Now that downtown’s newest park has opened across from the Frost Tower, its caretaker, a familiar name to Spurs fans, says locals can expect the green space to flourish with activity in the coming year.
Weston Urban, the park’s owner, has hired San Antonio native David Robinson Jr., son of Spurs legend David Robinson, as director of parks and recreation.
The 1.2-acre park, which Weston Urban acquired from Frost Bank in the recent land deal that resulted in the new Frost Tower, resides along West Houston Street between North Main and North Flores streets.
Two weeks ago, fencing around the park, which had been completed for months, were finally taken down. Only Pinkerton's Barbecue, located inside a newly-built 5,000-square-foot restaurant on the park's north end, remains closed.
"This is more of a soft opening for us," Robinson Jr. said. "Early next year, we really want to open the park up once Pinkerton's opens. I think next year will be more of a coming out party, but it was important for us to open the park to people right now.
"There has been so much negativity and one good thing could help the people."
Robinson is planning programming and events to bring people together at the park. His ideas included screenings for movies or sporting events in a possible partnership with Alamo Drafthouse. He's also considering outdoor fitness classes, recreational sports and company meetings.
The park consists of a large green space semi-enclosed by a curved berm, and Mexican sycamore trees—all of which were added to the mature oaks that already lined the space.
There’s also a vine-covered pergola along North Flores. Tables and chairs are spaced six feet apart for social distancing and Christmas lights have been set up on the trees along the pergola. Robinson envisions the area as being popular with couples on date night.
A wide paved promenade along Houston Street, also lined with tables and chairs, is an extension of the one built next to the neighboring Frost Tower when it opened last year.
Robinson Jr. emphasized how crucial the green space is for the downtown area.
“Downtown has a lot of parking lots and people don’t get to enjoy the fresh air or be outdoors because we don’t have much green space in the area,” Robinson Jr. said. “This will help people gather responsibly, enjoy the outdoors, and make people happy.”
The "main staple," as Robinson Jr. described, is Pinkerton's.
Once large gatherings are permitted, Robinson Jr. envisions crowds coming out after work to grab sliders and a beer, or enjoying some barbecue during Spurs game days. He also hopes Pinkerton’s becomes a main attraction in the downtown nightlife scene.
Robinson Jr. expects the barbecue joint to open its doors at the beginning of next year.
He said he's open to any programming ideas from the public, and reassured that safety protocols would be taken during Covid-19. After the pandemic?
“We would love to host events here at the park in the future, during Fiesta or Oktoberfest, and see possible wedding receptions being held here,” he said.
For now, Robinson and his team have created safety measures to ensure individuals feel safe while visiting the park. Measures include sanitizing publicly-used spaces, hand sanitizer dispensers gifted by Centro San Antonio, and social distancing regulations along with enforcing the mask mandate.
Robinson said the Pearl’s creation of chalk circles in their greenspace area that distance people six feet apart was an excellent idea that the park could use once foot traffic increases.
Weston Urban park is currently operating during the daylight hours and Robinson said an official name for the park has not been decided.
“I think people will be blown away about how lush, green and vibrant the park will be in five years,” Robinson said.
Rocky Garza Jr. is a freelance journalist in San Antonio. Follow him at @r0ckssss_ on Twitter