San Antonio River Walk - Citizens' Alert sign now

CITIZENS' ALERT

The unique character of the San Antonio River Walk is under great threat. Todays River Walk economics make an uneven playing field between smaller locally-owned businesses and national chains. If this trend is allowed to continue, it will result in the eventual destruction of the River Walks ambiance.

These problems are urgent! If steps are not taken now, it is our fear that as the years go by we will see Dennys, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Wendys and other similar chains in locations along the River Walk.

Local operators who have always given the River much of its character are already being squeezed out. As chain activities increase, competition among various chains would further bid up rents, exacerbating these problems.

One of the River Walks principal strengths has always been its uniqueness. Chain operations, by their very nature, strive for sameness and avoid uniqueness. It is obvious that the River Walks appeal will diminish to visitors if its offerings are identical with those of the visitors hometowns.

Also of concern is the bringing of a Las Vegas style and taste to the River Walk. The Las Vegas faux reality style, exemplified by the new Rainforest Cafй, stands against the consistency and quality of style built into the River Walk from its inception.

The original River concepts fostered by Robert Hugman, the San Antonio Conservation Society, Maury Maverick and the City of San Antonio and brought into modern times by David Straus, Hap Veltman and others are seriously threatened by the desire to quickly cash in on the River Walks success.

The River Walk is an asset of such huge importance to the City of San Antonio, both economically and culturally, that it must be very carefully protected.

PETITION

1. We propose that the City Attorney present a strong ordinance to limit chains and franchises on the River Walk to those already existing, and to encourage development that is in keeping with Hugmans original plans and which reflect the character of San Antonio.

2. We agree with The Express-News that a distinct River Walk Advisory or Advocacy Commission is necessary. We believe that members should be nominated by specific groups. For example, the San Antonio Conservation Society, the San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Downtown Residents Association and /or other to-be-affected neighborhood associations, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Paseo del Rio Association would nominate potential members. This group of nominees would nominate a seventh member at-large and in this way allow participation by specific members of the community who have a deep knowledge of the River and its history. All nominees would be approved by the San Antonio City Council and the Commission would operate under the auspices of the Citys Historic Preservation Officer. A similar group of similar size was a vital element in the River Walks early development.

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Juliet SparksBy:
TelecommunicationsIn:
Petition target:
San Antonio City Council

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