Waller Creek Boathouse may need to uproot for CapMetro Blue Line
AUSTIN (KXAN) – There is a special place that is on Lady Bird Lake that may need to move.
Capital Metro and Austin Transit Partnership staff discuss proposed locations and rail routes as part of Project Connect.
“It’s kind of a hidden gem,” said Nhaila Hendricksen. “It’s tucked away and tucked away in the trees, and you’ve got the Austin Rowing Club.”
Nhaila and her puppy take a walk on Lady Bird Lake almost every day during the summer. The Waller Creek boathouse is their resting place.
Plans for the blue rail that will connect Austin Airport to downtown and north Austin have it cross Lady Bird Lake on a surface bridge before entering a system of tunnels downtown.
The rail could occupy the entire top half of the Waller Creek boathouse.
“We’re pretty confident that this is the best alignment for the Blue Line,” said Peter Mullan, head of urban design for Austin Transit Partnership.
This is a disruption seen as an opportunity for the Austin Rowing Club, which leases the property to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. The rowing club operates in the lower part of the boathouse, but had event rental space upstairs.
“I literally told them, great, let’s walk through the boathouse and build a new one on the waterfront, and maybe have the world’s first integrated community outreach and transportation space,” said Kevin Reinis, executive director of the Austin Rowing Club.
Alta’s Cafe, event space, and upstairs gym should be gone, but it might not be the end of it for them.
“Capital Metro knows they definitely need to replace the space they take up,” Reinis said.
The CapMetro blue line is only 15% of the planning process, so none of it is set in stone. At the end of July, there will be a series of public hearings to roll out what is planned so far in detail.