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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Connections: A River Runs TU It

Downtown San Antonio is barging its way to the borders of Trinity University. This month the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) opens the Museum Reach urban branch of the famous River Walk. The river project extends as far north as the Pearl Brewery (no longer a brewery) with a park branch extending to Hildebrand Drive by 2014.

The project, was unveiled early to a handful of twitterers, other social media masters, and me, on May 27. Trinity alum Andi Narvaez ('08), of KGB, planned this tour for important connectors in the community to get the word out, real-time-style, just days before the official opening. Steve Schauer of the SARA led the tweet group through the locks, dams, paths, and bridges. My connection was local journalist and wife of 20 years, Donna Tuttle - or as her colleagues refer to her: WriteOnTime.

That students are within a mile of the river walk will transform the student social and recreational experience. In the future, students may be able to walk to Brackenridge Park to catch a river taxi to go downtown. Additionally, nearby Alamo Heights has plans for a trolley to downtown as well. Any development along Broadway and up St. Mary's Street means greater access to more of San Antonio for TU students. When all is said and done, students will be able to walk, run, or ride over a 13 mile linear trail through, and south of, San Antonio, including a stretch on the Mission Trail.

The planning, engineering (including lock system for barges), attention to detail, artistry, sensitivity to ecological issues, adaptation of geographical features, and acknowledgement of the history and style of the River Walk makes this a project worth tweeting about. What's good for San Antonio will be good for Trinity. It's all connected.

Tour notes:
- The Twitter tour was entertaining to see. Young and middle-aged professionals, all donning white hard hats (exemptions were inexplicably made for the WOAI camera man - and Andi) had to navigate the river walkway while tweeting about the tour. The group met at the Tomatillo's afterward to talk or tweet about what they had tweeted about when they took their twitter tour.
- I could listen to Steve say "Lock and Dam" all night long. Bonus track - "You can see the dam structure." I would have tweeted that one.
- Steve showed us fish "lunkers" (though we can call them fish boxes, if the term lunker makes us uncomfortable) where fish can hang-out to get away from the sun. Who knew?
- People were able to purchase bricks with their names etched on them. They are placed alphabetically along the walk. One jumped out at me as the best: "Mr. Lucky's Tattoos." It should have been in ink and I think belonged in the L's rather than the M's, for obvious reasons, but who am I to judge. I should have bought a brick.
- There is a foot bridge that used to be at the San Antonio Museum of Art, but was moved someplace nearby and now is noted for having been where it no longer is.
- There is a piece of an old dam (Alamo Mill Dam) that protrudes from the water, except it is really a new addition to the old dam that is still underwater, but is illuminated at night.
- There is a new island to remind people of old islands in the river.
- There are four public restrooms along the walk, but businesses are supposed to grow along the street-level to accommodate tourists with more restrooms... until they undoubtedly post signs that say "restrooms for paying customers only."
- There are bridges along the way that have art including a sound exhibit, 25 hanging fish, and a grotto sculpture that looks like a pooping gnome. The grotto also features roots in the wall, even though they are really just made of concrete.
- One of the bridges is under Brooklyn Avenue and is called the Brooklyn Bridge.
- There is a bat colony under another bridge.
- Finally, there is a pavilion that overlooks the lock and dam area. It is called the "Lock and Dam Overlook Pavilion."


The Kemps said...

SO cool!! Thanks for sharing!!

Andi Narvaez said...

The one good thing about not having to wear the hard hat is that when something falls on my head I get to rock the bruised bumped on my head with a cool, wavy set of non-hard hat hair. Worth it!!

Thank you for coming out yesterday Dean Tuttle. You take some good notes for someone who's not used to the whole Twitter feed, hashtag thing.

Let me know when I can follow @MRwriteontime.

PS: Nice alliteration.