If you’ve followed the ongoing saga of downtown for a few decades, you might be suffering from Shoal Creek Fatigue.
Since the Civilian Conservation Corps developed formal trails along the waterway in the 1930s, we’ve seen plans for improvements to all or part of the Shoal Creek corridor in 1976, 1998, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, and now 2017, with the Shoal Creek Conservancy’s first meeting last month to develop a community master plan for the future of the creek and its greenbelt.
Of course, some of these improvements were realized through the years, with features like paved trails, bike lines, and additional lighting — but like Waller Creek on the other side of the city, much of the corridor remains a showcase of future potential. On the other hand, you’ll notice that those dates I listed appear to be getting closer together towards the end, so the odds seem better than ever for the conservancy to achieve some momentum on these plans.
With the increasing development in the Seaholm and 2nd Street Districts on opposite sides of the creek, along with other creek-adjacent multifamily buildings like the Nokonah Condos and the under-construction Independent residential tower, improvements to trails and public spaces on the waterway seem like a higher priority than ever. That’s not even mentioning the creekside New Central Library and its lovely bridge, the impact of which might suffer slightly if the rest of the waterway looks like a dump.
So what’s the takeaway from the conservancy’s first meeting? The immediate reaction to the possibility of an unbroken trail from Lady Bird Lake to the Domain is obvious — dude, awesome — but what’s going to happen along the creek in the near future? We’ve taken a look at the conservancy’s plans and pulled out the preliminary opportunities they’ve identified for improvements along the greenbelt — even if all the grand plans don’t come to fruition in the near future, these are hopefully the ideas we can count on.
See anything you like? The conservancy’s next community input meeting is in September.