Today Mayor Adler conducted a press conference at City Hall to announce a plan to address and fund solutions to the most important issues facing the future of Downtown Austin, what the Mayor calls the “Downtown Puzzle.” These issues include: homelessness, expansion of the Convention Center, the Red River Cultural District, the Mexican American Cultural Center, historic preservation, and completion of the Waller Creek Chain of Parks.
Funding Proposal for Chain of Parks
Completion of the Waller Creek Chain of Parks is one of the key components of the Mayor’s proposal. The Mayor has identified extension of the Waller Creek Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District as a tool to provide necessary public funding for Waller Creek without creating new taxes for Austinites. We at the Waller Creek Conservancy are committed to raising private, philanthropic dollars from individuals, foundations, and businesses to match a significant portion of these TIF funds. Having this level of certainty about public funding, in addition to our ongoing fundraising efforts, would allow us to complete the project by 2025.
Why It Matters
Waller Creek will provide a community benefit for all of Austin to enjoy forever. Austin, downtown in particular, is changing rapidly and private development often outpaces the City’s ability to provide public amenities. By funding the Waller Creek Chain of Parks, we will ensure that 37 acres of Downtown Austin are turned into incredible public spaces that highlight Austin’s culture, history, and love of nature, serving the entire community.
While the positive implications for the Waller Creek project are numerous, the significance of this initiative is expanded exponentially by the fact that the Mayor intends to tackle numerous, interdependent issues in an integrated manner. We know that the success of the Waller Creek project is inextricably tied to the health, vitality, and success of the larger district and the city as a whole. The issues enumerated by the Mayor are complex and each one is critical to Austin’s future; we applaud him for outlining an approach that advances the needs of all stakeholders and connects us as a community.
We will keep you updated as this initiative develops. The proposal presented by the Mayor today will be required to go to the City Council for a vote. When it does, we encourage everyone to express your support of making this vision become a reality.