Running from Waterloo Park to Lady Bird Lake, Waller Creek is the largest urban creek in the Austin area. Neglected for years, Waller Creek is often used as a dumping ground and as a catch all from the city’s storm drains. As you can imagine, years of trash and debris have made the creek the cesspool of the city. Despite all of the pollution, this urban watershed still supports a vast wildlife population. Thankfully due to recent conservation efforts, Waller Creek might continue to support wildlife for years to come.
Construction of Waller Creek Tunnel in 2011 Got the Ball Rolling
In 1997, the Austin City Council passed a resolution to begin Waller Creek redevelopment plans. However, no real change occurred for well over a decade. Finally in 2011, construction for the 5,600 foot Waller Creek Tunnel broke ground. This mile long tunnel was designed to redirect flood waters and address the problems of erosion along the lower section of Waller Creek. Once the tunnel is complete in Spring of 2015, construction and further restoration of the project will begin.
Series of Trails Will Meander Through Downtown & East Austin
The vision for the next step of the Waller Creek conservation is to redevelop the 1.5 mile area along the creek using a series of parks and trails. Once complete, the creek could be a spectacular urban oasis for Downtown Austin. Meandering through the heart of the city, trail users will see the highlights of the city including the UT campus, grounds of the State Capitol, Historic Sixth Street and the popular Rainey Street District. The goals of the project are to bring residents back to the Waller Creek Parks, create and boost nearby business, and unite Austin neighborhoods between Downtown and East Austin.
Lattice and Ponton Bridge will Add Miles to Lady Bird Lake Trail Network
Connecting Waller Creek to the Lady Bird Lake Trail Network was an important component of the project and will help create a longer hike and bike trail through Downtown. The plan is to build a lattice of five easily deployable trail bridges at the mouth of Waller Creek and a floating pontoon bridge that will extend the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk. The lattice and the pontoon bridge will be a vital link in connecting Downtown Austin and East Austin.
Palm Park will Connect East Austin to Downtown
Palm Park used to be a gathering place between Downtown and East Austin. But, once IH-35 was built, the park was lost. With the continued redevelopment of Waller Creek, Palm Park will be reincarnated to recreate the link between Downtown and East Austin. Located between the Convention Center and the proposed Fairmont Hotel, the park will have several playscapes for the kids and a small amphitheatre for weekend performances. Live Oaks will be planted throughout Palm Park to create shade from the Texas heat.
The Narrows District Will be Austin’s Riverwalk
The Narrows District will be the most urban stretch of Waller Creek and is planned between 4th and 7th Streets. Austin’s love for outdoor socialization and dining al fresco will be the focus of the Narrows, which is why this district generates the most excitement. Similar to what you see on the San Antonio Riverwalk, this area will be a prime spot for new businesses to connect through a series of outdoor patios overlooking Waller Creek.
The Refuge is an Oasis for Nature Lovers
The Refuge will be an oasis for nature lovers who want to interact with the creek’s ecosystem. Located between 7th and 10th streets on an island created at the bend of Waller Creek, the refuge will be an open lawn that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. In addition to its planned educational uses and other programmed events, the area will be used as a congregation spot before concerts and other Austin events.
Waterloo Park for Live Music Events
Currently used for events like Fun Fun Fun Fest and then abandoned the remainder of the year, the new plan for Waterloo Park is to become a year round, multi functional, urban park. A cantilevered lawn space and state- of-the-art band shell will support crowds of up to 7,000 people for live music events. The park will also have several serene gardens with wetland spaces and sculptures, multiple play structures and sport courts.
Austin Continues to Make Strides at Becoming a World Class City
Austin continues to make strides in becoming a true, world class city. The Waller Creek Project is not only a much needed rehabilitation of a polluted ecosystem, but a total transformation of the east side of Downtown Austin. Once the project is complete, Waller creek will be a major landmark and possibly the crown jewel of the city.
Want to Live Near Waller Creek?
Might want to consider buying before the redevelopment is complete as prices will surely increase. The Waller Creek Redevelopment and especially the Narrows, will be a huge draw for home buyers looking for an urban environment. If you’re considering buying a home near Waller Creek and you’re looking for a Realtor who will listen to exactly what you’re looking for and help you find it, we are the people for you. We know the area well and will not only help you find but also negotiate the best deal possible on a house or condo near Waller Creek. Check out our Austin Home Buyers section for more info about our team and how we work. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Buyer Survey to get started.