SAN ANTONIO - Phil Hardberger Park officials made a major announcement Wednesday morning regarding the proposed land bridge over Wurzbach Parkway set to connect the park’s east and west sides.
“I am very happy to announce that we have fulfilled our commitment to the city,” said Phil Hardberger, the former mayor and park president for whom the park is named. “We have raised $10 million in the past year.”
That money will help fund the $23 million project after the city allocated money from a $13 million bond. Hardberger said what’s so special about the $10 million raised is that it all was made possible through generous donors.
“It was a hard year’s work raising that money,” Hardberger said. “I will never do it again, but I will say that I am real happy. We started working on this five years ago, so I am very thankful for all of the people who helped make this possible.”
The land bridge is being named after Robert L.B. Tobin, one of the donors with the Tobin Endowment that donated $1.5 million.
“Robert Tobin was a wonderful philanthropist here in San Antonio,” Hardberger said. “He did a whole lot, was a major donor in the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts and his memory deserves to be kept in San Antonio.”
Hardberger said the bridge is about more than just connecting the park.
“What is important about this is the beauty behind it,” Hardberger said. “It is the first of its kind in the United States. I’m sure more will come down the line, but right now, we have one right here in San Antonio. It will be beautiful and spectacular.”
Parkgoers said they were eager after the announcement.
“I think it will be interesting and it will be safer for people to see what the other side of the park looks like,” said Stephanie Scott.
“This will have a major impact on families and children,” said Brenda Benitez. “I think it is great, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like.”
“I think it will be real nice, especially since we have seen dead animals being hit trying to cross the road, and it will be beneficial for the wildlife around here,” said Bernardo Reyes.
Though Hardberger mentioned the benefits behind the bridge, he also acknowledged traffic concerns during the construction process.
“During the construction process, I would have to say I'm sorry,” Hardberger said. “There is a time if you are going to improve San Antonio, not with just this bridge but anything they do here, generally, it disrupts traffic and this will not be an exception.”
He said the good news is that the construction will not completely shut down Wurzbach Parkway, but it will slow traffic down due to limited lanes.
“There is no quick way that you can wave a wand. You just have to put up with it until it is done, and then I think they will think it was worth the effort,” said Hardberger.
Hardberger said the construction process will begin Monday and the bridge is expected to be completed by Christmas 2019.
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