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Wilson County News February 29, 2012 | 1,294 views | 1 comment
FLORESVILLE -- The city is home to a historic jewel, Rancho de Las Cabras, part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. At this time, the historic rancho isn’t connected to the missions it once supported; however, the National Park Service is seeking public input to determine if such a connection may be feasible in the future.
To that end, the park service hosted a public meeting Feb. 25 in the Floresville City Hall council chamber, to outline a feasibility study current under way. Insight and input were invited from area residents, Floresville city officials, economic development organizations, and others to determine if a 30-mile corridor highlighted by the park service could be developed into a historical trail or otherwise designated.
Krista Sherwood with the National Park Service outlined a feasibility study, inviting comments from participants about areas of historic significance that could become part of a historic trail. However, she specified the park service has no funds at this time to develop anything from the findings.
LaJuana Newnam-Leus with the Wilson County Historical Society advised participants there was no reason why local organizations, cities, or the county couldn’t capitalize on the findings and provide signage and otherwise promote historical sites, whether the park service does or not.
The corridor outlined by park service representatives links Mission Espada in south San Antonio to the Rancho de las Cabras in Floresville; these are connected by the San Antonio River, but also by the historic Camino Real de los Tejas, which comes through Elmendorf. Two areas for potential designation as National Historic Trails include Espada Road, south of Mission Espada, and the inactive rail corridor from Elmendorf to Floresville, Sherwood told participants. The rail corridor closely follows the old La Bahia Road, she said.
Steven Gonzales, executive director with the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association, encouraged everyone to identify sites and offer their input for the feasibility study. He advised that heritage tourism brings income and economic development to communities.
“As we move forward, people will come and spend their money, even when there are no signs,” Gonzales said. “When the trails come, economic development comes with it.”
The National Park Service hopes to complete its study by 2016, the 100th anniversary of the park service, by which time it also hopes to have the Rancho de las Cabras open to the public.
“We want to know what you want to see happen in your community,” Sherwood said.
Further meetings on the feasibility study and the potential for historic trails in the area are slated for:
•Monday, March 12, 5-6:30 p.m., St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Parish Hall on Kilowatt Road, Elmendorf
•Monday, March 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Oak Hills Community Church Life Center, 90 Eagle Creek Boulevard, Floresville
•Tuesday, March 20, 6-7:30 p.m., Mission Espada Hall, 10040 Espada Road, San Antonio.