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Conservation Group Renames Public Land Along Waller Creek The 'Waterloo Greenway'

Waller Creek near Sixth Street.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
Austin city planners have dreamt of redeveloping the public land along Waller Creek since the 1970s.

What do you call the parks and greenspace along Waller Creek from the state Capitol to Lady Bird Lake? The Waller Creek Trail? The Waller Creek Greenbelt? The city and nonprofit that are redeveloping the area have a new idea. Now, they're calling it the “Waterloo Greenway.”

The idea comes from the Waller Creek Conservancy, now Waterloo Greenway Conservancy. The group is responsible for the revitalization and maintenance of the parks, trails and greenspace in partnership with the city.

Peter Mullan, head of the group, says the individual parks and the creek itself are all keeping their traditional names, but the “greenway” will refer to the space in its entirety. 

Credit Courtesy of the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy
The Waterloo Greenway Conservancy hopes the renaming will help it raise more money to redevelop the area.

“We wanted to have something that could bring all those piece together into one whole,” he said. “Our goal is that this is a place that becomes beloved and cherished by the community. And in order to do that, people need to know what to call it.”

Redeveloping the public land along the creek has been a dream of Austin city planners sincethe 1970s.

The most recent efforts kicked off in 2011 with the closing of Waterloo Park. The project was initially pitched as something akin to the San Antonio Riverwalk. The plan was to use a massive flood-control structure under construction at the park to keep Waller Creek flowing at a contestant level year-round.

The goal of a constant-level creek was later abandoned as engineering and design problems plagued the flood intake structure and tunnel. The reopening of the park has also been pushed back to 2020.

But efforts to redevelop the greenspace, trail and connected parks continue, funded by the city and private donations to the conservancy.

The idea is to create an improved and better connected 1 1/2-half mile stretch of public land along the creek, including park and trail renovations and other public amenities.

In 2017, the conservancy received a $15 million grant from the Moody Foundation to build an amphitheater in Waterloo Park.

All told, Mullan said, the group is about halfway to making its $100 million fundraising goal. He hopes the renaming could help raise more money.

“The number of people that we still have an opportunity to connect with vastly outnumbers the people we’ve connected with,” he said. “I think having this new name is going to help us do that. It’s going to help us increase our constituency dramatically.”

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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