Esperanza Peace & Justice Center supports the Hays Street Restoration Project and
Eastside Historic Preservation Group in the movement to preserve Hays St Bridge

Hays St Bridge

en español
No To Privatization Of Public Spaces
No To Cultural And Historical Erasure

No To Gentrification & Displacement

Yes To Fair And Just Public Process
Call 210.228.0201
to find out
how to get involved!


Join the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group for
Eastside Stories: Community Histories of the Hays Street Bridge

WHEN: Saturday, October 5th
, 2013

10am @ Lockwood Park under the covered pavilion, 801 N. Olive St

WHO: Eastside neighbors, the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group & Community Allies like YOU!

Hays Street Bridge 1960sWHY: Did
you grow up using the Hays Street Bridge --- to travel, to hang out, to practice your climbing skills?

Do you want to learn more about the history of this beautiful landmark that has sparked so much discussion and debate about the FUTURE OF THE EASTSIDE?

If so, meet us for a community history event to share your stories, memories and photographs - or just to listen and learn!

Co-Sponsored by the Hays Street Restoration Group and the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center. | Call 210.228.0201 for more information.

This event is part of the "Cities of Hope" Series of Puentes de Poder (Bridges to Power), a public education program at Esperanza Peace & Justice Center. Click here to read more...


If you missed the "What is Economic Development, Anyway?" panel earlier this summer, come to . . .

"From Economic Development to
Our Right to the City

WHEN: Sunday, September 29th
, 2013

10am @ Travis Park United Methodist Church, 230 E. Travis St, 78205

Everyday, we hear that the downtown area and its surrounding neighborhoods are prime locations for something called "economic development." But what does this term actually mean, and do the projects that fall beneath its banner live up to promises made? Whose interests has it served historically? Who has gotten left out? Who decides? Is it really "economic development" that we want, or is it something else? And if it is something else, what is it, and how can we create it?

These questions are at the heart of a new social movement called "Right to the City, which advocates for affordable housing, the rights of tenants and homeless people, clean and healthy urban environments, access to healthy food for low income people, just and affordable transportation, preservation of public spaces, and real opportunities for everyone to participate in decisions about city life.

This talk introduces the Travis Park community to this movement as well as to the Esperanza community. Come listen to Esperanza's 26-year history of working for social, economic, and environmental justice in San Antonio through art and culture. Meet the Travis Park community, a queer-friendly, diverse downtown church whose mission is "Unconditional Love and Justice in Action."

we oppose:

• the City of San Antonio selling the land north of the bridge to any developer

• allowing commercial use of any part of the Bridge

• connecting temporary or permanent attachments to the Bridge

• brewery higher than any of existing buildings

• brewery closer than 50 ft to the bridge
  we support:

• moving the land from Assets Management to Parks and Rec rolls

• honoring the restoration process in place by realizing the land use vision proposed and developed as a collaboration between the Restoration Group and COSA

• continuing to push and seek funding for completing this vision (linear railroad history park)

• public investment for public amenities

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Puentes de Poder
- dates subject to change -



Restoration Group and Supporters to File Legal Challenge to City's Betrayal of Public Process and Public Lands

WHEN: Thursday, December 6th

12 NOON @ east end of the Hays Street Bridge
1:00 PM  @ the Bexar County Courthouse (North entrance across from Main Plaza)

WHO: Eastside neighbors, the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group & Community Allies like YOU!

As you know from previous updates, the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group collaborated for many years with the City of San Antonio to restore the Hays Street Bridge, entering into a contract with the City in 2002. According to the terms of this contract, the Group would raise local funds required to match the federal money used to restore the bridge. The contract also required the city to use this funding only for the restoration project, which would include facilities for historical education and public access to the site. It was in the context of this agreement that the Restoration Group not only raised almost $200,000 in local matching funds, but also solicited and received the land near the bridge, for the purpose of developing it as a park that would allow community and educational use of the restored bridge as a historic landmark.

