The Moody Foundation has awarded $15 million for a makeover of 11-acre Waterloo Park in downtown Austin. The upgrades will include a new iconic outdoor public amphitheater and a “great lawn” designed to hold up to 5,000 people, plus a mile and a half of walking trails, heritage trees, play spaces, elevated promenades, and wetland gardens.
When the Waller Creek Conservancy made the announcement, it dubbed the grant “the largest philanthropic gift for parks and public open space ever in the City of Austin.” The ultimate goal is to revitalize the entire downtown Austin Waller Creek area and link it into a connected chain of parks.
“We are so proud to support this extraordinary project,” said Ross Moody, Trustee of The Moody Foundation. “We believe Waller Creek Park will have a transformative impact on the city for the benefit of generations of Austinites. The Moody Amphitheater will enhance Austin’s parks and green space and be a cultural hub that brings together friends, families, and children throughout Texas.”
Director of the Austin Parks and Recreation Sara Hensley said, “The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is thrilled that The Moody Foundation recognizes the Waller Creek Conservancy’s creative and transformative restoration of the parks and green space along Waller Creek. The gift speaks volumes in support of the leadership, vision, and dedication of the Conservancy, as well as endorses the idea of public/private/non-profits working together to create a better community.”
Waller Creek Conservancy CEO Peter Mullan described the grant as “a legacy gift for Waller Creek and for the entire City of Austin” and that it demonstrates the importance and value of investing in the public realm for Austin’s future generations.
He said, “As the largest park within the Waller Creek district, Waterloo Park and the Moody Amphitheater will create a new public space that reflects the spirit of Austin and will serve as the central gathering space for the Red River Cultural District, the emerging Innovation Zone, the Central Health Brackenridge redevelopment, and the Dell Medical School.”
The Waterloo Park work will begin this year and is expected to be completed by 2019.