The idea of Baylor University tailgating parties downtown, employing one of three county courthouse parking lots that may or may not be turned over for free public parking six days during the upcoming football season, makes sense to us. First, it fits in perfectly with the festive atmosphere that the Waco Downtown Development Corp. and the downtown Public Improvement District plan as construction of nearby $260 million McLane Stadium wraps up. Those plans include closing off part of Austin Avenue to encourage more game-day pedestrian traffic downtown as well as more direct outreach by merchants there.
Second, it’s sure evidence of how much excitement has already been invested in the football season, the Baylor Bears and their new, state-of-the-art arena. We understand that there’s already a waiting list for tailgating sites in the stadium’s vicinity, whether on Baylor property or the surrounding neighborhood.
County commissioners have yet to approve the request, but we don’t see how they can refuse this proposal to turn over the lot across Washington Avenue from the county courthouse for tailgating, especially with the city of Waco offering to assume liability and downtown officials vowing to ensure security and cleanup afterward. The request also includes two other county-owned lots to ensure the availability of 2,500 free, off-street parking spots on game day.
“This is an important opportunity,” Waco Downtown Development Corp. executive director Megan Henderson told commissioners this week. “It’s about the most important opportunity Waco has ever faced. But what happens with opportunities is they fly by and you either swing or you don’t.”