Jim Mery - Interim Director
The River Walk Operations Division is responsible for the maintenance of the the River Walk. They coordinate the operations of the San Antonio River Improvement project to ensure implementation of improvements to include maintenance, river operations, security, utilities and any other work required.
Owned by the City of San Antonio and maintained by the Downtown Operations Department, the River Walk is San Antonio's premiere tourist attraction. The River Walk's history begins in the early 1920s when city government made plans to convert the San Antonio river into a storm sewer system by straightening the river and diverting its water through a concrete tunnel in order to prevent flooding. Efforts by citizens to save the stream resulted in the founding of the San Antonio Conservation Society.
Later in that decade an architect named R. H.H. Hugman developed plans for river improvements that included a River Walk. Community leaders supported this idea and during the 1930s the WPA and the National Youth Administration sponsored projects to build some of these improvements. In the early 1960s, a committee from the Chamber of Commerce together with a committee from the American Institute of Architects worked to further improve the river.
The River Walk provides a downtown staging ground for public festivals and celebrations such as Fiesta Noche del Rio, Fiesta de Las Luminarias and Las Posadas. It also affords San Antonians' and visitors alike a safe and attractive pedestrian system for the downtown. There are 3.51 miles of walks lining the banks of the river in the heart of the city. The pedestrian can step from the street to the river level and encounter trees, plants and flowing water. Plant-life, maintained by Downtown Operations, flourishes at river level. The security is maintained by Park Rangers who patrol by foot and by boat.