SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 19, 2016) – The Historic Rehabilitation and Completion of the Ellis Alley Enclave, led by VIA Metropolitan Transit, has been awarded a 2016 Honor Award from Preservation Texas, a group that supports historic restoration advocacy and education. The Ellis Alley enclave represents the remnants of the first African-American “freedom colony” in post-Civil War San Antonio and was a hub for the city’s African-American community through the first decades of the 20th Century. The award announcement also serves as an observance event of this year’s Black History Month theme, “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African-American Memories.”
“Ellis Alley represents a very meaningful piece of San Antonio’s history, and VIA, as a good corporate citizen and community partner, is proud to have played a role in preserving this important history and ensuring the enclave continues to serve a valuable purpose in our region,” said VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt.
VIA received the Honor Award for its work in restoring a group of six century-old structures on the near-East Side. VIA opened the Ellis Alley Park & Ride in May 1999, rehabilitating two of the structures in the enclave to use as the Charles B. Shannon Customer Information Center, which opened in 2002. A third building was converted into a private dental office at a later date. Then in August 2014, VIA finished the rehabilitation of the historic Beacon Light Lodge, and the restoration on the remaining two structures was completed in September 2014. The rehabilitation has served as a catalyst for economic development.
“The Ellis Alley Enclave is an evocative place that tells an important story about Texas history,” said Preservation Texas Executive Director Evan Thompson. “The commitment to bringing these buildings back to life will ensure that Texans will remember the challenges and successes of post-Emancipation life in San Antonio.”
VIA’s Transit Investment Partners included the City of San Antonio Department of Planning and Community Development TIRZ and the San Antonio Conservation Society. The project team included architecture firms Ford, Powell & Carson Architects and Planners, Inc. and Mainstreet Architects, Inc.; engineering firms Cleary Zimmerman and Calvetti & Associates; contractors Baron-Long Construction, Inc. and TLI & Environmental Services, Inc.; and community partner, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE).
VIA Metropolitan Transit provides public transportation services to 13 cities in the Greater San Antonio Region and the unincorporated areas of Bexar County. VIA operates seven days a week on 90 routes, and provided 44 million rides across the region in 2015. VIA’s mission is to enhance the community’s quality of life by providing regional and customer-oriented public transportation that is dependable, cost-effective and enticing to more riders. VIA’s AAA bond rating reflects the organization’s sound management and financial practices. Visit www.VIAinfo.net for more information. Follow us on www.Facebook.com/VIATransit, www.Twitter.com/VIA_Transit, and www.Instagram.com/VIATransit.