A $230 million, 10-year project designed to create a chain of parks, green spaces, and trails along a restored Waller Creek kicked off Wednesday, September 20, with a groundbreaking ceremony at Waterloo Park.
“As our city continues to grow and thrive, we must ensure that our beloved green spaces do the same. The Waller Creek project will create a world-class green space that will be the legacy we leave for future generations to enjoy,” Austin Mayor Steven Adler says.
Revitalization of 11-acre Waterloo Park represents the first phase of the Waller Creek project. Among the highlights of the revamped Waterloo Park will be an amphitheater, a “great lawn,” a restaurant, a promenade, Hill Country-style gardens, and a water feature.
Work on Waterloo Park is supposed to be finished in late 2019.
The nonprofit Waller Creek Conservancy is collaborating with the City of Austin on the Waller Creek overhaul. When completed, the project will comprise 37 acres of parks and open spaces, and more than three miles of new hike-and-bike trails.
Developers say the project will help enliven the Red River Cultural District, the Brackenridge redevelopment, the Dell Medical School, and other areas along a 1.5-mile stretch from Lady Bird Lake to 15th Street. For decades, Waller Creek has been prone to severe flooding, but installation of a $162 million flood-control tunnel is paving the way for land along the waterway to be carved out for green-space improvements.
The park-and-trail project is being financed with city funds and private donations. To date, the Waller Creek Conservancy has raised more than 60 percent of the money needed for the transformation of Waterloo Park.
A $15 million gift from the Galveston-based Moody Foundation — the largest philanthropic gift to parks and public space in Austin’s history — will pay for the Waterloo Park amphitheater.
Peter Mullan, CEO of the Waller Creek Conservancy, says: “Waller Creek will represent a new kind of public open space for the city of Austin, but one that taps into Austin’s core DNA. Waller Creek will be a place where members of the entire community can come together and celebrate their shared identity as Austinites.”