Millions needed for ‘deferred maintenance’ at San Antonio Missions
Millions of dollars worth of maintenance and repairs is needed to keep the San Antonio Missions from falling apart.
The technical term is "deferred maintenance," an ever growing list of projects needed to done, but at the moment, there isn’t enough money or staff to do the jobs.
"I wouldn’t say that these are items that are broken, it’s just the time the natural cycle for these critical system elements to the replaced," said David Vekasy, chief facility manager for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Recently Rep. Will Hurd (R-23) and a bipartisan group introduced the Restore Our Parks & Public Lands Act to start a fund to help national parks catch up on much needed maintenance.
“National parks are a part of the American experience and the eight I represent, including Big Bend and the San Antonio Missions, provide immeasurable cultural, environmental and economic benefits. We have a responsibility as a nation to care for these natural treasures, yet in 2017 alone, national parks in Texas had a backlog of over $167 million in deferred maintenance – nearly 75 percent of projects are in the 23rd District of Texas,” Hurd said.
The bill cites nearly $7 million is needed for the San Antonio missions.
Vekasy said that number is always growing.
"We have hundreds of thousands of square feet of historic masonry and that masonry needs attention on a regular cycle," Vekasy said.
This week, workers are fixing masonry on the visitor center, but special contractors are needed to work on historic walls and buildings which can be very delicate.
They also need to preserve historic integrity.
"This legislation is really is a great possibility for us to have a fund source to be able to attack some of those things that we have not been able to address," Vekasy said.
Most projects are funded by federal grant money which is available to all nation parks, but it’s a competitive process to get that cash.
The park service maintains everything at the missions except for the churches, the archdiocese takes care of those.