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Photo by Waterloo Greenway

Waterloo Greenway seeks alcohol permit before its August debut

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 by Amy Smith

A decade after closing for Waller Creek tunnel repairs, Waterloo Park, which once stretched along the shadows of state-owned parking garages, has morphed into the renovated and rebranded Waterloo Greenway, poised to reopen in August.

The once no-frills park, home to many iconic community events over the decades, will feature a new Moody Amphitheater, a small performance space called Lebermann Plaza, and a food truck and tree-deck area. All of these areas are designated for alcohol sales.

Parks and Recreation Board members were treated to a tour of the site prior to the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy coming before the board May 25 to request approval of a conditional use permit for alcohol sales at special events. The board gave its recommendation (with one “no” vote and one abstention) and the request now goes to the Planning Commission for approval.

The 11-acre greenway between 12th and 15th streets is part of a connected chain of parks designed to turn Waller Creek into a downtown destination for residents and tourists. Waterloo Greenway Conservancy has partnered with Live Nation/C3 Presents for booking live music events at the amphitheater.

For the most part, parks board members commended the conservancy for the work invested in the revamped park project, although Board Member Laura Cottam Sajbel had strong reservations about serving alcohol at one of the designated sites adjacent to a children’s area of the park. She cast the lone nay vote on those grounds. Kate Mason-Murphy abstained for the same reasons.

Members also expressed concern about how the new state law allowing people to carry a gun without a permit will affect events at the park. While currently only permitted guns are allowed at city parks, PARD Director Kimberly McNeeley said the city’s Law Department is reviewing the impact the new law would have on parks and special events at Waterloo Greenway and other public spaces.

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