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Collaborating for Equitable Economic Development

Waterloo Greenway and Frida Friday ATX support Austin's creative economy. Credit: Waterloo Greenway Conservancy and Frida Friday ATX.

When Waterloo Greenway was preparing to open its first phase, COVID-19 hit. The pandemic’s economic fallout severely affected Austin’s small and minority-owned businesses. Waterloo Greenway Conservancy worked closely with other organizations in Downtown Austin, lending resources and new park features and assets—the Moody Amphitheater opened in August 2021—to help community partners and the city at large bounce back.

The Board’s Community Engagement Committee teamed up with the Boards of local partners, such as the Red River Cultural District. They collaborated on programming that fostered revenue opportunities for small businesses and partners in the District. The Conservancy’s engagement and outreach staff promoted downtown cultural destinations, restaurants, bars, and hotels, and invited local artists to showcase their work in Waterloo Park. They organized an in-person market at the park and four artist workshops. They promoted all events across the city and on social media. They also provided funding support for five virtual markets hosted by Frida Friday ATX, which describes itself as “an intentionally intersectional grassroots movement that supports and amplifies BIPOC, WoC and community creatives.” The virtual markets featured 50 vendors and reached 2,000 viewers each month. 

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