SAN ANTONIO – The Brackenridge Park Conservancy has recruited a new CEO, Talli Dolge, who will lead the organization’s ongoing pursuit of key improvements for some of San Antonio’s more significant midtown assets, including a $62 million plan unveiled more than a year ago to restore and expand Sunken Garden Theater.
Her onboarding comes as the City of San Antonio and other stakeholders seek funding for the historic park affecting multiple projects, including a significant transformation of the more than 90-year-old amphitheater that will be reliant in part on a portion of the City of San Antonio’s most recent bond package.
“This is about needs,” said Dolge, who was the unanimous pick among the conservancy’s six-member search committee, a process that also included an assist from a local consultant, Shannon Nisbet and included a pool of 20 finalist candidates.
What the conservancy particularly needs now is more funding to carry out its vision for the nearly 350-acre park, nestled between a bustling Broadway Street and U.S. Highway 281, north of downtown.
The conservancy’s board chair, Nick Hollis, is confident the city will contribute as much as $25 million toward the Sunken Garden plan, which includes new seating and other infrastructural improvements, as well as the build out of new guest facilities including concessions and merchandising areas. Leadership has set its sights on $25 million from Bexar County and the remaining balance, $12 million under the current plan, would come from the private sector.
“I’m pretty confident we can lay our hands on the money,” Hollis said.
The Brackenridge Park Conservancy was established in 2008 with a significant assist from the Conservation Society of San Antonio, which engaged Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, founder of the Central Park Conservancy in New York and a San Antonian, to study the merits of creating such a group in the Alamo City. According to the organization’s 990 form for 2020, its revenue less expenses for the year topped $260,000 and it had net assets of more than $986,000.
The conservancy has a 15-member board and a five-member executive committee. Joe Turner had led the organization in an interim capacity as it sought a permanent CEO.
Dolge, a native New Yorker, has an appreciation of what Central Park has meant to that city. Now, her task is to help improve Brackenridge Park and rescue a historic entertainment venue that city leaders have warned is on the verge of disrepair.
Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.