Decade of Downtown
Alamo Brewing could lure downtown traffic to the Eastside, if the city cuts a deal
Published: July 20, 2011
But resistance came when he proposed using that lot for parking and building the brewery on the city land to the north instead. Because the brewery needs to be 40 feet at its highest point to accommodate the vertical fermenters needed to make the beer at a large enough volume, building on Alamo’s existing lot would mean blocking the view of downtown from a portion of the bridge.
Simor and economic consultant Trey Jacobson are trying to work out a swap with the city, trading protection of the view for the land on the other side of the bridge. But Nettie Hinton, an Eastside activist and part of the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group, said the Dawsons were going to sell the land until she approached them with a few others to ask the brothers to donate it for a park. Hinton said the land — which had primarily been a staging ground for Budweiser trucks to load up and make deliveries — was valued at $250,000 at the time of the sale. And that the Dawsons even paid for an environmental assessment of the lot.
City officials say there are no stipulations on how the land can be used, and Vincent Dawson sent a letter to Juan Garcia, president of the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association, saying he didn’t object to a brewery on the site because it fulfilled his goal of having the donation be a cornerstone for community development, Garcia said.
“Some people want a fifth park in the area, but developing the land directly under the bridge would connect the bridge to Maverick Park and the Eastside to Lower Broadway,” Simor said.
But Hinton says Simor’s plan violates the spirit of the bridge restoration; she called the city “immoral and illegal” for considering anything but a park for the land and said Simor is “cherrypicking and appropriating it for his own benefit.”
District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor is waiting to see what the community wants before she gives definitive backing for a brewery or a park. “We’ll have a series of neighborhood meetings to find out as a neighborhood how to plan and meet our goals,” Taylor said. If the city shoots down Simor’s proposal for the city land and he develops his existing land tract, Taylor said she would do what she could to stop a taller structure from going up on the south side of the bridge, or at least minimize the impact of it.
While Taylor is on the fence about the fate of the city land, she is in support of more businesses in the neighborhood and wants to push infrastructure improvements, like sidewalks and drainage improvements, in the 2012 bond election to stimulate development.
And yet a park could prove to be a difficult proposition: Only 15 houses in Dignowity Hill would be closer to a possible Dawson Park than to the four parks already in the area, and there is little money in the city budget (and no water) to care for the existing parks.
Hinton charges that it is mostly newcomers to the neighborhood who claim existing parks are underutilized. “Some people are only concerned with property values,” she said.
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