The City of San Angelo and the local firm of Kinney Franke Architects today won the coveted Park Design Excellence Award at the Texas Recreation and Park Society Institute and Expo in Corpus Christi for their work on the Concho River improvements.
Formally known as the Concho River, Parks and Trails Rehabilitation Project, the $15 million project transformed much of the river downtown. The improvements included removing 1.5 million cubic feet of silt from the river bottom, stabilizing more than a mile of banks to stem erosion, and adding amenities that make the riverside parks and trails more inviting and provide options for active recreation.

Among the new features are renovated fountains that circulate the river’s water; public artwork; carved limestone panels recessed into lighted, stone columns that depict the flora and fauna of the Concho Valley; interactive chimes; a rehabilitated four-mile trail and outdoor exercise equipment; and LED uplighting beneath four bridges.

The project’s focal point is “The Bosque,” a games area and gathering place set among a grove of trees and lit by LED Tivoli string lights draped between truss-like, steel towers. The games court includes eight washer pits, a bocce ball court and an oversized chess board. Picnic tables and grills are scattered throughout.

The project was celebrated in October during the first annual “River Fest,” a full and fun day of color running, canoeing, paddle boating, washer pitching, bocce ball tossing, skateboarding, bounce house jumping, horseback riding, trail walking and concert going.

The award application noted, “The universal reaction to the improvements: WOW! And the increased traffic along the trails is proof of that. The Concho River, Parks and Trails Rehabilitation Project has helped San Angeloans reconnect not only with what is their community’s most alluring physical asset, but with their neighbors. And, at its core, isn’t that the point of a park?”

The Texas Recreation and Park Society is a professional non-profit organization that promotes and advocates for parks and recreation facilities and services in Texas communities.