How do you see these old gas stations in the future?

Filling stations could be marked as historic landmarks

SAN ANTONIO – An old gas station in the heart of San Antonio’s near west side Deco District was given new life as a hip pizza restaurant.

Now the city is looking at Deco Pizzeria on Fredericksburg as an example of how to preserve the legacy of other old gas stations around town.

San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation is reviewing 30 old filling stations, considering the possibility of designating them as local historic landmarks.

Take for example 2318 Fredericksburg Road, just down the way from Deco Pizzeria. That old gas station is now Taqueria Huentitan Jalisco Mexican Restaurant. If it is approved to move forward, the building could gain a historic landmark status. When designated, businesses would follow a process, and in many cases, avail themselves to substantial tax credits that are available for rehabilitation of the building’s exterior.

Neighbors gathered Tuesday night at Deco Pizzeria to share ideas about the more than two dozen properties up for consideration as historic landmarks. They looked at photographs of the buildings on foam board and had the opportunity to write their ideas about what the buildings could be.

The idea isn’t to freeze San Antonio in time, Shanon Miller, who oversees the Office of Historic Preservation, said. It’s about wanting historic properties to have life and be a vibrant part of the community going forward.

"Historic properties can contribute to the walkability of our downtown, they contribute to our overall environmental sustainability and most importantly our cultural sustainability because they really help tell the story of who we are as a community,” she said.

Miller admitted that myths are alive and well when it comes to historic preservation. Many times, people will assume that a historic designation comes with a mound of bureaucratic mess. She clarified, though, that historic designations make no impact to the use or ownership of a property. It also does not place any restrictions on the interior of a structure.

“Our historic buildings are so much a part of what makes San Antonio unique and what makes San Antonio special and so we want to make sure that we’re protecting the ones that warrant protection, and one of the ways to do that is to get input from the public about what they think is important,” Miller said.

The event is part of Scout SA, an overall initiative to identify places that are significant in the city. Other types of structures will be considered in the future, but this particular study is focused on old filling stations.

The discussion is open-ended. People can make notes and comments, ask questions, and talk about their memories of the building.

Comments will be consolidated and then specific structures will be identified to go before the Historic Design Review Commission. If they are approved there, the full city council would then be able to discuss the buildings and eventually, officially mark the building as a local historic landmark.

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