waller creek

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

If you find yourself walking on Red River near 12th Street downtown, stop for second. Glance toward the state Capitol and enjoy a view that cost the city millions. This is the site of the biggest snag in Austin’s ambitious plan to harness the flood waters of Waller Creek. But now, after nearly 20 year of work, the project may be close to complete.

wallercreek.org

With all of the cranes and construction going on downtown, you might not have noticed one of the biggest projects of them all.

Austin will soon be home to the largest urban creek renewal project in the country’s history. Waller Creek, which winds through downtown and connects to Lady Bird Lake, is set to be transformed into a chain of parks, part of a long-term revitalization project. [See more project details here.]

KUT spoke with Peter Mullan, CEO of the Waller Creek Conservancy, to learn more about the project and how the public can get involved in the planning.

flickr.com/ginapina

From StateImpact Texas:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Waterloo Park, just east of the State Capitol, is a perfect example. There used to be houses there. But then in the 1970s, recalls former city council staffer and Waller Creek Conservancy executive director Stephanie Lee McDonald, “there was a lot of urban renewal efforts and the neighborhood was razed and the park was created.”

According to newspaper articles at the time, there were big redevelopment plans for the area, which sits along Waller Creek. There were even hopes that the space could become Austin’s very own version of the famed San Antonio River Walk. Of course, things didn’t really work out that way.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The Austin City Council is getting ready for summer recess, but before members take off they’ve been approving projects that eventually could drastically change the look and feel of the city. Thursday’s session may not have seemed like a game-changer, but it has huge implications for the future.

As reported earlier this month, the Austin City Council got a look at the final version of a plan to redevelop the land along Waller Creek into a chain of parks.

They liked what they saw: Today, the council unanimously voted to approve the design plan developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with little argument.

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