Website shows exciting places to go in downtown Waco

By Maegan Rocio
Staff Writer

Thanks to the Chisholm Crossing website, you won’t say there isn’t anything to do in Waco again.

Chisholm Crossing is a website focused on exploring downtown Waco and the shops, restaurants and recreational activities residents and guests can enjoy.

Launched on Sept. 2, the site was created through the efforts of its owners and a handful of Baylor students and alumni.

Susan Cowley, who co-owns the website, is a Baylor alumna and owner of the advertising firm The Cowley Group.

“The public improvement district wanted a new marketing plan,” Cowley said. “Our firm was hired to come up a with marketing plan for downtown. Our idea was a highly interactive website. The district wanted information on living, working and playing there. We love downtown. We fell in love with our idea.”

Cowley said she has worked with her partner, co-owner Neil Lust of Internet Imagineering, and past and current Baylor students on the website.

She said the students were recommended to her by their respective departments.

“They’ve been our professional staff,” she said.

San Antonio senior Katheryn Zollars also works for the website.

“The goal is to create a community-based online, allowing the user to have the downtown neighborhood just one click away,” Zollars said.

Medina, Wash., senior Andrew Henningsen is another member of the website’s team.

The effort to create a website focused on downtown Waco was 15 years in the making, although Chisholm Crossing is new.

“We wanted to be part of the movement to benefit downtown Waco,” he said. “It started two or three years ago. We’re all Baylor students.”

Henningsen also said the website is a sponsor of Baylor’s atheltic department.

“We want to bring news of downtown Waco through Baylor,” he said.

Henningsen said the site offers many users local stops to see and experience.

“So what makes our site different is the entire experience of going downtown,” Henningsen said. “Say your family is coming for the football game, you can go to the calender and see tons of venues.”

Even though the staff is still working on the site’s other features, visitors can create an account on the website and make their own trip planner.

Henningsen said in the future, website members will receive information about their preferences in downtown Waco.

“It’s not quite up yet. When you create an account, you can create preferences,” he said.

“Every two weeks, you’ll get a newsletter about your preferences through email. Your preferences allow you to dictate what information is sent to you and the time. It continues about the events of what’s coming up, it directs your interest,” he said.

The website’s name originates from the historic Chisholm Trail that goes through Waco.

Named for portion of the trail marked by Jesse Chisholm, the trail was used in the late 19th century to drive cattle up north to Kansas.

“The reason for the name is that the city has had a huge contribution to the past,” Henningsen said.

Cowley said the suspension bridge in Waco is connected to the historic trail.

“Ranchers needed a better way to cross cattle and built the bridge,” she said. “Downtown Waco was the economic hub.”

Henningsen said he hopes the same technology used for the site will be used by other cities going through a revitilization.

Zollars said she hopes the website will become common among Wacoans, Baylor students and visitors.

“When visitors come to Waco, they’ll use the site’s name and see all the great things downtown,” Zollars said.

“I’m so excited to be a part of it. I pray in the next few years they know what the site is and use it to plan to come to downtown Waco.