This week, members of the Restoration Group and community supporters will file a lawsuit at the county courthouse over two significant violations of trust. The first and most immediate is the breach of contract that took place when the City betrayed the community’s interests in its decision to move forward with the Alamo brewery project. The second, related betrayal is the City’s violation of public trust and public lands in ignoring the signatures of 2800 registered voters calling for a public vote on the land sale, as required by state law. This law represents a long standing recognition that park land – whether designated, used, or understood as such – belongs to the people, not to municipal government that holds public land in trust for them. For this reason, the state of Texas treats public lands as deserving of special protection from exactly the kind of privatization schemes we see in the Alamo Beer case.
Through this lawsuit, we hope to open a wider campaign of community education on who “economic development” is for, why it historically has benefited a privileged few at the expense of many, and what a true strategy of community-based development and cultural preservation might look like. In the wider context of the City’s current efforts to seek exception to these legal protections for park land in the case of Hemisphere redevelopment plans – especially related to the ethics violation involved in these plans – it is important to insist that the city honor its obligation to public space and public process.

Join us this Thursday, December 6th for a community event that will begin at 12 noon at the east end of the Hays Street Bridge and travel by bus to a press conference at 1pm at the north entrance of the Bexar County Courthouse (100 Dolorosa).

Call 210.228.0201 or 210.878.6751 for more info

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Join us as we file a lawsuit to protect public access to this important community landmark!

This week, the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group and community supporters will file a lawsuit against the city’s plan to commercialize the bridge and sell nearby land originally intended as a park. Join us for a press conference starting at the Bridge and traveling by bus to the Bexar County courthouse.

When: Thursday, December 6th 

Time and Location: 12 noon @ east end of the Bridge (Hays and N Mesquite - look for the Daisy tour bus). OR meet us at 1pm @ the Courthouse (north entrance across from Main Plaza)

Who: Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group, Eastside neighbors, and Community Allies like YOU!


PRESS RELEASE  09-30-2012

Restoration Group and Thousands of Community Supporters to Petition City for Public Vote on Hays Street Land Sale

WHAT: Press conference to announce submission of petition signatures to the City of San Antonio, challenging the city’s sale of land north of the Hays Street Bridge

WHEN: 2pm, Monday, October 1st
, 2012

WHERE: Front steps of City Hall, 100 Military Plaza

WHO: Members of the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group, Eastside Historic Preservation Group, Westside Preservation Alliance, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and other petitioners

As a part of their years of work to restore the Hays Street Bridge, members of the Restoration Group solicited and received land adjacent to the bridge for a park that would enhance the community's enjoyment of this historic structure. This land was given to the City of San Antonio so that it could be used for the Hays Street Bridge park, and has been a central element in city and neighborhood plans for the area. Despite these commitments, despite a previous petition that included signatures of 800 community members, and despite a lack of final approval on the project from federal and state agencies, the City voted on August 2nd to approve a "sale" of the land for $295,000 and the immediate return of that amount to developer Eugene Simor, in a thinly veiled give away of public land for private profit.

Texas law gives citizens of San Antonio a right to prevent such reckless misuse of public land. Today the Restoration Group and its allies are submitting a petition opposing this sale, signed by over 2750 registered voters. Because of this petition, city officials may not proceed with the sale of the park land surrounding Hays Street Bridge until it is approved by the voters in a popular election.

In the wake of National Public Lands Day, we wish to remind City leaders that the Hays Street Bridge is very important to our community as a public place to walk, bike, and enjoy nature. This is especially true given that the Bridge is one of the few hike and bike paths located in the central city, and given the lack of open green space in working class neighborhoods within San Antonio. As the city gears up to redevelop downtown, the struggle over the Hays Street Bridge predicts a wave of similar struggles to preserve such public spaces and historic structures for people over profits--or at the very least, to keep the question open as to who development is for and who gets to decide. We are petitioning the city in this spirit, to ask that these important decisions over land use be entitled to the most inclusive political process possible. 


What is this petition all about?

On August 2nd, 2012, San Antonio city council voted to sell land north of the historic Hays Street Bridge to a developer so that he can build a brewery there, attaching to the bridge so as to use a significant portion of its deck for the placement of tables and chairs. Hays Street Bridge is the last FREE unobstructed view of downtown left, and the city’s actions have in effect sold this view and the public right of way to a private owner.

The city argues that the land sale that makes the bridge takeover possible is legal, since 803 N. Cherry is “surplus” rather than park land. We disagree with this argument. A long paper trail of city documents suggests that for many years, city and neighborhood plans classified the land north of the bridge as park land. Moreover, community activists worked for many years to get the bridge and land donated to the city for development as a park. They raised almost $200,000 in local matching funds required to obtain the federal money needed to restore the bridge. In accepting the land, the bridge, and the funds raised through community efforts, the city also implicitly accepted community expectations that this land would become park land and part of the city’s hike and bike greenway system.

