Texas Historical Commission
On May 29 and 30, 2014, archeologists from Hicks & Company conducted a 100-percent intensive areal survey of the Elmendorf Lake Park Improvements Project in Bexar County, Texas. Subsequent monitoring work was conducted on June 11, 2015. The project area consists of the limits of Elmendorf Lake Park and its associated existing trail system from south of Commerce Street between Southwest 24th Street and 19th Street, and along the north and south banks of Apache Creek beginning approximately 200 feet north of Commerce Street and terminating at Southwest 24th Street, an area that includes a segment of the Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) campus (Figure 1).
According to current design plans, the proposed project includes trail improvements, water quality improvements, property acquisition, street realignment, utility relocation, parking lot construction, park bench and shade structure installation, channel modification, the demolition of the existing pool, and the creation of a new pool (Appendix A: Sheets SL1.00–SL1.14). Other planned improvements include signage, elevated walkways and tie-ins with existing paved roads, parking lots, and outfalls and bio-swales (Appendix A: Sheets DT1.01–DT1.24). The proposed project will be constructed on land that is owned and controlled by the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), the City of San Antonio (COSA) Parks and Recreation Department, and OLLU, all of which are political subdivisions of the State of Texas. Therefore, the proposed project is subject to the requirements of the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT). The project will also likely require federal permitting under Section 408 of the Clean Water Act, necessitating compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended.
The intensive pedestrian survey took approximately 32 labor-hours to complete and was supplemented by shovel testing (n = 34) in relatively undisturbed contexts. Following survey-level investigations, a small-segment of the park, where bridge support piers would be installed well below a meter in depth, was recommended for archeological monitoring by the COSA Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) during construction. Monitoring at this location was conducted on June 11, 2015 and resulted in the recordation of no new archeological sites.
Based on the results of the current investigations, it is recommended that no archeological historic properties (36 CFR 800.16(1)) or State Antiquities Landmarks (13 TAC 26.12) will be affected by this project and that no further archeological investigations are necessary for the majority of the proposed project area prior to construction at the main body of Elmendorf Lake Park and the proposed trail system improvements on the west of 24th Street and on the OLLU side of the Lake. However, in coordination with the COSA OHP, due to planned impacts beyond the limit of shovel test investigations, it was determined that excavations for pier supports at the two planned foot bridges at the “island formation” will require archeological monitoring during construction. A separate, historic standing structures survey is to be conducted by Hicks & Company and will further address direct and indirect effects to these items under the ACT and Section 106 of the NHPA of 1966, as amended.
Report production immediately followed the conclusion of fieldwork. Josh Haefner served as the Principal Investigator for the project, and Gregg Cestaro served as Project Archeologist. Josh Haefner and Gregg Cestaro conducted the survey investigations. Archeological monitoring was done by Meghan Egan and Josh Haefner. Gregg Cestaro, Josh Haefner, Samantha Champion, and Ashleigh Knapp authored the report. Subsequent sections of this report include a discussion of the environmental setting, cultural background, brief discussion of previous surveys and recorded sites, description of field methodology, and discussion of the results of field investigations. The report concludes with formal regulatory recommendations.
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