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Waterloo Park Welcomes a Live Oak Tree from UT Austin

Thanks to a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin (UT), the City of Austin and Waterloo Greenway, a mature Live Oak tree, previously located on UT’s campus, was moved to Waterloo Park in downtown Austin on May 2, 2020. Construction continues at Waterloo Park with increased safety precautions due to COVID-19. Once completed, it will serve as an important and active hub for the larger Waterloo Greenway.

“What excites me about this park is not only the beauty of the natural environment visitors will enjoy, but also the sense of community it represents. Relocating a mature tree is no easy task, and I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to come together with great community partners like The University of Texas and the City of Austin to make this possible,” commented Peter Mullan, CEO of Waterloo Greenway Conservancy.

Coordination and preparation have been underway for months and the process of rehoming the tree will take place over the span of two days. The 18-inch Southern Live Oak is currently located just east of UT’s Recreation Sports Center, near the intersection of Robert Dedman Dr. and 20th St. and will be moved to the Great Lawn of Waterloo Park. As part of this ongoing partnership, a second tree is expected to be relocated from campus to Waterloo Park later this summer. The tree transplants were made possible through the City of Austin’s Urban Forest Replenishment Fund dedicated to preserving and replanting our community’s urban forest.

“Waterloo Park is a treasure for the city of Austin. We’re thrilled that a live oak from UT will be part of the urban forest there, to be enjoyed for generations to come,” said UT Austin Chief Communications Officer Gary Susswein. “This is an exciting collaboration between UT, Waterloo Greenway Conservancy, and the City of Austin — and one of many long-term projects that the campus and community are forging together to make our city even greater.”

The City of Austin and Waterloo Greenway Conservancy are engaged in a unique public-private partnership to create an extraordinary urban park system around a restored Waller Creek. Healthy trees are a critical part of the landscape not only for the much-needed shade they provide to park users, but also because of their contributions to a healthy ecosystem by improving air quality, mitigating flood risk by stabilizing soil, and providing shelter to local fauna.

“We thank the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy for partnering with us to create the places and spaces where our community gathers, learns and grows. This transplanted tree will add character and beauty to the park while increasing tree canopy on parkland,” said Kimberly McNeeley, Director of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.

There will be almost 500 trees in the completed Waterloo Park – 25 are native to the site, 466 will be planted, and a handful will be carefully relocated from the surrounding area. A large heritage oak tree relocated from the State of Texas Capitol Complex to Waterloo Park in February of 2019 has acclimated well to its new home and is in good health.

Waterloo Park, located along Red River Street between 12th and 15th Streets, will be the first phase of Waterloo Greenway to be completed. The 11-acre park features a great lawn and the Moody Amphitheater, over a mile and a half of trails and a variety of garden and park spaces. It is designed to maximize the existing heritage tree canopy by locating trails, playscapes, gardens and seating areas in and around beautiful shade trees. Waterloo Greenway Conservancy will maintain and operate the park and will activate it with diverse and inclusive programming, cultural events and public art.