According to Texas state law, if a city wants to sell park land, there has to be a public election first. If not, we can challenge the sale through a petition process requiring signatures from 1500 registered voters living in San Antonio city limits. By signing this petition, you are saying:

• NO to the sale of the land to brewery developer;

• NO to a public process that favors the interests of private developers over community;

• YES to people being able to vote on whether the land should be sold or kept as public land

The land was donated for the wider public benefits that come from having community access to open space, parks, and historic structures in our neighborhoods. Please sign if you agree with these ideals, and oppose the way the city does business when it comes to land use decisions!

Whose bridge? Our bridge!

By now, many people have heard that last Thursday, City Council voted in favor of selling the land North of the historic Hays Street Bridge to Eugene Simor, developer of a proposed microbrewery.

In addition to the land sale, Council voted to give Simor an incentives package worth $794,000 (not including Inner City Reinvestment Infill Policy fee waivers); they also approved one-time licensing agreements that allow Simor to use 23,191 square feet of land beneath the bridge for events, to place tables and chairs on the bridge deck at an area of 1190 square feet (approximately 11 feet by 108 feet), and to attach a skywalk to the bridge approaches.

With space on top, underneath, and on either side of the bridge under private control and surveillance, what the City’s vote amounts to is the privatization and corporate gatekeeping of an historic structure and public right of way.

While this outcome was expected, if disappointing, one interesting detail to emerge at the meeting was Councilwoman Taylor’s confirmation that, according to records maintained by Taylor’s predecessor Sheila McNeil, the land North of the bridge had in fact been intended for development as a park for the community up until the developer pitched his proposal to the city. While Taylor’s admission of this crucial detail validates what the Restoration Group and their allies have maintained, it is all the more shameful that the city went forward with the land sale and incentive package, even while formally expressing gratitude to the work of the Restoration Group for their work in securing the donation of both the land and the bridge to the city--not to mention the $189,000 in local matching funds used to acquire federal funding to restore the bridge to its present condition.

For this reason and others, we continue to maintain that the actions of the City in this case continue a long history of corporate welfare and land grabbing, an appropriation of public resources for the private gain of a single corporate entity.

Moreover, this appropriation was made possible because the Restoration Group was excluded from the planning process, as was a broad segment of long-time Eastside residents who do not echo the City’s preferred, narrow understandings of “development,” as do San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside and those members of the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association who benefit politically and economically from trickle down development strategies.

In the long term, it is important to understand the kind of social forces and political dynamics that produce these kinds of struggles over land use, so that we are better prepared with the arguments and analysis we need to mobilize community to resist. It is important to understand contemporary struggles over land use decisions in the context of colonial histories of settlement and displacement—a “continued relocation of native people from their homelands,” as Susana Almanza, Sylvia Herrera, and Librado Almanza argue gentrification represents. To those ends, we intend to continue using the bridge as a public space to further these conversations through performance, film, and culture as much as through community organizing. In fact, one of the most beautiful things to emerge from the lead up to the vote was the creative energy unleashed by publics of all kinds—neighbors, cyclists and pedestrians, artists, youth and elders–who came together to insist that, in the words of the banner hung before the Council vote, we “keep business off OUR bridge.”

In the short term, the struggle is not over despite Council’s intentions. The license agreements which would permit Simor to use the bridge deck and underside and to attach a skywalk to the bridge’s concrete approaches are still contingent on approval by the Texas Historic Commission, the Texas Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration. Yet even if these agencies approve, there are still a number of options open to us as a community organizing around the defense of public space and historic preservation in our neighborhoods, and in service of our dreams and visions for what happens to the land we remain intimately connected to–land that the developers, gentrifiers, and land grabbers call “surplus,” “vacant,” “blighted.” Yet we must ask: Surplus to whom? Vacant for whom? For those who favor the sale of land and deep cultural history for short term profit for some, this is perhaps too fine a point. Because we understand it, we know the fight cannot be over.

- Esperanza Peace & Justice Center

Save Hays Street Bridge!
Land for Public Views, Not Private Micro-Brews!

In 1998, a group of Eastside residents began a process to restore the historic Hays St Bridge. As part of this process, the City of San Antonio in 2007 accepted donated land on Cherry St for use as a community park that would compliment the bridge.

