Commissioner asks community for naming ideas, solidifies his record for turning around abandoned properties.
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert welcomes the next step forward in purchasing land for a county flagship park by acquiring the former Woodlake Golf Course for use as a public park. Located between Woodlake Parkway and Walzem Rd, the 161.72-acre purchase is set to become the largest park owned by Bexar County following the $4.5 million land acquisition from Woodlake Acres, LLC.
The new Woodlake park will straddle FM-78 and sit between Walzem Rd. and Woodlake Parkway.
In September 2021, Commissioner Calvert fought for $10.5 million in the budget for this project, as it was left out when other precincts were given funding for flagship parks. Two years and four months after Court approved the funding, the project has finally been proposed for the land acquisition by staff. Setting aside $500,000 for the park’s engineering and planning study, the county hired Westwood to begin initial conceptual planning.
Today’s vote in Commissioners Court follows Calvert’s discussions with Arboretum San Antonio that led to it partnering with the County and Brooks Development Authority to transform the old Republic golf course into a ‘public oasis’ consisting of a 19-acre County park and 170-acre arboretum. The project was approved last year and exemplifies Calvert’s vision of repurposing abandoned spaces for the public, rather than letting them fall victim to neglect and disrepair.
“The County will begin to mow the lawn, put up signage, create some trails, put in some parking, get fishing, tree planting, and other initiatives started to preserve the beautiful homes and lands near Woodlake. This area is full of families but has never had a real county park and not nearly enough for children and families to do—we’ve now begun to change that. I hope to have great indoor pavilions for family reunions, events, concerts, and birthday parties but I look forward to hearing what the residents want in a town hall we will schedule soon,” says Commissioner Calvert.
According to a feasibility study, the new park could eventually include playgrounds, bike trails, an outdoor theater, a disc golf course, and a butterfly garden. The park will include two tracts of land connected by a low-crossing bridge under FM-78.
Concept for bridge under FM-78.
Potential amenities may include boardwalks, playgrounds, a butterfly garden and more.
The status of this property had been questioned by locals since the Woodlake Golf Course was sold to Woodlake Acquisitions in 2013 when the San Antonio River Authority moved to foreclose it due to unpaid water bills.
Commissioner Calvert will be soliciting ideas from the community via social media for the park’s future name. “It could be a concept like ‘Unity Park’, a name of a historic leader who has given to the community, or even the name of nature that lives on the parkland. We are open to the ideas of the community as to what the name should be,” explained Calvert.
Preserving and Sharing African American Cultural Heritage
The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM) is the first and only African American archive and museum in South Texas, and its mission is “to collect, preserve and share the African American cultural heritage of the San Antonio region.” Having quickly outgrown its current location, it has identified the Kress and Grant buildings on Houston Street as the next home for its offices and archives, as well as a research library, expanded gallery spaces, auditorium, and event spaces.
In October 2023, Commissioner Calvert voted as a member of the Houston St. Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) Board to approve $6,250,000 in funding to permit the SAACAM to acquire and rehabilitate the Grant and Kress Buildings.
As a member of the Commissioners Court, Calvert is leading the charge to seal further funding for SAAACAM from Bexar County’s Capital Improvement Funds. If approved, the organization will receive $5,000,000 to acquire property for office space at its new location.
“With its new location only two blocks from the Alamo, locals and visitors downtown will finally be able to contemplate and engage with the important cultural contributions of the city’s African-American community,” says Commissioner Calvert.
Funding for community organizations
Commissioner Calvert has requested approval for a list of nonprofits to receive funding in Precinct 4 only, granting $25,000 to River Aid San Antonio, and $15,000 to Urban Champions Academy.
River Aid San Antonio mobilizes local citizens and businesses to clean our waterways and promote environmental stewardship. In November 2023, Commissioner Calvert participated in a trash cleanup of the Salado Creek area with River Aid San Antonio following an aerial inspection by helicopter with Charlie Blank, the organization’s Executive Director.
Urban Champions Academy is a charitable organization that provides San Antonio’s urban youth opportunities to build character, learn civic responsibility and develop social and leadership skills through the soccer experience.
In addition, Commissioner Calvert has requested the allocation of outside agency funding in the amount of $2,000 for American Legion Fred Brock Post 828, a pillar of San Antonio’s eastside veteran community.
The Commissioner has consistently advocated for veterans and for the integration of military families into the local fabric of Bexar County. One of his first actions in office was to save Randolph Air Force Base from closure as chairman of the Randolph Joint Land Use Committee. He negotiated consensus between the Air Force, property owners, political leaders, and developers to stop the encroachment of housing around Randolph. More recently, he secured $400,000 in funding to create a statue commemorating the heroism of the Buffalo Soldiers.
Commissioner Calvert has also served as the honorary civilian commander of the 12th Flying Wing of the US Air Force, the Honorary Civilian Commander of the 433rd Flying Wing of the U.S. Air Force, attended the Air Force War College National Security Forum for Civilians, and even flown a T38 fighter jet. Because of his work, General Isler assisted Commissioner Calvert into the National Committee for U.S.-China Relations Young Leaders forum, which is the “40 under 40” for the United States and China.
Contact: Jonathon Holler, firstname.lastname@example.org, 210-609-9559