Waco’s Parks and Recreation Department is working to enhance the city’s downtown riverwalk experience by adding safety personnel, signs and additional lighting in time for opening day at Baylor University’s McLane Stadium.

Jonathan Cook, community promotions specialist for the city of Waco, said the city expects the pathway along the river to be one of the most-trafficked entrances to the stadium as people walk from free downtown parking and festivities to the game. Baylor’s first home game is Aug. 31 vs. Southern Methodist University.

The city will erect temporary signs to direct pedestrians to the riverwalk and then on to the pedestrian bridge at Baylor. Signs also will lead the fans back to their cars.

City officials expect people to use the steps at Franklin Avenue to access the riverwalk. As a result, they plan to install additional light towers and add park rangers to the riverwalk for extra safety, Cook said. The game begins at 6:30 p.m., so fans will be returning to their vehicles along the lighted riverwalk.

Megan Henderson, Waco Downtown Development Corp. executive director, said she has been working with the city to ensure the downtown area and riverwalk represent Waco well to visitors and game attendees.

Park officials think the same cleanup strategy used for the Fourth of July will be effective on Baylor game days. Independence Day festivities normally attract about 20,000 people to the river, and Cook said at least the same number are expected to return on Labor Day, the day after the opening game.

Sidewalks will be power-washed before the weekend, and all trash cans will be emptied on game-day morning, he said.

The city also will deploy its trash boat, which patrols the Brazos River scooping up debris. And if there is excess litter along the walkway, the city might add additional trash cans the following weekend, Cook said.

Henderson said she looks forward to seeing the results of efforts to spruce up the walkway along the river.

“It’s a pretty walk. This is going to be a really cool part of game day, and if people haven’t been here when they’ve been to Waco, it’s going to be really cool,” she said.