LHI Chronology

DATE

Happenings

1979

City resolution authorizes City Water Board to proceed with plans for reservoir construction.

1982

Application made for Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit to impound Applewhite Reservoir. Issued in 1989

1989-1991

Land Purchases made for the CWB Applewhite Reservoir on Medina River, planned for supplemental drinking water for City of San Antonio.

1991

1st city referendum election held after petition drive, narrowly fails, construction halts.

1992

City Water Board changes to San Antonio Water System and Applewhite Plan revised, construct= ion on revised plan begins.

1994

2nd citywide referendum election after another petition drive, citizens again vote down construction of the reservoir. City council stops work and orders SAWS to drop state and federal COE 404 impoundment permit and dispose of properties within legally binding COE programmatic stipulations (Ordinance 80= 632, SAWS Resolution 94-187).

1996

Friends of Medina River (FoMR) formed with Bonnie Conner as President.

1994-1996

Legal issues and potential site owners investigated, stakeholders identified.

August 1997

SAWS board endorses the Medina River Charrette ideas. This includes conservation easements, Land Heritage Institute concept. (August 12, 1997)

1997

SAWS enters into memorandum of understanding with FoMR and the American Institute of Architects and South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to hold a planning charrette for Medina River Properties. 80 participants attend day long planning workshop co – sponsored by FoMR, AIA, SAWS and South San Antonio Chamber.

1999

SAWS board provides Texas A&M $100,000 grant to study Land Heritage Institute concept, develop partnerships, seek state funding. TAMU has five years to develop 1,640 acres of property acquired by SAWS for the defunct Applewhite Reservoir.

2000

Texas A&M delivers planning document for Land Heritage Institute of the Americas is delivered to SAWS. (December 2000)

2001

South San Antonio Chamber holds LHI partnership workshop in Fall of 2001. Congressman Ciro Rodriquez sponsors second federal Camino Reales bill in Congress.

2002

The Land Heritage Institute Foundation is incorporated and granted Federal tax exempt status. Twenty four organizaions participate in the cooperative effort to secure ownership of the property

2003

Toyota Motor Manufacturing announces it will locate a truck manufacturing plant on 2,700 acres adjacent and north of the LHI site.

2004

SAWS transfers the LHI site to the City of San Antonio.

May 14, 2005

Heritage Day Celebration: Ha yrides to 10,000 year old archeological site, bird-watching with the San Antonio Audubon Society, chuck wagon lunch, performance by Conjunto Heritage Taller and American Indians in Texas

Summer 2005

– 400 fourth graders from San Antonio Independent School District provided guided tours the property by land authorities of American Indians of Texas and Bexar Land Trust

– LHI acquired grant funds from t he San Antonio Conservation Society for stabilization of a historic barn, part of the Presnall-Watson Farmstead; without this necessary intervention, the barn was in danger of collapse.

– Texas Historic Commission dam embankment stabilization

Summer/Fall 2005

Historic Resource Assessment Plan for the Persnall-Watson House by Fisher-Hecht (AIA)

Fall 2005

Acquisition of historic early 20th century carrier pigeon from the Toyota property, stipulated by the Texas Historic Commission as property items that must be salvaged for conservation purposes.

Fall 2005

Wildflower seeding

Ongoing 2005

Two American Indians in Texas “Rites of Passage” camping retreats for fifteen to twenty male youths from indigenous peoples’ communities
Countless tours for visiting tribal entities, media, students and other interested parties
Land transfer activities/Deed Restrictions negotiations with City of San Antonio and Toyota
University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Master’s Thesis completed on the Land Heritage Institute by Jason Wynn
Mitigation efforts for Toyota enhance LHI wetlands and riparian forest.
May 6, 2006

San Antonio Conservation Society’s Historic Preservation Month Heritage Day Celebration at LHI: The Presnall-Watson Heritage Site, a farm complex including a main dwelling, which grew from a stone house built between l853 and l860, a barn, smokehouse, water tank, tool shed and two buildings moved from the Toyota site (old Walsh Ranch). Hayrides to a 10,000 year old archaeological site with guides Dr. Alston Thoms and Kay Hindes, bird-watching tour with the San Antonio Audubon Society; Americana-folk music played by The Laven Family, conjunto music by the Conjunto Heritage Taller and drumming/song by the American Indians in Texas

June 2006

LHI included as an essential pa rk in the San Antonio River Authority’s San Antonio River Basin Plan for Nature Based Parks, a regional plan for development of park resources based on present park resources and assessment of future needs; LHI represented by a seat SARA’s Regional Parks Coordinating Council. SARA plans to include LHI on a proposed paddling trail on the Medina River

