SAN ANTONIO, TX — Skanska along with members of the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, landscape architecture firm GGN, and other city officials, held a ribbon cutting Saturday, Sept. 30, to mark the opening of Civic Park at Hemisfair. The seven-acre park in San Antonio’s downtown, which was built with sustainability at its core, has come alive again with the trees, lush green grass, and water features that provide a peaceful sanctuary among the cityscape.
The first phase of Civic Park has three key elements: The Great Lawn, The Springs and The Promenade. The City of San Antonio charged Skanska and GGN to use native Texas elements and building processes with little impact to the water system in this drought-prone area.
“Civic Park supports a greener future while honoring San Antonio's rich natural legacy,” Executive Vice President and General Manager of Skanska USA Building, San Antonio Ryan Aalsma said. "'The Springs', inspired by San Antonio's natural water resources, embodies our commitment to sustainability. Utilizing reclaimed water and native tree planting, we've merged heritage and modernity with this project. This innovative approach showcases our dedication to sustainability, blending technology and nature seamlessly."
The 51,000 square-foot great lawn is where large events will be hosted. South of The Great Lawn lies The Springs, a multi-element grand water feature that takes its inspiration from the natural aquifer unique to San Antonio and the hill country. A 400-foot water channel drops four feet along the western side of The Great Lawn and feeds The Springs. The channel mimics the historic acequias that irrigated fields hundreds of years ago.
Following the strictest sustainability plan, the irrigation system and water features use reclaimed water from an adjacent basement, that is stored in a 41,000-gallon cistern 20 feet below the ground. Water is treated to swimming pool standards before entering the park’s water features.
The Promenade lines the water channel on the western side of The Great Lawn and provides a shaded corridor for pedestrians. Civic Park is designed to improve walkable connections between Hemisfair and the San Antonio River, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, The Alamo, La Villita, St. Paul Square and the Alamodome, as well as to the adjacent neighborhoods.
Over 130 native-to-the-area trees from Seguin, Texas, and 12,600 plants have been planted in Civic Park.
The 75,427 square feet of limestone pavers and veneers used were quarried from Lueders, Texas. The 1,200 pieces of computer numerical control (CNC) cut large-profile stone that make up The Springs water feature are supported by piers to allow for soil expansion and mitigate any issues with cracking and water loss.
Beginning construction this fall, Civic Park’s Phase II includes the construction of the Zócalo, an elevated hard-scaped terrace, and Source Plaza, a large plaza with hardscape and landscape producing substantial shade through tree-canopy. The City of San Antonio awarded the $22 million contract to Skanska. Completion is slated prior to the 2025 NCAA March Madness events.
Civic Park is already being enjoyed by the community with the park hosting the 40th annual Jazz’SAlive Festival during its opening weekend.