Nature Meets Culture at The Confluence: Waterloo Greenway’s Next Phase in Austin

Waterloo Greenway: The Confluence, Austin, Texas

Austin Archuleta

January 23, 2023

On January 18, 2023, the Waller Creek Local Government Corporation (LGC) approved a contract with Jay-Reese Contractors, Inc. for the construction of the second phase of Waterloo Greenway, known as The Confluence. The Confluence, which was formerly called Creek Delta, is a continuation of the 35-acre Waterloo Greenway park and trail system along Waller Creek in downtown Austin. The project is made possible through a public-private partnership between the City of Austin and the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy.

Waterloo Greenway: The Confluence, Austin, Texas

The Confluence is located at the southernmost point of Waterloo Greenway and is situated at the cultural epicenter of Palm Park, Rainey Street Historic District, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin Convention Center, Brush Square Park, and Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. The project aims to connect the community to many historic and cultural destinations in downtown Austin.

The project is using a design approach that focuses on sustainability and resiliency. It will restore creek health and function, add new bridges and trail connections to downtown destinations and parks, improve water quality through innovative stormwater treatment devices, and support economic development in the area. The work includes the reconstruction of the creek channel to stabilize severely eroded slopes, the construction of creek features that create habitats for wildlife, native plants, and trees along the riparian corridor, a biofiltration pond, inline stormwater treatment devices, and new bridges and trails.

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The new landscape will include nearly 1,550 trees, 200,000 mature plants, and 10 acres of seed mixes to improve downtown air quality, improve creek health, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the urban heat island effect. The Confluence is also pursuing certification under the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), which recognizes sustainable land development projects that increase resiliency using nature-based solutions. The park-goers can enjoy a uniquely immersive experience within the 13-acre park, including the deepest and most ecologically diverse section of Waller Creek.

The LGC Board is excited about this next milestone for Waterloo Greenway and anticipates that once completed, The Confluence will deliver upon the vision for a connected park system and creek restoration. The project is being led by the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy in collaboration with the Parks and Recreation Department, and other City of Austin departments. The project is in line with the Waller Creek District’s vision of a healthier downtown habitat and watershed.

The authority to approve City construction contracts within the Waterloo Greenway was given to the Waller Creek Local Government Corporation through Austin City Council Resolution 20200827-077. The project, which is valued at over $75 million, has received a combination of City and federal funding and private philanthropy. City of Austin funding, totaling over $50 million, comes from multiple departments, including Watershed Protection, Parks and Recreation, Development Services, Austin Energy, Convention Center, and Austin Water. Additionally, the project has received approximately $9 million in federal funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Waterloo Greenway Conservancy is seeking donations from the Austin community to reach its $13 million commitment to help fund the construction of the project. The Confluence project is an excellent example of how green spaces can be celebrated and preserved in the middle of one of the busiest and rapidly growing areas of downtown Austin. It is a unique opportunity for the community to connect with nature and enjoy the diverse ecological and cultural offerings of the area.

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