San Antonio Conservation Society: Statement

Jan 10 2016 - Written By: Janet Dietel

My name is Janet Dietel, President of the San Antonio Conservation Society. Next to me is Bruce MacDougal, Executive Director. As a former principal and educational leader, I congratulate you on your commitment to education and your service on behalf of the thousands of SAISD students. I am proud to say that I am a product of SAISD, where I attended first through twelfth grades.

The Society has been a longtime supporter of Brackenridge Park. We were responsible for the creation of the Brackenridge Park Conservancy in 2008. I am here this evening, because we support utilization of the SAISD site on Tuleta Drive by the San Antonio Zoo.

In 2010, the Society joined with other park supporters, the Brackenridge Park Conservancy and Lila Cockrell among them, to oppose the University of the incarnate Word's attempt to use the historic donkey barn property, which had been promised to the zoo in Brackenridge Park's 1979 master plan. This attempt to place private development on public land was rightly defeated.

Since the Tuleta property is owned by a public entity, any development will be subject to the purview of the Texas Historical Commission, under the Texas Antiquities Code. The site is located within the boundaries of San Antonio River Improvement Overlay District 1. The ordinance governing the River Improvement Overlay Districts limits the height of buildings within District 1 to five stories, or 60 feet in height. A proposal from the University of the Incarnate Word depicts a 12-story building consisting of a six-level parking garage topped by a six-story dorm. In terms of both physical size and intended use, this private building constructed to serve the university does not fit this public site within Brackenridge Park. We do not support Incarnate Word's proposal to build at this location.

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