Friday, July 30, 2010

Member Rediscovers River during Chapter Event

The history of the River Walk can be traced back to 1536, and has been the lifeblood of the area ever since…first with life sustaining water for both visitors and eventually inhabitants, and now as a tourist attraction that significantly impacts the economy of the area.

On June 30, the PRSA/SA Chapter and local IABC Chapter held a joint mixer with the San Antonio River Foundation at the oldest VFW Hall in Texas. The Southern-style plantation home was the perfect setting for us to get on a barge to float on the year-old Museum Reach of the River Walk.

The weather was perfect. The storms held off, the temperature cooled, and the evening was extremely relaxing and tranquil as we passed through lush landscaping and under some amazing artwork. Probably the most famous artwork are the 25, 7-feet long fish under the I-35 overpass adjacent to Camden Street. My favorite was the “sonic passage,” where world renowned sound artist Bill Fontana placed sequenced speakers under the bridge to emit a blend of recorded and live broadcasts from multiple locations along the river. It is eerily calming to the senses.

Another highlight for me was going through the lock and dam system. I’ve been through many of these across the U.S., but big or small, it is always amazing and a thrill for me. I don’t understand the engineering of it at all, and that mystery helps make it special.

As we glided along, we were told about the next phase for the River. It won’t be accessible by barge, but will form a unique park space throughout the Missions area with new hike and bike trails along the banks of the San Antonio River. Through the work of the San Antonio River Authority and the San Antonio River Foundation, this Mission Reach will be completed in 2014.

Those earlier explorers knew what an important gem the river flowing through this area was going to be to the survival and vitalization of the area. The San Antonio River Authority’s mission is to protect and preserve our shared water resources and pursue innovative solutions that will serve generations to come. I’m grateful for what our forefathers and our current leaders are doing to revitalize the river, while keeping its charm and even some mystery intact.

Guest Post by Monica Faulkenbery, APR, Assistant Communications Director for NISD and a board member for the PRSA San Antonio Chapter. This event was free to members. For more PRSA events, visit the chapter web site.

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