AUSTIN (KXAN) — “Waller Creek is the backbone of the efforts we are doing along waterloo greenway”  s John Rigdon, director of planning and design at Waterloo Greenway Conservancy.

Waterloo Park is weeks away from reopening to the public once more. This has been 10 years in the making. On August 14, you’ll be able to get lost exploring 11 acres of revitalized greenspace, 1.5 miles of trails, stunning Hill Country Gardens, the Moody Amphitheater, and so much more. Waterloo Park will soon become a natural haven where Austinites and visitors alike can enjoy the outdoors, gather with friends, and enjoy weekly events.

This park wouldn’t have been able to happen without the construction of the flood control tunnel back in 2018. That took 30 acres out of the flood plain.

“Now that that is safely out of the flood plain, there was an opportunity to have these life long-lasting investments, in a safe public space along the creek,” Rigdon said.

“So, we are starting with this ecological restoration of the creek. To make it sustainable, healthy, and long-term. And then building from there, creating these great public spaces in and around that. So, it’s not an either-or situation of natural restoration OR public spaces for people. It’s combining those two and really engaging the community and creating that great habitat for plants and animals to return to.”

Winkler Family Wetland Terrace will be a location of the park where people can get the closest to the creek. 

“This is much more of a garden space that still has that high level of functionality as a wetland,” Rigdon said. “So as the plants grow and we invite back our turtles, this will become a really engaging, educational experience as well as a functional wetland. So, we will have signage, and classes to really engage in the community on what exactly a wetland does and how it creates habitat.”

Just west of the wetland is the Waller Creek tunnel inlet facility, now featuring a 6,587 square-foot mural designed by internationally renowned Venezuelan artist Arturo Herrera. Operated by the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, this facility removes more than 28 acres of downtown from the floodplain, keeps people safe from flash flooding, and protects dozens of structures and roadways. It also helps ease bank erosion during wet times and gently pumps water from Lady Bird Lake back into the creek during drier periods