The Waller Creek Conservancy is pleased to announce 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. This unique music and performing arts venue will be named the Moody Amphitheater in recognition of the Foundation’s support.
“This is a legacy gift for Waller Creek and for the entire City of Austin. The Moody Foundation has, once again, demonstrated extraordinary vision and leadership in support of our community,” said Peter Mullan, Waller Creek Conservancy CEO. “This historic gift for Waller Creek demonstrates the importance and value of investing in the public realm for Austin’s future generations. The Moody Amphitheater will be a place where nature, culture, and community come together.”
The Waller Creek Conservancy is the non-profit partner to the City of Austin working to restore more than 37 acres of public green space along Waller Creek, from Lady Bird Lake to the University of Texas Dell Medical School. Designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenberg and Associates, the new Waller Creek Park includes the creation of continuous pedestrian and cycling trail from the Butler Trail to UT Austin and a new pedestrian bridge across Lady Bird Lake; the reconstruction and restoration of the lower one-and-a-half-mile Waller Creek into a sustainable riparian ecological system; the transformation of Waterloo Park and Palm Park into highly programmed urban destination parks, and the creation of new park space along Waller Creek between 7th and 9th Streets. Waller Creek Park will be the spine of a revitalized urban district on the east side of downtown Austin.
The Moody Amphitheater is the centerpiece of the transformation of Waterloo Park, an 11-acre park that will include one-and-a-half miles of trails, heritage trees and wetland gardens, elevated promenades, and play spaces located at the northern end of the new Waller Creek Park. Designed by world-renowned architects Thomas Phifer & Partners, the Moody Amphitheater will become a new architectural icon for the city, featuring a unique steel and translucent stage-house structure that fits seamlessly in the park and provides a dramatic public gateway to Waterloo Park. With its Great Lawn, the Moody Amphitheater will accommodate 5,000 attendees for concerts, and educational, cultural, and performing arts events, showcasing the full range of Austin’s creative community. 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.
“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. We hope that The Moody Foundation’s support will encourage both government and philanthropy alike to follow suit and accelerate the execution of the entire Waller Creek project.”
Waller Creek Park is the centerpiece of a larger revitalization effort that will create a dynamic and diverse urban district in eastern downtown. At the State of the City, Mayor Steve Adler articulated his vision for this new district and how the Waller Creek Park, in conjunction with a series of other initiatives in the district, present the opportunity to address a variety of economic development and social needs critical to the city’s future.
“Waller Creek Park is an ambitious, transformative project that embraces our core Austin values and prepares for future growth and vitality,” said Mayor Adler. “The Moody Foundation’s incredible gift challenges us all to realize this opportunity for the benefit of our entire city.”
The Waller Creek Conservancy will break ground on Waterloo Park, including the Moody Amphitheater, later this year, with a projected opening to the public in 2019.
“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,” said Sara Hensley, Director of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. “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. We are proud to be a partner with the Conservancy and their efforts to revitalize this area for the Austin community.”