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San Antonio Better Block wrap-up

San Antonio’s first Better Block Project in coordination with the City of San Antonio’s Complete Streets Initiative and Metro Health’s SiClovia was a great success. Over 80 volunteers showed up to help transform a vacant building, overly wide streets, and empty park into a thriving, active neighborhood destination. Teams built cafes, flower shops, art galleries, kids art spaces, outdoor food courts, wayfinding signage, benches, landscaping, bike lanes, reverse angled parking, a functioning rain garden and more in the span of days. The mayor, council members, and area residents came out to celebrate the revitalized space alongside thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who took part in San Antonio’s second ever Siclovia.

Area warehouse before photo
Area warehouse after photo
Area artists painting crosswalks

A side project we undertook while working on the Better Block was looking at the empty park beside our area and thinking about ways we could inexpensively make the space more friendly to families. After spotting some discarded tires in an alley, we instantly realized the solution: tire swings! For less than $50, we accumulated several tires, rope, and paint, and proceeded to fill the trees with swings. Within minutes of tying up the last tire, children from out of nowhere began descending on the park. Families driving by stopped, parked their cars and began playing, and our volunteers even took multiple breaks to swing. Simple solutions like these don’t cost a lot of money, but provide real value to families who want fun and inexpensive activities for their children.

Corner building before the Better Block project
Corner building during the Better Block project

Another highlight was the rain garden created by Larry Clark. For years he had discussed building a rain garden to help filter the silt and oil from the streets before it enters San Antonio’s river. In a span of days, a functioning rain garden was completed for under $1,000 that will stay in the area now permanently.

There were so many individuals and organizations that helped pull this together that it’s nearly impossible to acknowledge them all without overlooking some.

  • City of San Antonio
  • Metro Health
  • LOOP
  • PASA
  • San Antonio Museum of Art
  • Milberger Nursery
  • Peerless Farms
  • Bender Wells Clark Landscape Architects
  • TBG
  • Overland Partners
  • Cross Real Estate
  • Mac Riddick Properties
  • Green Alliance
  • Chili Queens
  • Borderlinea
  • Fresh Urban Flowers
  • Alamo Brewery
  • Espumoso
  • Core Continuum
  • Lynn Knapik Real Estate
Image from My San Antonio News

Area car lot before the Better Block project
Area car lot after the Better Block project

More photos here:

2 comments

  1. Auth

    MaryMargaret Hitchcock – I love the new site, Kathleen. It brings tears to my eyes weevhner I look at the photos you take tears of joy and pride, not sad tears, please know. I am so proud of you and so happy to be able to say I knew her when Love, Mrs. Hitchcock aka MaryMargaret

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