Today, we find the restoration process threatened by the city of San Antonio and the Alamo Beer Company, which wants the city to sell them the donated parkland for the purpose of building a microbrewery and rooftop restaurant/beer garden that would connect to the bridge. The brewery would block views to and from the bridge, and more importantly represents commercial interests restricting what was intended for community access and public use.

Many people assume this is a done deal, but it is not, with your help! The Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group and the Eastside Historical Preservation Group call on all community members who care about preservation of cultural history and public space to help in any of the following ways:

Ask the City of San Antonio to maintain historic gateway and landmark functions of the bridge. This means:
• A Park, Not a Brewery, Should Occupy Land at Cherry and Lamar Sts
• Commercial Business Should Not Be Allowed on the Bridge
• No Temporary or Permanent Attachments Should be Connected
• Views To and From the Bridge Should be Protected and Not Blocked

1. Attend the City Council meeting Thursday, August 2 where council will vote on an incentive package for Alamo Brewery as well as the sale of the city-owned land north of the Bridge originally intended as a park. We need to pack the meeting with bodies to say NO to privatization of public land, NO to gentrification and displacement, and YES to a park and to fair public process. Agenda Item 30
. If you can't attend the meeting, Call or email your councilperson!  Contact Info

2. Help collect signatures of family, friends and neighbors for a community petition against the brewery. Contact Ms. Davis at 210.609.9248 for more info, email for a pdf, or stop by 922 San Pedro!

3. Request that your local church, neighbhorhood association, or other organizations in your network support and speak out on this issue.

4. Print & distribute flyers. Click here to download.

Contact 210.228.0201 for more information.

Documentation of public process to develop land as a park:

Hays St on 4th of July

en español


¿Porque esta petición?

El 2 de agosto de 2012, el concilio municipal de San Antonio votó a favor de vender los terrenos al norte del histórico puente de Hays Street a un promotor de negocios que quiere construir una cervecería en estos terranos, conenctando la cervecería al puente, con el fin de utilizar una gran parte de este para mesas y sillas. El puente de Hays Street es la última vista del centro LIBRE y sin obstáculos, y la ciudad ha vendido esta vista panoramica que está en la vía pública.

La ciudad alega que la venta de terrenos que hace posible la adquisición del puente es legal, porque 803 N. Cherry es tierra "excedente" y no tierra del parque. No estamos de acuerdo con este argumento. Hay muchos documentos de la ciudad que sugieren que durante muchos años, planes de la ciudad y el barrio han clasificado la tierra al norte del puente como tierra perteneciente al parque. Activistas comunitarias también han trabajado durante muchos años para conseguir el terreno junto con el puente donados a la ciudad para el desarrollo de un parque público. Se recaudaron casi $200,000 en fondos locales necesarios para obtener el dinero federal para restaurar el puente. Al aceptar la tierra, el puente, y los fondos recaudados a través de los esfuerzos de la comunidad, la ciudad implícitamente aceptó las expectativas de la comunidad que son: que esta tierra se convertiría en un parque.

Según la ley estatal de Texas, si una ciudad quiere vender la tierra del parque, tiene que ser una elección pública en primer lugar. Si no es así, nosotros los votantes podemos oponernos a la venta de esta con un proceso de petición requiriendo firmas de 1500 votantes registrados que vivan en los límites de la ciudad de San Antonio. Al firmar esta petición, usted está diciendo:

NO a la venta de terreno público para una cervecería;

NO a un proceso político que favorece a los intereses de los promotores privados más que los de la comunidad

SÍ a un voto público para que la gente puede decidir si la tierra debe ser vendida o se mantenga como terreno público

Los terrenos fueron donados para el amplio beneficio público y ese significa tener acceso comunitario a espacios abiertos, parques y edificios históricos en nuestras vecinidades. Por favor firme si está de acuerdo con estos ideales, y si se opone a la manera en que la ciudad hace decisiones de uso de la tierra!

Rescate el Puente Histórico de la Calle Hays!
Queremos Terrenos para Vistas Públicas, No Para Cervecerías Privadas!

