WACO, TX — A segment of 7th Street has become a pedestrian plaza as City Center Waco commences the "Summer of Downtown".
Between Austin Ave. and Franklin Ave., 7th St. will be closed to traffic for at least the next two months. The new pedestrian plaza offers art, tables and lights for people to enjoy while downtown.
The plaza is part of a group of projects from City Center Waco over the course of the next two months. Other projects include opening up more free parking and opening a walkway along 6th St. between Austin Ave. and the Magnolia Silos.
Brisa Byford, who works with CivicBrand, a company hired to help create the plaza, said the plaza brings much-needed liveliness to downtown Waco.
"I think downtown as a whole kinda lacked color, lacked something to catch your eye," Byford said.
The plaza officially opened on Friday night along with an opening night celebration that included music, refreshments and games.
"To have it fully done--have music, drinks, have the community here is gonna be really exciting," Byford said, preparing for Friday's event.
City Center Waco hopes the new projects will help entice visitors to the city, as well as locals, to explore more of the downtown area.
The plaza caught the eye of at least one family as they walked down Austin Ave. on Friday morning.
"It piqued our interest," said Julie Cooke, whose family stopped for Waco for the day as a stop on their road trip across the country from South Carolina.
Organizers are currently calling the two-month setup a "test run" to see if it's possible to have more permanent pedestrian areas in the future.
"I think it brings great inspiration, makes for a lively environment," Cooke said of the colorful plaza. "I definitely think this should hopefully stay. This is really cool."
Even Waco local Deuce Moore was intrigued by the re-purposed stretch of road.
"It's really pretty, it's exciting really to just see a big change and an art show, art things, coming to Waco," Moore said.