Ongoing 2006

Two American Indians in Texas “Rites of Passage” camping retreats for fifteen to twenty male youths from indigenous peoples’ communities
Countless tours for visiting tribal entities, media, students and other interested parties
Land transfer activities/Deed Restrictions negotiations with City of San Antonio and Toyota
Palo Alto College held events at LHI for their Physical Education Department which including primitive camping, orienteering, wildlife observation and ecology.
Mitigation efforts for Toyota enhance LHI wetlands and riparian forest.
LHI is the set location of a student film for University of Texas Austin School of Fine Arts.
LHI is one of the sites used by students for the Bexar Land Trust “Picture Your World” youth photography contest
May 2007

Internal Revenue Service determines and issues 1050 letter ruling that LHIF qualifies as a 501c3 nonprofit organization eligible to receive tax deductible charitable donations. In the five years subsequent to the preliminary ruling in May 2002, LHI has raised and faithfully expended over $100,000 in cash contributions and roughly an equal amount in in-kind donations.
LHI receives the contribution of 10 head of registered Texas Longhorn cattle from the Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry. Subsequent to this donation, two of the cows have calved. LHI currently has a dozen Longhorns on the hoof.
May 4, 2007

AIA Convention 2007: Workshop “TP44 Ecological Crossroads”: Discover a cross-section of San Antonio regional ecology by visiting the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center and the Land Heritage Institute. Nature is continually renewing itself at these two sites that have become vital eductioan and recreation resources for an under-served San Antonio community. Their unique ecological value is found in the complex mixture of brushland, grassland, mud-flat riparian and lake zones. Designated a wildlife refuge in 1973, Mitchell Lake is one of the top birding spots in this region with sightings of 307 species of birds. Just a little further south is the Land Heritage Institute’s Medina River property only in the beginning stages of providing unique educational opportunities highlighting the presence of 10,000 years of archeological artifacts and 30,000 years of flood plain data. Limited to 50 people.” (AIA Convention 2007 catalog)

May 5-6, 2007

WildFest San Antonio LHI on-site event- The mission of WildFest San Antonio is to educate residents and visitors about San Antonio’s unique natural and historical environments an= d to increase awareness of nature in and around San Antonio.

June 26, 2007

City of San Antonio City South Management Authority passed resolution in support of the missions of LHI and the transfer of the property to the LHI board of directors.

October 10, 2007

City of San Antonio Planning Commission approved LHI plan. This approval is the last procedural step before the City Council’s public hearing and approval of the transfer.

October 20, 2007

A hike and bike trail is surveyed on the LHI property for the establishment of over 4 miles of trail within the confines of the property will connect city natural areas through LHI to Mitchell Lake wetlands and the Spanish colonial missions. The City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department develop the trail in cooperation with LHI with previously passed City of San Antonio Bond funds.

November 6, 2007

San Antonio River Authority Boa rd of Directors Operations Committee passed a resolution in support of the development of LHI. Full SARA board is expected to pass a resolution of support on November 14, 2007

Ongoing 2007

Two American Indians in Texas “Rites of Passage” camping retreats for fifteen to twenty male youths from indigenous peoples’ communities
Countless tours for visiting tribal entities, media, students and other interested parties
Land transfer activities/Deed Restrictions negotiations with City of San Anonio and Toyota
Palo Alto College held events at LHI for their Physical Education Department which including primitive camping, orienteering, wildlife observation and ecology.
Mitigation efforts for Toyota enhance LHI wetlands and riparian forest.
LHI is one of the sites used by students for the Bexar Land Trust “Picture Your World” youth photography contest.
March 6, 2008

City of San Antonio City Council Meeting Public Hearing considering conveyance, subject to restrictive covenants limiting the development and use of the property to conservation, green belt and similar uses of approximately 1,173 acres of real property south of the Medina River located in City Council District 3 to the Land Heritage Institute Foundation (LHI), a non-profit corporation

May, 2008

LHI educational presentation to the Audubon society; about 40 people attend

July 3, 2008

San Antonio City Council votes to transfer Medina River property to Land Heritage Institute

July, 2008

Acquired by donation to the American Indians of Texas, a collection of scale-sized Mayan replica concrete statues for purposes of preservation and presentation at Land Heritage Institute
Two groups of senior adults, totaling approximately 100, viewed the property from a large tour bus and watched a power point presentation about LHI.
Ongoing 2008

Two American Indians in Texas “Rites of Passage” camping retreats for fifteen to twenty male youths from indigenous peoples’ communities
Countless tours for visiting tribal entities, media and other interested parties
Palo Alto College held events at LHI for their Physical Education Department which including primitive camping, orienteering, wildlife observation and ecology

Interview with LHI President Mark Oppelt on May 8, 2009 [Interview]