I remember when I was a freshman, I would always face the question, “What should we do now?” whenever I was with my friends. Since I was without a car, I struggled to find things to do because I was bound to the activities around campus.
Before coming to Baylor, I didn’t know where Waco was. I quickly found out that Waco isn’t as developed as the other major cities in Texas. Therefore, it seemed like there weren’t a lot of activities for students to enjoy. Baylor was severely lacking a large public space for students to relax and chill in. I know there are spaces on campus like the Student Union Building, but sometimes we want to go off campus to get a different atmosphere.
When I would make plans with my friends, someone would always suggest to go to Dallas or Austin. So what is it about those cities that make them more appealing for students to go and hang out? I’ve been wondering that for the past three years.
Recently there has been a lot of development near campus with new businesses popping up, and I’m thankful for that. As I’m about to finish college, I’m now starting to see my wish come to life, and I’d like to see more happen. Right behind IHOP, there is a large field that would make the perfect spot for a plaza. I imagine an open space with a lot of tables with a canopy over head. In a horseshoe shape, there would be food and dessert businesses surrounding the open space.
The businesses would stay open late at night up until 1 a.m. I believe this would make Waco more appealing and would create a safe environment for students. It would also be a good opportunity for businesses to be successful. Another good location would be right next to Earle Hall. There is an empty lot that could be transformed into a small park or plaza, and there are a few small businesses next to that area already. Another way we could use it is as a space for food truck vendors to set up shop.
Many other students and I want things to do closer to campus that would be fun and easy. Just like how the Magnolia Silos became a big attraction, it would give families and friends that visit a place to go. Ever since it has opened, a lot of people drove from far distances just to visit the Silos. People can go there to buy some food or just relax.
Another good example is Common Grounds and Heritage Creamery. I think we need a lot more of those types of spaces. Those two businesses have been very successful since they opened, and I think it’s because there isn’t anything like it anywhere near campus. I know that it would work if there were multiple areas around campus that offered a spaces for students to study or have fun.
The problem with getting all of this to happen is finding the funds. In addition, it would have to be in accordance to any regulations. Also since the main source of business would come from college students, it would be risky during times of a break. This could be an issue since there are permanent residents around the area and also people passing through that could stop by. Therefore, I don’t think it would be a big issue because there will always be people year round. If the community of Waco and the city government could put this together, I think the students would be very thankful.