En 1998, un grupo de residentes del lado Este de la Ciudad de San Antonio (Eastside) inició un proceso para restaurar el Puente Histórico de la Calle Hays. En 2007, como parte de este proceso, la Ciudad de San Antonio aceptó la donación de terrenos en la calle Cherry, para darles uso como parque comunitario que complementara la restauración del puente.
En este momento el proceso de restauración está amenazado por la ciudad de San Antonio y por Alamo Brewing Company, una compañía que quiere comprarle a la Ciudad de San Antonio el terreno donado para la restauración. En turno, esta empresa quiere utilizar el terreno para construir una cervecería/restaurante conectado al puente. La cervecería bloquearía la vista desde y hacía el puente, y lo que es más importante, la construcción de esta cervecería representa únicamente intereses comerciales, mismos que restringen los planes para el acceso público y para comunidad.
Mucha gente asume que éste es un acuerdo cerrado , pero con su ayuda no será así. El Grupo para la Restauración del Puente de Hays Street junto con el Grupo para Preservación Histórica en el Eastside le piden a todos los miembros de la comunidad, preocupados por la preservación cultural del Eastside y el acceso comunitario al espacio verde, que ayuden en cualquiera de las siguientes maneras:
1. Por favor, asistan a la primera reunión del Concilio de la Ciudad (City Council) en Agosto. Debemos llenar la reunión con mucha gente que diga NO a privatización de terrenos públicos, NO al encarecimiento y desplazamiento comunitario y SI a un parque y a un proceso público que es justo.
2. Por favor, ayúdenos a recoger firmas: de su familia, amigos y vecinos del Eastside para una petición comunitaria contra la cervecería. Póngase en contacto con la Sra. Brenda Davis en el 210.609.9248 para más información o para obtener las peticiones.
3. Pida que su iglesia u otras organizaciones a su alrededor apoyen este tema.
4. Imprima y distribuya folletos. Oprima aquí para descargar.

Contáctenos en el 210.228.0201 para más información.

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Press Conference: Thursday, Nov, 2012  2pm @ front steps of City Hall
Press Conference: Monday, October 1, 2012  2pm @ front steps of City Hall
Press conference to announce submission of petition signatures to the City of San Antonio, challenging the city’s sale of land north of the Hays Street Bridge
Community Meeting: Wednesday, August 15, 2012  7pm @ Hay's Street Bridge
Press Conference
August 1, 2012
@ Hay's Street Bridge
corner of N. Cherry & Hays St
Stand with us!

Performative Action
August 1, 2012
@ Hay's Street Bridge
corner of N. Cherry & Hays St
Featuring Zombie Bazaar, Fabiola Torralba, Poets, Beats y mas!
City Council Mtg
August 2, 2012
9am @ 114 W. Commerce

get there early to sign up to speak!
Agenda Item 30

Film Shoot :: Call for Extras Friday, July 27th  6:30pm @ Hay's Street Bridge
Local filmmaker ERIK BOSSE needs EXTRAS of all ages -- gente on bikes, with dogs, in "jogging suits," etc. -- for a short film to be screened next week in council chambers. Shooting through 10pm. For info or to confirm your participation, call 210.228.0201
WANT TO GET INVOLVED? we need help with flyer outreach, phone calls to community about these events, media outreach, gathering petition signatures y más ... call 210.228.0201 or email


PRESS RELEASE: Preserve Hays Street Bridge as Historic Landmark and Public Space!   7/30/2012

Hays Street Bridge issues complex 
7/26/2012 | S.A. Express News

QueQue: Beer dreams get upper hand in Hays St Bridge Scuffle   7/4/2012 | SA Current

Hay Street Resistance: micro-brewery or community park 6/25/2012 | SA Current

East Side brewery plan wins key support  6/28/2012 | S.A. Express News

Plans for East Side brewery gains momentum  3/17/2012 | S.A. Express News

Alamo Brewing could lure downtown traffic to the Eastside, if the city cuts a deal 7/20/2011 | SA Current

East Side residents right to fight for real economic development  8/26/2011 | S.A. Express News

East Side brewery closer 7/19/2011 | S.A. Express News

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Hays Street Bridge

Archived Outreach Materials
Quarter sheet flyer for August 1 Performative Action -

HaysSt - Aug1 Action - 4up  (pdf - 741kb)

Hays Aug 1 Action
- Aug 1 Action flyer by Amanda Silva

Please help by collecting signatures from friends, family and neighbors. Hays Petition - click to download
For a pdf of the petition email
Drop off all petitions at Esperanza. Call for info!!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Half Sheet Flyer - 2up
(pdf - 614kb)

Hays Flyers - download & distribute

Quarter Sheet Flyer - 4up
(pdf - 647kb)

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