WACO, Texas — The new Bridge Street Plaza in East Waco officially opened to the public on Monday, providing a new gathering space for the community to host events of all sizes.
Known as Waco's "front porch", the plaza located just north of the suspension bridge on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. now has a stage, green areas, seating, and room for food trucks.
"It really is a representation of what this community wants and what they're about," said Waco Mayor Dillon Meek.
The roughly $6 million project was managed by City Center Waco. It was first conceptualized in 2010, and construction crews broke ground on the site in 2019.
Creating new gathering spaces is a concept that City Center Waco calls "placemaking". Another one of these projects is the 7th Street Plaza downtown.
"It just gives people a place to be and it gives people a place to gather and have community," project coordinator Michael Carpenter said.
Both Carpenter and Meek mentioned that after a year in a pandemic, having outdoor spaces to gather is critical.
"One thing that we've learned this last year in the pandemic is that gathering together with people matters, that places matter, that community matters," Meek said.
The project was based on community input from East Waco neighborhood members.
While there are no events for the plaza set just yet, City Center Waco hopes to have a system for booking the space ready soon.