. "The redevelopment of HemisFair Park fits hand-in-hand with the redevelopment of the Institute of Texan Cultures."

UTSA officials have contributed directly to Johnson Fain's analysis of HemisFair Park. The university and the Institute of Texan Cultures are represented on the HPARC board by Sue Ann Pemberton, senior lecturer in the UTSA College of Architecture.

The HemisFair '68 world's fair exposition is commonly credited for launching the city's modern era, replete with tourism and commercial opportunities. When the exposition closed, the park remained mostly untouched. In 2009, the city council voted for the creation of the redevelopment corporation. Its vision is to revitalize the area as a mixed-use development centered on a city park, incorporating the historic structures within and reconnecting it with the surrounding neighborhoods.