Fernando Aguirre Museum Reach 10th Anniversary Category Winner

Museum Reach 10 Year Anniversary

River Walk Museum Reach 2009-2019 Logo

The San Antonio River Walk Museum Reach is celebrating its 10 year anniversary! From the unique culinary and cultural experiences of Pearl to the vibrant Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum Reach has created a space for outdoor recreation, urban living, phenomenal restaurants and bars, lively entertainment and thriving businesses.

Economic data gathered by the San Antonio River Authority indicates that in the 10 years since the opening of the Museum Reach Urban Segment, the $72 million public investment in the river served as a catalyst to return nearly $2 billion in construction investment from Lexington Ave. to Hildebrand Ave., so the project actually stimulated far more investment than what was projected for in the 2007 construction estimate, and it did so in less than 10 years, which is a shorter horizon than the 2007 study predicted. Other economic points of interest: Land values between Lexington and Josephine St. have increased over 270% since 2009; Over 3500 housing units have been developed; Over 2,100,000 sq ft of office space and retail space has been developed.

The San Antonio River Authority installed a trail counter installed along the Museum Reach near the lock and dam in June 2014. It counts both pedestrians and cyclists and determines if they are going north or south. As of May 2019, it has counted a sum of northbound and southbound foot traffic equaling 1,009,804 counts and 128,912 cyclist counts for a total count of both pedestrian and cyclists of 1,138,716.

If you have not experienced the Museum Reach section of the San Antonio River Walk, we encourage you to attend one of the San Antonio River Authority events listed below, or find time to visit some of the flourishing businesses and art work along the trail.

