This series provides readers the opportunity to learn about the unique insight and experiences of the River Authority Board of Directors and their personal connection to the San Antonio River in hopes of inspiring stewardship of area creeks and rivers.
Jerry G. Gonzales was born and raised in the south side of San Antonio and attended Harlandale High School. He is a manager for HEB grocery company and has been with the company for 34 years. Mr. Gonzales has been an advocate for the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project and a strong supporter of the Westside Creeks Restoration Project. He has been a board member of the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) representing Bexar County District 1 since 2013. His current term expires in 2025.
What is your favorite section of the San Antonio River?
Celebrating with project partners the last tree planting of the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration & Recreation Project in 2017.
I was born and raised in the south side of San Antonio, thus making what is now known as the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk my favorite section of the river. I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I see families gather and enjoy the river and activities surrounding the Mission Reach segment just like I enjoyed and continue to enjoy the same river I grew up in.
Of all the River Authority’s current safe clean, and enjoyable projects and efforts, which do you think is the most impactful or inspiring?
I am most excited to see the completion of San Pedro Creek Culture Park, located on the western edge of downtown, as its location and purpose are essential to the actively growing area. Its art, design, and historic preservation exemplify what it means to live in San Antonio. The park will be built with a total of four phases, with three segments in phase 1. Phase 1, Segment 1 is complete and currently open to the public; the second segment of Phase 1 is currently under construction from Houston Street to Nueva Street. When the four phases are completed, the park will span 2.2 miles through downtown, beginning at IH-35 at the flood tunnel inlet at Santa Rosa Street and ending at the confluence of the Alazán and Apache Creeks at IH-35 to the south.
Why is it important to be stewards of the San Antonio River Basin and protect area creeks and rivers?
It’s important to be stewards of the San Antonio River Basin and protect area creeks and rivers because doing so has a direct impact on our community. Our river tells the story of San Antonio and the history of our civilization. We need to protect it and have respect for the culture it helped develop. We can see direct results through keeping our rivers clean as more people use them and we see plants flourish and animals thrive.
What is a positive action someone can take to Be River Proud?
One positive action someone can take to Be River Proud is to support implementation of green infrastructure practices throughout the basin to help treat stormwater runoff. An example of this is having a rain garden with native vegetation that helps filter water before it reaches the storm drain.