Throughout the World Heritage Symposia Series that started in late 2015 and other community meetings with neighborhood groups, residents, and business, the City of San Antonio identified the need to assess the existing conditions within the World Heritage Buffer Zone and along the World Heritage Trail. The World Heritage Beautification Assessment was published in June 2016 and it identifies potential strategies and opportunities to improve the visual character and perceived safety, comfort, and function of spaces along the World Heritage Trail. Since 2016, residents and visitors to the city’s World Heritage area have benefited from the recommendations and other beautification projects outlined in the document.
The Assessment identifies developing standard banner graphics for use along vehicular routes mounted on existing light poles as a way to reinforce wayfinding. In 2016, branded banners were installed along the World Heritage Trail.
Launched in 2016, banners with historic photos were installed. These were gathered as part of the Office of Historic Preservation’s cultural mapping project. These photo banners were installed to serve two purposes: wayfinding and to exhibit the rich historical and cultural heritage of the area. View the map to find locations and see the online image gallery.
U.S. 90 UNDERPASS BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT
In 2018, the World Heritage Office initiated a public input and design process for improvements for the U.S. Highway 90 Underpass Beautification Project. During this process, residents and community members voiced the need for benches, picnic tables, sidewalks, lighting, artwork, and landscaping. Additionally, participants requested that improvements be accessible for seniors, such as wider sidewalks for those that require walking assistance, as well as lighting to make the area more inviting and safer.
In summer 2020, the World Heritage Office was selected as an AARP 2020 Community Challenge Grant recipient for a component of the U.S. Highway 90 Underpass Beautification Project. The “quick action” project is located below the U.S. Highway 90 Underpass at Mission Road (World Heritage Trail) and Steves Avenue. This project will include a design enhancement and bench seating that complements the “Windows to Our Heritage” public art project, as well as to help activate a new public space and beautify the underpass. The City is also making infrastructure investments to this underpass location, as well as S. Presa Street and Roosevelt Avenue that includes sidewalks, hardscape, and landscaping.
View details here about the U.S. Highway 90 Underpass Beautification Project, including the project at Mission Road and Steves Avenue funded by AARP. See a 360-degree view of the project area here.
Public Art Opportunities
Another of the physical improvements recommended was to identify and develop public art opportunities along the World Heritage Trail. As a result, in fiscal year 2017 the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture and World Heritage Office began collaborating with community partners and other City departments on a multi-site public art project.
The World Heritage Mural Trail is a series of functional murals placed in key areas along the route, in order to reinforce and enhance the visitor experience, while also providing an aesthetic vision that reflects the rich history and culture of the missions, people and neighborhoods within the area.
The project includes installations at Stinson Municipal Airport; Villamain Road at the Loop 410 underpass; Mission Parkway at Southeast Military Road; and US 90 at Roosevelt Avenue, Steves Avenue, Mission Road, and Presa Street.
The first mural installation at Stinson Municipal Airport was dedicated in May 2017. The final installation, the US 90 underpasses, was dedicated in April 2018.