Timeline
Museum Reach 10 Year Anniversary Timeline
     
1973 A joint planning effort by six local government entities resulted in the River Corridor Feasibility Study. The study’s “River Corridor Plan” provided a conceptual plan for improvements along the San Antonio River from Hildebrand to I.H. 10 through downtown San Antonio. Why this is important: While the design and development of the Museum Reach did not formally begin until the 1990s, it is worth noting that visionaries, like Lila Cockrell, were studying the feasibility of expanding the River Walk northward in the early 1970s.
March 1981 San Antonio Museum of Art opens on the banks of the San Antonio River in a re-purposed Lone Star Brewery after a $7.2 million adaptive renovation. Why this is important: The river was not a feature of the San Antonio Museum of Art as it is today because until completion of the Museum Reach, the river behind the museum was essentially a forgotten drainage ditch.
1997 Completion of the San Antonio River Flood Tunnel designed to work with the Olmos Dam to protect downtown San Antonio from damage.  The project includes an inlet facility located at Josephine Street and the San Antonio River, a 24-foot diameter, 3-mile long tunnel and an outlet site at Lone Star Boulevard.  Ten months after completion of the tunnel, on October 17-18, 1998, south central Texas experienced record-breaking rainfall, and both the San Pedro Creek and the San Antonio River tunnels performed as designed, sparing downtown San Antonio from a devastating flood. In 1999, the tunnel project won the State of Texas Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers; it also received a national-level Award of Merit. A year later, it was one of four projects to receive the Federal Design Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as well as an achievement award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in recognition of the San Antonio River Tunnel Inlet Site. Why this is important: The completion of the flood tunnel was important not only for the protection it provides downtown San Antonio, but it also provided the ability to safely expand the River Walk northward into the Museum Reach area. The tunnel also allowed the San Antonio River Authority to drain the river in the Museum Reach area during construction of the Museum Reach, which was critically important for construction costs and timeline.
1998 Bexar County, the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio River Authority authorized the creation of a local stakeholder group to be named the San Antonio River Oversight Committee (SAROC), whose purpose was to advise the planning, design, project management, construction and construction phasing and funding for the development of flood control and amenity improvements on what would become known as the San Antonio River Improvements Project (SARIP). Why this is important: This is the formal beginning of the SARIP, including the Museum Reach and Mission Reach projects.
February 2000 SAROC completes Planning Document for the SARIP detailing the community vision for the river. Why this is important: This document was the guiding principles throughout design and construction of the SARIP.
March 2001 Draft of the SWA Concept Design completed.  
July 2001 Final SWA Concept Design Document completed.  
January 2002 Preliminary Design on Museum Reach initiated by the design team of Ford, Powell & Carson Architects & Planners and HDR Engineering, Inc.  
October 2003 Preliminary Design of Museum Reach completed.  
August 2004 Final Design of the Museum Reach: Urban Segment completed. Why this is important: During design, the Museum Reach was separated into two phases, the Urban Segment and the Park Segment. The Museum Reach “Urban Segment” was from Lexington Ave. to Josephine St. and the Museum Reach “Park Segment” was from Josephine St. to Hildebrand Ave. Today, the Museum Reach is consider one complete length from Lexington Ave. to Hildebrand Ave.
February 2006 30% Final Design Documents on Museum Reach completed.  
March 2006 30% Cost Estimate on Museum Reach completed.  
May 2006 San Antonio River Oversight Committee approves Public Arts Master Plan for San Antonio River Improvements Project.  
June 2006 50% Final Design documents on Museum Reach completed.  
August 2006 50% Cost Estimate for Museum Reach is completed.  
September 2006 90% Cost Estimate on Museum Reach Urban Segment completed.  
October 2006 Bexar County, City of San Antonio and the San Antonio River Authority approve San Antonio River Improvements Project Interlocal Agreement.  
October 2006 US Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit for Museum Reach Urban Segment secured.  
December 2006 100% Cost Estimate on Museum Reach Urban Segment completed.  
January 2007 Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) permit for Lock and Dam secured.  
February 2007 An economic impact study projected $1.1 billion in new construction along the Museum Reach upon completion of the project over a 10-15 year horizon.  
May 8, 2007 Construction of the Museum Reach Urban Segment of the San Antonio River Improvements Project initiated. The project costs $71.2 million and is funded by the following partners are: City of San Antonio $53.1 million; Bexar County $13.1; Private funds through the San Antonio River Foundation, $6,5 million; San Antonio Water System, $300,000 (for utility relocation); The San Antonio River Authority served at project and construction manager and agreed to take on the long-term operations and maintenance of the Museum Reach upon completion of the project.  
May 31, 2009 Museum Reach Urban Segment of the San Antonio River Improvements Project opens adding nearly 1 ½ miles to the River Walk north of Lexington Ave.  
April 2014 Impact of the San Antonio River Walk Study released conservative conclusions that 11.5 million people visit the River Walk annually which stimulates an overall economic impact of $3.1 billion and support 31,000 jobs. Why this is important: This study largely focused on the downtown and Museum Reach Urban Segment sections of the San Antonio River Walk and included a small amount of research on the Mission Reach.
May 2014 An economic study done as part of the 5th anniversary of the Museum Reach shows the Museum Reach generates an annual economic impact from new business operations of $139 million and over $253 million in private investment has come since the project opened in 2009. Why this is important: This study just looked at the Museum Reach Urban Segment from Lexington Ave. to Josephine St.
2015 Construction of Museum Reach Park Segment initiated.  
May 2016 Between May 2007 and May 2016, staff from the San Antonio River Authority’s Intergovernmental and Community Relations Department provided and/or organized over 400 presentations and/or tours about the San Antonio River Improvements Project that were given to local, state, national and international audiences. Why this is important: the construction of the Museum Reach and Mission Reach projects greatly increased the worldwide visibility of the San Antonio River Walk as governments and organizations from around the globe began to look to the San Antonio community for guidance in developing and restoring rivers.
November 2016 Total residential and commercial investment along the Museum Reach is estimated to exceed $500 million. Why this is important: This study just looked at the Museum Reach Urban Segment from Lexington Ave. to Josephine St.
September 19, 2017 The San Antonio River is awarded the Theiss International Riverprize. The Theiss International Riverprize, presented by the International RiverFoundation, is the world’s foremost award in river basin management. It recognizes and rewards organizations making waves in the sustainable management of the world’s rivers, whether at the grassroots or transboundary level. The prize rewards inspiring initiatives that demonstrate Integrated River Basin Management to restore and protect rivers, wetlands, lakes and estuaries. Why this is important: This major international recognition was awarded to the San Antonio River largely for the economic success of the downtown and Museum Reach sections of the San Antonio River Walk as well as the significance of the urban ecosystem restoration along the Mission Reach section of the River Walk. In total, the San Antonio River Walk, from Hildebrand to beyond Loop 410 south, was recognized as a world leading example of river front development and urban ecosystem restoration. The San Antonio River Authority submitted the nomination and accepted the award on behalf of the river and community.
April 16, 2019 The last section of Museum Reach Park Segment trail in Brackenridge Park near the Witte Museum was officially opened.  

