So far, the redevelopment of Hemisfair has been mostly on paper, but planners are working to pull the park’s future into focus for residents. Officials are hoping holiday events starting on Halloween will bring families back to to the park.
There’s before and after, and right now Hemisfair Park has a great “before.”
“There’s a lot of love towards Hemisfair, towards the 1968 Hemisfair and what it did for our city. And there’s a lot of love for the playground," said Rachel Holland, spokeswoman for the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation. The first event is “HemisFear” on Halloween night.
“The Majik Theater actually is creating a spooky maze for young children to run through, with actors that will be dressed up in costume," said Holland. "And the old, historic homes down Goliad Street will be decorated and activated into trick-or-treat destinations.”
It can be a challenge to gain support for plans that aren’t developed yet.
“How can we use this as a way to really engage people beyond just coming to party or coming to enjoy the space and really interest and support in the transformation and the actual redevelopment effort,” said Holland of the central challenge in redeveloping the park.
H-PARC is planning other events through the holidays to familiarize residents with the visions for Hemisfair, and to solicit their ideas for the transformation that will take place over the next 10 to 15 years.
“If you like what’s there now, you’re really going to be blown away by what’s coming,” said Holland.