Waller Creek Conservancy breaks ground on Waterloo Park project

The new amphitheater, partially funded through a $15 million gift from the Moody Foundation, will be completed in 2019.

The new amphitheater, partially funded through a $15 million gift from the Moody Foundation, will be completed in 2019.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect more accurately the percentage of funding raised for this project.

The Waller Creek Conservancy celebrated the official ground breaking of the Waller Creek project at Waterloo Park on Wednesday morning. The project consists of a chain of urban parks along the restored Waller Creek in downtown Austin, running 1.5 miles from Lady Bird Lake to 15th Street between Trinity Street and I-35.

When complete, in approximately 10 years, the parks will cover 37 acres. The project is estimated to cost $230 million.

The Waterloo Park phase of the project is the largest and is projected to open in late 2019 and cost $64 million.

The Waller Creek Conservancy has raised more than 60 percent of the costs for Waterloo Park through a combination of city of Austin funding and private donations.

The landscape architectural firm Michael van Valkenburgh and Associates, selected by a competition jury organized by the Conservancy, will design the parks according to a plan adopted by the Austin City Council in 2013.

In 2015, the conservancy hired CEO Peter Mullan, former executive vice president of Friends of the High Line. The High Line is a public, elevated and linear park in New York City that was built on the former New York Central Railroad track. Since opening in 2009, it has seen more than 4.5 million visitors annually and served as a model for urban planning, innovation and design, he said.

"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," Mullan said in a news release. "Waller Creek will be a place where members of the entire community can come together and celebrate their shared identity as Austinites."

The finished project will feature 3 miles of new bicycle and pedestrian trails, art exhibition spaces, an amphitheater for musical and cultural performances and educational community programming.

Council Member Sabino "Pio" Renteria grew up playing in Waller Creek, attending the nearby Palm School and playing in Palm Park. He spoke to the crowd at the groundbreaking, saying he remembers seeing a cat swim across the creek as a child through the crystal clear water.

"There is a rich history of community here and the Waller Creek Conservancy builds on that tradition of connecting people to one another in a natural, outdoor setting," Renteria said in the release.
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Photoo of Travis County sign
Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioners Court will hold rare joint session to address 'dire' COVID-19 status

County Judge Andy Brown called the meeting "an opportunity to coordinate responses."

Photo of a wine shop
Salt & Time expands with natural wine shop and other East Austin business news

Read about six businesses that have opened, closed or celebrated anniversaries on the East Side.

Voters line up during the Dec. 15 runoff election. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legality of ranked-choice voting prompts disagreement between supporters, Austin city attorneys

If a Jan. 11 petition is validated, Austin voters could decide whether to support the implementation a ranked-choice voting system. But is it unconstitutional?

A group of Austin-area school districts is advocating for early distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for school staff members. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin-area school districts advocate for teachers to receive COVID-19 vaccines

Educators in the designated population for early distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in 32 states. Texas was not one of them, according to a Jan. 14 letter signed by 17 Central Texas school districts.

Dr. Anthony Fauci gave remarks while accepting the Ken Shine Prize in Health Leadership from Dell Medical School. (Screenshot via The University of Texas)
Dr. Anthony Fauci praises UT researcher’s role in vaccine development

Dr. Anthony Fauci's remarks came while accepting the Ken Shine Prize in Health Leadership from Dell Medical School.

Photo of Judge Andy Brown at a press conference
Travis County health leaders say Regional COVID-19 Therapeutic Infusion Center will help unburden hospitals

In its first week, the center offered 120 coronavirus patients an antiviral antibody treatment.

PHoto of a vaccine being administered
Austin Public Health discusses vaccination priorities, registration protocol as regional hub

Local health leaders discouraged people from walking up to vaccine sites without an appointment.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler will still reach his term limit in 2022 if voters approve changes to the election cycle. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Potential strong-mayor system in Austin would be 'weakest of any big city in the country,' supporters say

Exactly what kind of a strong-mayor system would Austin have if it was approved by voters? Among the weakest in the country, supporters said.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar shared a new revenue estimate for the 2022-23 biennium Jan. 11. (Courtesy Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)
Comptroller projects drop in state revenue, potential for economic uptick for next biennium

Despite the slight reduction in expected revenue for the state's 2022-23 budget, recovery could be on the horizon.

After seeing a 5,000-student decline in enrollment this year, Austin ISD could see its funding cut by the TEA this spring. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Educators in Austin ask TEA to close funding gaps, allow more flexibility to keep students home

After seeing a 5,000-student decline in enrollment this year, Austin ISD could see its funding cut by the TEA this spring.