Crews make progress on first Waller Creek park as officials plan next phase of construction

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The first project in a string of parks and paths along Waller Creek is closer to reality as the group behind the work looks to the next phase in the major renovation of 35 acres between 15th Street and Lady Bird Lake.

Waterloo Park, situated along the creek near the capitol, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2020. It’s the first step in the public lands overhaul the Waller Creek Conservancy has been planning for years; construction started at the biggest park in the project in 2017.

WCC’s CEO, Peter Mullan, met with KXAN Friday to provide an update on construction of the project that will include natural and structured area for families, including the 5,000-person Moody Amphitheater. It comes after the conservancy last week approved construction documents for the second phase of construction, Waller Delta, the southern end of the park system where the creek meets the lake.

“There will be new access points to the creek, and really new access points connecting the lake to downtown,” Mullan said.

The conservancy plans to start work on the Delta project next year, in part because they see development happening in the area and want to make sure the park is central to any changes in the landscape.

The first steps in that project, Mullan said, will be to restore and reconstruct parts of the creek bed itself to encourage the natural ecosystem to thrive.

Waterloo Park has been closed to the public since 2011, when the city started work on a flood control tunnel. Part of the park revamp includes a pump system that will control how much water flows down the creek to the lake and can pump water back to the top of the creek to maintain a continuous flow during drier times.

That pump system is nearing completion, but much of the work that’s been done at Waterloo is underground, installing new utilities and landscaping the area, Mullan said.

“But we’re starting to see structures come out of the ground, building the foundations for our elevated walkway as well as the foundations for the Moody Amphitheater,” he said.

WCC already finished renovations at Symphony Square, the outdoor venue at 11th and Red River streets.

Three other projects will follow Waterloo and Waller Delta, eventually connecting a mile and a half of the creek with paths and natural areas. The Delta project should open by 2022, Mullan said, and the fully-realized Waller Park should open to the public in 2025 or 2026.

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