Fate of Old Fredericksburg Road could come soon

Opponents say roadway represents history

SAN ANTONIO - The fate of a short stretch of Old Fredericksburg and Boerne Stage roads could be decided in a few days as developers hope to buy up the land to extend a potential multi-use project.

Just off the westbound exit #551 off Interstate 10 in Leon Springs lies a quiet stretch of Old Fredericksburg Road that sits along the front of the Aue Stagecoach Inn, a National Register of Historic Places site.

The roadway, however, has received much less attention or respect in its old age.

"The roadway itself is historical in nature as that's where the stagecoaches used to go and make their stops, but it's also historical in that it faces the old buildings that were there," said Demetrio Duarte, who lives in the area and has worked to help a group of preservationists and residents opposed to the shutdown of the roadway.

On Aug. 30, the Texas Transportation Commission will decide whether to close down the section of the road along with a small section of Boerne Stage Road at the request of the city of San Antonio.

If the roads are closed and given to the city, San Antonio has agreed to sell the 2.9 acres of land to a pair of development companies that already own a large parcel of land to the north of the road. They have plans to build a mixed-use development which would include at least 260 condominiums.

"If you sell that off to a private developer, the possibility is the front of those buildings will no longer be accessible to the public," said Duarte.

During the last legislative session, HB 1499 passed, which requested the Texas Historical Commission examine the stretch of roads known as the Old Spanish Trail Highway, which may include the debated section of Old Fredericksburg Road.

A spokesperson for THC said there is no timeline for when that report will conclude. Duarte would like to ask the TTC to delay the decision until the THC has finished its report.

"They've not completed that process, so it seems to be putting the cart before the horse, so to speak, by giving the land away before the Texas Historical Commission has had the proper opportunity to make all of the proper findings," he said.

That strip of roadway has become a back road for many drivers on the access road who either try to avoid traffic at Leon Springs Elementary or are heading to Rudy's BBQ and the Grill at Leon Springs. The road often becomes a parking lot for those locations.

If the roadway is shut down, Duarte said plans are in place to widen the intersection under the Interstate 10 overpass, as well as potentially make the westbound access road a two-lane one way.

A turnaround at Boerne Stage road would also be built along with a two-lane one way eastbound access road behind Leon Springs Elementary.

"Nobody's ever going to stop development but there's a big difference between letting all development come through and accomodating development while maintaining the historical nature of the community," said Duarte. "I don't think anyone wants to see the development fail. We're more interested that the development co-exists with the history that's part of Texas."


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