Austin Parks and Recreation Department unveils 6 possible new locations for Waller Creek Boathouse

Photo of Waller Creek Boathouse
The department is looking for a new Waller Creek Boathouse location because the MetroRail's Blue Line could impact the current location. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The department is looking for a new Waller Creek Boathouse location because the MetroRail's Blue Line could impact the current location. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department could be looking for a new home for the Waller Creek Boathouse.

As a part of Project Connect designs, Capital Metro's MetroRail Blue Line will cross Lady Bird Lake on a bridge and on the lake’s north side go underground to enter a planned below-ground station near the Mexican American Cultural Center and Rainey Street.

Peter Mullan, the Austin Transit Partnership’s chief of architecture and urban design, said the rail portal, or point where the light rail goes below ground, is very close to the existing Waller Creek Boathouse.

“That portal is located almost exactly at the location of the Waller Creek Boathouse,” Mullan said.

He added the ATP, the government corporation overseeing Project Connect, will continue to provide updates on how much of an impact the light rail construction would have on the boathouse.


During a Jan. 12 community workshop, Austin Parks and Recreation Department officials discussed six possible new sites for the building that the city has operated since 2012 and houses the Austin Rowing Club, Alta’s Cafe, Retro Boats and Rō Fitness.

Those six options included three locations on either side of Lady Bird Lake. Two of the possible locations are in Zilker Park, and one is in Festival Beach.

Liana Kallivoka, assistant director in the parks and recreation department, said the leading alternative sits east of I-35 and south of Lady Bird Lake in a youth hostel that closed in recent years. She added it could accommodate a 7,000-square-foot facility.

“There is access to the water; there is the existing rowing dock next to the water and a small parking area off of the South Lakeshore Boulevard,” Kallivoka said.

The site was the only location that fulfilled all of the park and recreation department's criteria, which includes land space, shoreline, water traffic, utilities access, site impact and ease of development.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.