As 1,000 athletes prepare to plunge into the Brazos River on Sunday for the fourth annual TriWaco triathlon races, we’re proud to say that our downtown river is gaining quite a reputation as a destination location for swimmers.
And with the upcoming construction of Baylor University’s new riverfront stadium upriver, as well as the Texas Department of Transportation’s expedited construction of the new Interstate 35 frontage bridges over the Brazos, the river is quickly becoming a centerpiece in our city that will undoubtedly draw visitors and revenue.
Prior to the first TriWaco event in 2009, hardly anyone swam the Brazos. Now, dozens of members of the Waco Triathlon Club swim it weekly. Outdoor Waco rents paddleboards and kayaks from its shores, and it’s become quite a scenic — and healthy — way to rediscover all that our city has to offer.
“Since TriWaco, people are coming down to the river,” said Blake Harris, vice president of sports and special events for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors TriWaco along with the city of Waco. “Once people realized they could swim in there and it was safe, there has been a lot more boaters and activity on the river in the last four years.”
That’s good for Waco all around. Drawing visitors downtown on weekends and evenings is critical to improving our city’s economic development. This also moves us in the direction of other successful cities, like San Antonio, which saw a tremendous uptick in visitors after opening the River Walk.
So come out Sunday morning and support the triathletes — 700 from out of town and nine other states. Stand on the banks of the Brazos or the Washington Avenue Bridge, and let them know we welcome them in our river.
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