February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 24

People for Parks
Transforming Travis Park

Revitalization efforts at a small Texas park inspired a local businessman to
spearhead programming designed to build stronger community ties
By Casey Whittington

W

alk through any big city in the U.S. and you will undoubtedly
come across a park in need of some tender loving care. Often,
as a city grows, priorities and investments shift. Green space
and urban parks can suffer as a result. What were once beautiful gathering spots for the community become places to avoid.
separated from the mission by streets
and buildings, the park had lost its
once-charming appeal from simple
neglect.
The city recognized an opportunity
to revitalize the park and received investments from the private sector, led
by Southwest Airlines and the San
Antonio Parks Foundation.
After a $500,000 renovation that
included replacing sidewalks and furniture, as well as adding a new community bikeshare point, the park was
ready for a new future. DiGiovanni
saw an opportunity to provide new
life for the park. How do you reverse

David Rangel

Travis Park in San Antonio, Texas, was one such place in need of renewed focus to make it great again.
What makes Travis Park special is
not its size or features, but its history. This fact was not lost on Pat DiGiovanni, CEO of Centro San Antonio, a company dedicated to fostering
a vibrant, thriving urban core in Texas' second-largest city.
Travis Park, located in the heart of
downtown San Antonio, was once
part of the Alamo mission, the site of
the famous Battle of the Alamo that
served as a catalyst for Texas' fight
for independence from Mexico. Now

22	 Parks & Recreation

| F E B R UA R Y 2 0 1 5 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

Pat DiGiovanni

decades of opinions? " One day at a
time, " DiGiovanni says.
After the facelift, " We wanted to
show the community that Travis Park
was once again a place for families, "
DiGiovanni says. To get families to
the park, DiGiovanni and his team
hosted a series of themed events at
Travis, starting with the Fall Festival,
a free event with a pumpkin patch,
scarecrow contest and face painting.
The occasion was a huge success and sparked thoughts of " what
next? " DiGiovanni drew upon his
previous experiences in cities such
as Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Surfside Beach, South Carolina. With the
holidays approaching, DiGiovanni
provided 250,000 reasons to come
to Travis Park to celebrate. Installing
250,000 holiday lights transformed
the space into a vibrant explosion of
cheer and brought scores of people to
the newly renovated park.



February 2015 - Parks & Recreation

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