Finishing a feat: Cape workers pitch in to help with Texas project

Monday, January 16, 2006
Drury Southwest crews worked on finishing the San Antonio Riverwalk recently. (Submitted photo)

After Drury Southwest construction crews pack up at the end of summer 2006, the 20 million visitors flocking to San Antonio, Texas, each year will be able to walk a complete loop on the city's famous Riverwalk.

Crews are in the process of constructing an 850-foot walkway to connect the Riverwalk into one continuous loop. The project is an extension to the existing horseshoe-shaped walkway, which runs along the San Antonio River's downtown flood channel.

Drury's construction crews had nine days to complete the walkway substructure while the river was drained from the channel for its annual cleaning.

Last Thursday, Drury Southwest crews completed the substructure with 30 minutes to spare and the city opened the river gates to allow the flood channel to fill up.

"It was a logistical feat to get this done in nine days," said Rick Drury, stockholder, director and legal counsel of Drury Southwest Corp. "Crews were working 24 hours a day to complete it."

Drury said construction workers from Cape Girardeau were sent to San Antonio to help complete the task.

"We've been planning this project for months and so when the time came to drain it this year, we went right to work," Drury said.

The Riverwalk's current design gets congested at times, Drury said. "Making it a complete loop will greatly improve the flow of traffic."

Created in the 1920s, the Riverwalk was originally constructed to attract tourists to downtown San Antonio. Today the Riverwalk is full of restaurants, shopping centers, hotels, a financial district and a museum.

"With the exception of the Alamo, the Riverwalk is probably the top tourist attraction in San Antonio," Drury said.

The entire cost of the project is estimated to be $3 million.

"It appears from the crowds gathering at the viewing areas, and from watching television interviews, that the locals are extremely excited and supportive of our efforts," Drury said.

When the extension of the walkway is complete, it will include special lighting, a boat landing and a waterfall in front of the new Drury Plaza Hotel, set to open this fall.

Drury Southwest Corp. is restoring the 24-story Alamo Bank Building in San Antonio's downtown district. More than 100 feet of the new section of Riverwalk will travel in front of the new 370-room Drury Plaza Hotel.

"Since we're renovating the hotel, we thought it was important for it to be on the Riverwalk," Drury said. "We feel its an important project for the citizens of San Antonio as well."

The new hotel will include an outdoor swimming pool on the 22nd floor, an indoor swimming pool, banquet rooms and a ballroom.

Drury Inns Inc. will operate the new hotel in San Antonio. The Missouri-based, family-owned and operated hotel system has more than 117 hotels in 17 states.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

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