Teams unveil final designs for Waller Creek redevelopment


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 1:22 PM

AUSTIN -- Austin's Waller Creek has gone through quite a few changes from it's naming in 1839 to being transformed into an Arabian market place for the movie "Second Hand Lions" in 2003.

Now it's time for another change thanks to a competition from the Waller Creek Conservancy.

"It's an international design competition that has partnered landscape architects and architects from around the world to study and come up with a new, fresh vision for Waller Creek," said Waller Creek Conservancy Executive Director Stephanie Lee McDonald. 

Thirty-one companies submitted ideas of how to change Waller Creek. Wednesday, the final four companies made their presentations to a jury panel who will pick one and give it to the city council to decide.

The plan is not to make Waller Creek an outdoor retail and restaurant area like San Antonio's river-walk, but to instead create an outdoor park.

"This is different then maybe how we perceive a lot of  other natural areas in Austin because this is in our urban core. We think that the city deserves a great urban park, and what we're going to see in these four ideas is how they plan to achieve it," added McDonald.

So what stands out about the final four designs? One team's design has a maze of walkways over the water. Another wants to build an amphitheater along the creek. A third design gives Waterloo Park a makeover, adding play areas and living spaces, while the fourth would develop running paths along the creek.

Bill and Shelli Bergmann walk along the creek every day and have a few ideas of things they'd like to see.

"More of the same would be just fine," said Bill Bergmann who likes the trails on the northern end of the creek.

"There's some of the old bridges that are still on Waller Creek. Those are nice," said Shelli Bergmann. She would also like to see more places to sit.

The panel of judges could decide on a design as soon as Thursday, but which one it chooses won't be made public until the Austin City Council votes on a design October 18.