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San Antonio plans transformation of old golf course into state's largest arboretum

(SBG San Antonio)
(SBG San Antonio)
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SAN ANTONIO- Taking something old and turning it into something new. That’s what planners for the San Antonio Arboretum are hoping to do in the coming years.

The future project will soon be a city destination for outdoor activities, nature walks, and hiking. The CEO of the San Antonio Arboretum Thomas Corser says, “It’s really going to be a destination on the southeast part of town where historically there hasn’t been a lot of equity balance. This is an effort to kind of correct that.”

The future San Antonio Arboretum will be here at the Old Republic Golf Course on the Southeast Side. It will be 188 acres and will also include a water recycling contract.

"Which will mean you can put about 20 inches of water on there, recycled water that won’t have to affect the Edwards aquifer and that’s a really big benefit," says Corser.

Corser can’t wait to transform the former golf course into a place for trees.

"What trees are going to be here 50 years from now when we’re dryer and hotter than what we are right now,” says Corser.

In addition to the arboretum being along Salado Creek, it will also have a variety of hiking and biking trails.

“Our aspirations are very high in terms of the quality of the arboretum we’re going to build here,” says Corser.

Access to the land won’t take place till August. Corser says a year of master planning will then take place and build-out will be in phases. Each phase will take between 2 to 3 years each.

"We’ve already got 7.3 million from Bexar County that will be approved in August," says Corser.

With more than 7 million dollars already secured, Corser says federal and state grants are also in the works. He adds Brooks City Base is a significant investor contributing 1 million dollars to buy the land.

"Stay at Brooks and visit the arboretum, go to the arboretum and stay and play at Brooks so it’s a great symbiotic relationship there," says Corser.

There are arboretums in Houston and Dallas, but once San Antonio’s is finished it will be the largest sitting at 188 acres.

"This will be a destination. Our aspirations are very high in terms of the quality of the arboretum we’re going to build here," says Corser.

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