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.
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.
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
- San Antonio Museum of Art
- Milberger Nursery
- Peerless Farms
- Bender Wells Clark Landscape Architects
- Overland Partners
- Cross Real Estate
- Mac Riddick Properties
- Green Alliance
- Chili Queens
- Fresh Urban Flowers
- Alamo Brewery
- Core Continuum
- Lynn Knapik Real Estate
Build Schedule Announced for San Antonio Better Block
Update from first San Antonio Better Block townhall – 1/23/2012
There was a great turnout for the first San Antonio Better Block townhall. Over 40 residents, property owners, and business owners from the Jones and Broadway area came together to learn about building their first Better Block. From this meeting, several individuals signed up to help with landscaping, construction, and developing a series of pop-up businesses including art studios, ice cream shops, flower markets, and more for the March 4th event. Property owners in the area agreed to open up their vacant spaces and contribute to bringing more streetlife to the area. This event will occur in tandem with the city’s second Siclovia (the first event brought out 15,000 people to the area), so the opportunity exists now to shine a spotlight on this block and the community that lives, works, and plays in the area.
If you’re interested in learning more about taking part in this project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be holding a community walk-through on February 4th at noon. For those interested in taking part, please meet us in the lobby of the San Antonio Museum of Art at 200 West Jones Avenue.
San Antonio Better Block Scheduled for March 4th – 1/5/2012
WHAT: San Antonio’s First Better Block!
The “Better Block” project is a community art project that temporarily demonstrates how to revitalize an area with bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure mixed with art, culture and street life. As part of the City of San Antonio’s Complete Streets initiative, the community is invited to help build a Better Block at the intersection of East Jones Ave. and Broadway Street near Maverick Park. The Better Block will compliment the next Siclovia. This information sheet provides you with dates, times, locations and contact information to get involved. Let’s build a Better Block together!
WHEN: March 4, 2012
The first SiClovia was a great success and pairing the Better Block with it will make it even more fun and gives you a chance to get involved with building a better city one block at a time. The following schedule leading up to the project will provide more information and means to get involved.
January 19th 6:00 to 9:00 PM
VFW Post 76 – 10 10th Street
Information session on How to Build a Better Block and Volunteer Coordination
February 4th 10:00 AM to Noon
There will be two walkthrough sessions due to the amount of interest in the project:
10AM Meeting at Maverick Park at Jones and Broadway
12PM Meeting at San Antonio Museum of Art on Jones Street
February 24th TBD
March 3rd and 4th Maverick Park corner of E. Jones Ave and Broadway Street
Volunteers for the Better Block come from all walks of life and specialties. There is a role for everyone in this community build project so please don’t hesitate to get involved. We will find something fun and productive for you to do. We are especially interested in providing opportunities for artist, crafters and designers to show off their talents.
For more information contact:
Jason Roberts Volunteer Coordinator
Marita Roos, City of San Antonio