Seeds of progress
A $9 million federal grant is paving the way for the second phase of downtown Austin's Waterloo Greenway park.
The grant, provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will enable work to start this October on The Confluence. This second-phase project will involve planting nearly 1,550 trees, 200,000 mature plants, and 10 acres of seeds along Waller Creek, as well as reconstructing eroded creek banks.
The grant was announced at an April 25 news conference.
Supporters say The Confluence will improve air quality and the local ecosystem, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“With City of Austin funding and generous private support, Waterloo Greenway is already contributing so much to our community. Now we have secured federal dollars to back up this local investment,” says U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, an Austin Democrat. “This $9 million represents both the first benefit to Austin from the new infrastructure law and the very first environmental infrastructure project to ever be approved in the state of Texas.”
Waterloo Greenway, winding along Waller Creek, will eventually be a one-and-a-half-mile, 35-acre park system. The Confluence represents about one-third of the total acreage.
“We are a city that delivers on huge aspirations. Into our future, we will continue to need creative solutions to equity, mobility, quality-of-life, and climate resiliency challenges,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler says. “The second phase of Waterloo Greenway embodies our vision, spirit, and values.”
The 2021 opening of Waterloo Park and Moody Amphitheater marked the first phase of Waterloo Greenway. The nonprofit Waterloo Greenway Conservancy is spearheading the project, which will extend from 15th Street along the eastern edge of downtown to Lady Bird Lake. The greenway is scheduled for completion in 2026.