Update (Thursday, August 12): The reopening event for Waterloo Park has been postponed. Below is the a statement issued on behalf of Waterloo Greenway:
Due to rising COVID cases and Austin’s re-entry into Stage 5, Waterloo Greenway has made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone all opening day celebrations scheduled for this Saturday. This includes postponement of the ribbon-cutting ceremony and land dedication, daytime programming and nighttime concert showcase.
However, Waterloo Park will still open its gates to the public on Saturday, August 14 starting at 10am. The opening of this park comes at a critical time for the community, and access to outdoor space has never been more important for physical, mental and emotional health. The reopening of Waterloo Park marks a momentous occasion for the community, with 11 acres of revitalized greenspace for all Austinites to explore and connect with nature, in the heart of downtown.
CommUNITY Day festivities and activations will be rescheduled at a later date. In the meantime, Waterloo Greenway will continue to follow all local, state and CDC health and safety guidelines, as well as encourage all guests to wear a face mask and practice social distancing when visiting Waterloo Park.
The transformation of a cherished Austin public gathering space hit a few—okay, more than a few—snags along the way, but Waterloo Park is now ready for its official reopening. The momentous occasion will be celebrated all day and into the night on August 14 with an event organizers are calling CommUNITY Day: a free, family-friendly festival with a wide variety of activities in the 11-acre downtown park. The event will also inaugurate the park’s new Moody Amphitheater with live performances by popular local musical artists such as Gina Chavez and Riders Against the Storm.
Located along Waller Creek between East 12th and East 15th streets, the 11-acre park was established in 1975 and became a go-to place for local events and festivals over the next several decades. In 2011, it was closed for restoration for 10 years—a period that included the construction of the Waller Creek Tunnel, a flood-control/improvement project that took longer and cost more than originally projected.
A public-private partnership between the city and the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy, the $88 million park project was designed by a team led by New York-based architecture firm Thomas Phifer and Partners and landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, based in Brooklyn, New York, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to the Moody Amphitheater, it now features a riverwalk-style, 1.5-mile hike-and-bike trail, various rolling lawns, and new, custom playscapes as well as a Family Pavilion with food trucks and gender-inclusive bathrooms designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.
The reopening of Waterloo Park marks the completion of the first stage of the Waterloo Greenway, a linear park (or series of connected parks) planned for the stretch of Waller Creek from 15th Street to Lady Bird Lake. The project is being carried out by the city in partnership with the Waller Creek Conservancy.
A schedule of events for the reopening event is below.
Saturday, August 14, 10 am-10 pm
Ribbon-cutting, land acknowledgement, and remarks
● Kathy Miller, Waterloo Greenway Interim CEO
● U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett
● Mayor Steve Adler
● Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison
● Council Member Kathie Tovo
● Cotter Cunningham, Waterloo Greenway Board Chair
● Ross Moody, Moody Foundation Vice Chairman
● Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, Huston-Tillotson University President and CEO
11 am-4 pm
● Huston-Tillotson University President’s Jazz Ensemble
● Ballet Folklorico de Austin
● Elsewhere Dance Collective
● Mariachi Las Coronelas
● Think Bilingual Story Time
● Birds of Prey Flight Showcase
● Tiarra Girls
“Taste of Austin” concert showcase
7 pm-10 pm
● DJ Zetroc
● Big Wy’s Brass Band
● Gina Chavez
● Cynthia Lee Fontaine
● Stephanie Bergara
● Bavu Blakes
● Rapid Ric
● Tameca Jones
● Riders Against the Storm