In May, Waller Creek Conservancy, in collaboration with The Contemporary Austin, announced a two-part outdoor exhibition of large-scale installations by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The works include the striking installation Forever Bicycles, 2014, installed by The Contemporary Austin at the Waller Delta (74 Trinity St.), and Iron Tree Trunk, 2015, on view at The Contemporary Austin’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Read more.
The 5th Annual Waller Creek Pop-Up Picnic, in April, welcomed more than a thousand friends and neighbors to celebrate the future transformation of Waller Creek. Read more.
In February, The Conservancy announced a $15-million grant from The Moody Foundation––the largest philanthropic gift for parks and public open space ever in the City of Austin––to support its revitalization of Waller Creek into a connected chain of parks in downtown Austin. The Moody Foundation’s gift will fund the creation of an iconic outdoor public amphitheater in a transformed Waterloo Park, at the northern end of the new Waller Creek district. Read more.
The Conservancy completes the first conceptual designs of Waterloo Park and launches the design of Palm Park. Waterloo Park will be the first park to open in 2019.
In November, Creek Show 2016 brings more than 10,000 people on Waller Creek to view five light-based art installations. Attendees enjoyed kids’ programming, live music, and specials in Red River Cultural District throughout the 10 night event.
In May and September, a series of public meetings titled Palm Park Conversations were held to engage the community on what a vibrant Palm Park means to them.
In March, internationally renowned artist Orly Genger’s interactive art installation, Hurlyburly (2016), opens. The installation is the launch of a collaborative partnership with The Contemporary Austin set to change the public art experience in Austin. The Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation donated a $1.1 million gift to The Contemporary Austin for public art along Waller Creek. Read more.
The Conservancy and City of Austin complete the Creek Corridor Framework Plan. This document is the result of nearly a year of research, design, and stakeholder coordination. It sets up the foundation for all design work to come by establishing a framework for the creek, trails, and parks.
The Conservancy hosted three signature public events: Palm Park Picnic in April, the Annual Benefit Concert at Stubb’s in October, and Creek Show Light Night in November. All three events raised funds and awareness to support the ongoing work of the organization.
The Local Government Corporation, or LGC, meets for the first time in June. The LGC is the governing body for the Waller Creek District and is charged with making critical decisions in the design and implementation process. Phase 1 of the design work begins and the Creek Corridor Framework is scheduled for completion in 2015.
In April, the City of Austin and the Conservancy finalize and sign the Joint Development Agreement, a document that establishes the legal relationship and means for designing and implementing the vision outlined in the Design Plan.
Working with local architects and University of Texas Architecture students, the Conservancy pilots Creek Show in March. Creek Show is a series of light-based art installations focused on bringing the Austin community back to the creek.
In April, the Waller Creek Conservancy holds an inaugural community picnic in Palm Park. It’s a huge success––bringing Austinites back to the parks along Waller Creek.
In January, the Conservancy begins costing and phasing, under the direction of a project coordinator, with the selected design team of Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates and cost estimators.
During 2012, Waller Creek Conservancy’s Board of Directors grows to 30 members and raises more than $1 million from private philanthropy for the design competition and operations.
In the November 2012 bond election, Austinites approve $13 million for the development of Waller Creek.
In October, the Conservancy holds its inaugural annual benefit concert along Waller Creek. Approximately 2,000 people attend the concert.
Eleven months from the initial call for portfolios,Design Waller Creek: A Competition concludes with the announcement of the selected design team: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and Thomas Phifer & Partners. City Council unanimously votes to affirm the selected team on October 18, 2012.
In November, Waller Creek Conservancy launches Design Waller Creek: A Competition, an international design competition that calls for the most innovative and qualified landscape architects, architects, and artists to join forces and present their ideas for remaking a currently fragmented and undervalued section of Austin into a vibrant, livable, workable district. The competition is lauded as the first of its kind in Texas.
On April 8, a groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of construction of the City of Austin’s Tunnel Project. Later that month, on April 28, Waller Creek Conservancy forms a historic partnership with the City of Austin, with both committing $400,000 to fund the design and implementation of a new master plan for the Waller Creek district.
On November 6, Austin City Council passes a resolution to initiate discussions with the public institutions and private interests that share responsibility for and the potential benefits from Waller Creek.
Thirteen people drown and $36 million in damages are incurred as part of a storm event on May 24, remembered as the “Memorial Day Flood.” This short-duration storm with intense rainfall hits many of Austin’s urban creeks: Shoal, Walnut, Little Walnut, Bee and Waller Creek.
The City of Austin and National Bicentennial Commission sanctions the writing of “Austin Creeks” as Austin’s bicentennial gift to the nation. The book presents a comprehensive study of Austin’s natural waterway systems. The plan calls for protecting and enhancing waterways for preservation, recreational use and flood control. City and national funding for the project led to the completion of the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike trail, development of the Glenn Oaks Greenbelt on Boggy Creek, extension of the Stacy Creek Trail and initiation of the redevelopment of Waller Creek.
A joint venture of numerous urban planners, architects, landscape architects and engineers create the Waller Creek Development Plan for improvements to the Waller Creek corridor as part of the City of Austin’s U.S. Bicentennial project. The plan includes recommendations for immediate, near future and long-range development through land use, circulation, landscape architectural design elements, and flood and erosion control systems.
A cold front, on the evening of November 23, brings thunderstorms in a 40-mile wide line that drop between four and 10 inches of rain in Central Texas. Stalled cars are abandoned all over Austin and “every road in the county has people stranded on the rooftops,” a Travis County sheriff’s office spokesman said.
The University of Texas Board of Regents decides to bulldoze several hundred feet of Waller Creek, along San Jacinto Boulevard—south of 21st Street, and adjacent trees to expand Memorial Stadium. In an unsuccessful attempt to stop the bulldozing, student protesters chained themselves to trees on October 22, in what becomes known as the Waller Creek Riot.
Lyndon B. Johnson, recently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, walks Waller Creek and decries the “shanties” and “hot beds of crime.”
Flash floods kill 35 people, including 12 along Waller Creek. Many people drown from swirling water inside their houses. Excerpts from a 1915 article in the Austin American-Statesman read: “Whole sections of the city were submerged for hours. Houses were washed away, cows, horses, chickens and other fowls were careening down swelled Shoal and Waller Creeks…This morning Austin presents a pitiable sight.”
The University of Texas at Austin opens along Waller Creek.
On January 13, Edwin Waller is elected as Austin’s first mayor, having no opposition and receiving 187 votes. He resigns from his position before the term expires.
The town of Waterloo, situated between two creeks, is chosen to be the capital of the new Republic of Texas. A new city is built quickly in the wilderness, and its name is changed to Austin, in honor of Stephen F. Austin, “the father of Texas.” Texas President Mirabeau Lamar chose Judge Edwin Waller to supervise the surveying and sale of town lots and the construction of public buildings at the new capital. During the process, one of the surveyors names the creek known as Waller Creek after Waller.