 

Fun Facts
  • Zachry Construction Corporation was the contractor hired to construct the Museum Reach.
  • The Museum Reach Urban Segment design is broken down into three historical themes:
  • The Hugman theme, from Lexington Avenue to just upstream of 9th Street, reflects the use of limestone on the original River Walk;
  • The San Antonio Museum of Art theme, from 9th Street to I-35, reflects the use of brick on the San Antonio Museum of Art; and
  • The Pearl theme, from I-35 to Josephine Street, reflects the industrial aesthetic of the Pearl through the use of sandblasted concrete.
  • The river bottom of the Museum Reach Urban Segment is made of large cobble (approximately 6” diameter rocks) to provide a more natural environment for aquatic life. Low Water Fish Sanctuaries are portions of the riverbed that were excavated to create pools where fish can survive when the river is drained for maintenance and repairs. Also to protect aquatic wildlife, fish lunkers, which are essentially concrete boxes, were recessed into the river bulkheads to provide shelter for aquatic life from sun and strong currents.
  • CFZ Group, L.L.C. was the landscape architect for the Museum Reach Urban Segment. The project design featured over 100 plant species, mostly native grasses, shrubs and trees, with a few select non-natives such as palm trees (a unifying feature from the original Hugman River Walk design).
  • The Hugman Dam, just upstream of Lexington Avenue, was kept as a historical feature of the Urban Segment. The dam is named after River Walk architect Robert H.H. Hugman as it was designed by him and installed in the river around 1940 as the northern boundary of the original River Walk. A third of the dam has been removed to allow barge traffic through. Nearby signage gives the history of Hugman and the dam.
  • The Alamo Mills Dam was discovered during construction near VFW Post 76 just downstream of Jones Ave. The dam was built in the 1870s and was partially dismantled in the early 1900s. Subsequently, the dam was silted over and lost to history until the Museum Reach Urban Segment construction crews found it. The dam was used to send water through a mill raceway to the Alamo Mill at 8th. The mill made flour and, later, ice. During construction of the Museum Reach, the dam was made to be visible to visitors day and night, and signage gives its history.
  • Current (2019) annual funding from the San Antonio River Authority for the operations and maintenance of the Museum Reach is $1.4 million.
  • The San Antonio River Authority holds two large annual events along the Museum Reach:
  • The Bat Loco event in August; to celebrate bats and educate the public about their importance, the San Antonio River Authority shuts down Camden St. near the IH-35 bridge where the iconic F.I.S.H artwork is installed. It has become one of the River Authority’s largest events drawing upwards of 5,000 people to the event.
  • The River of Lights in December; the first Saturday of December is when the San Antonio River Authority turns on the holiday lights along the Museum Reach. Brooklyn Ave. is shut down to hold a large holiday party near the lock and dam. To separate the Museum Reach lighting from that of the historic downtown River Walk experience, the Museum Reach holiday lighting includes underwater lights in the river as well as lights in the trees along the river. Lampposts and other normal project lights are changed to colorful lights during the holidays as well. In 2017, a 40’ LED computerized holiday tree was also added at the lock and dam and that display won multiple awards during the 2018 holiday season.
Maps
Museum Reach Development Map 1
Museum Reach Development Map 2
Museum Reach Development Map 3
Museum Reach Development Map 4
Museum Reach Development Map 5
Museum Reach Partner Events

Friday, September 20 
8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Family Flicks: Coco
The San Antonio Museum of Art hosts outdoor films in collaboration with Slab Cinema. Films begin at sundown. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics. During inclement weather, films are cancelled. Pets are not permitted on the Museum campus; however, service animals are permitted at the Museum.

Saturday, September 21
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. FREE DAY! Museum Day Live
The San Antonio Museum of Art - Hundreds of museums across the country provide free entry for two in this annual celebration hosted by Smithsonian Magazine.


Sunday, October 6
Noon - 3 p.m. Family Egyptian Adventure
The San Antonio Museum of Art - Children 12 and under are free. Walk like an Egyptian while you explore the art of ancient Egypt through family tours and fun activities. Craft an Egyptian collar, make a mummy book, and write your name in hieroglyphs on papyrus!       

Friday, October 11 
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Art Party - Haunted Museum                  
The San Antonio Museum of Art -  Put the art in the pARTy and enjoy a craft cocktail, cash bar, live music, and themed tours. Bring a date! Art Party is a collaboration of the Museum and 
KRTU 91.7 FM.         

Tuesday, October 29   
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.  Haunted History Halloween Tour     
The San Antonio Museum of Art - Discover mummies, monsters, and spirits haunting our galleries. All ages and costumes are welcome, but please no full-face masks or accessories such as wands, swords, or scepters in the galleries.

Sunday, November 3
Noon - 3 p.m.  
Family Day: Dia de los Muertos      
The San Antonio Museum of Art - The Museum invites children and their families to explore the collections, create art, and share Sundays together.      

Saturday, November 30 
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 6th Annual Holiday Fair       
The San Antonio Museum of Art - Join us for our 6th Annual Holiday Fair. It's your one-stop shop for unique finds from local artisans. Interested in becoming a vendor? Register online before November 1.                  

Friday, December 13
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.  Art Party: ¡Salud! Santé! Cheers!
The San Antonio Museum of Art - Put the art in the pARTy and enjoy a craft cocktail, cash bar, live music, and themed tours. 
Art Party is a collaboration of the Museum and KRTU 91.7 FM.

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