A Confluence of Photographs
Becoming Hemisfair: A Mixed-Use Urban Park

Things began to change in 2009, when City Council created the nonprofit HemisFair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC) to oversee the redevelopment of the park for the 21st century. Governed by a board comprised of local stakeholders and two city staff, HPARC developed a phased master plan that promised to attract tourists and locals alike back to downtown's largest park. City Council approved the plan in 2012. The first phase, called Yanaguana Garden, welcomed families to the southwest corner of the park in 2015 with a playscape that appeals to all ages set amid small eateries.

The next area to be developed will be Civic Park, located where the original Convention Center once stood on the park's northwest corner at S. Alamo and Market Streets. This area will feature more greenspace and will be bracketed by boutique hotel, apartment, and office buildings. Throughout the entire project, the historic houses will be rehabbed and given new life as shops and cafes.

Like the original HemisFair '68, the revitalized park seeks to engage all comers with a confluence of experiences, each representing something unique and vibrant about San Antonio. For this to be true, the city must also preserve the modern fair buildings that make HemisFair '68 one of the least altered of the post-WW II World's Fair sites. Now eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, these unusual architectural treasures form a rare collection of mid-century buildings known for pushing the design envelope of their time. They form a primary link between the park and its history, and remain crucial to setting Hemisfair apart from all other urban parks.

About this Image:
1-2) This mosaic tile panther, created by local artist Oscar Alvarado, watches over parents and children who come to run, climb, swing, splash, and play. Photos by Larsen Andrews.

3) San Antonio Conservation Society President Vivian Hamlin (Terrett) and Second Vice President Pat Osborne, examine damaged floor boards on the 1890 Koehler House with the director of HemisFair Plaza (later HemisFair Park), Jim Gaines. The Society has remained vigilant in advocating for the ongoing preservation of the historic houses that it helped to save in the 1960s. Over the years, it has contributed informational markers and funds for repairs, as well as helping to steer new development to other areas of the park, away from historic buildings. Courtesy of the San Antonio Express-News and UTSA Special Collections.

4) This photo looks east from the corner of Market and South Alamo at the future site of Civic Park, where the original convention center once stood. In the background, the Grand Hyatt Hotel rises above the 2016 Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center designed by Marmon Mok. To the right, the Juan O'Gorman mural graces the Lila Cockrell Theater, which sits between the new building and the surviving 1999 convention center addition. The Tower of the Americas dominates the skyline at the far right. Photo by Larsen Andrews.

Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation
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