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Flood-mitigation project to bring a new identity to Fort Worth

Panther City Pavilion concert (Source: Tarrant Regional Water District)

As Fort Worth’s population continues to rise, city officials and private developers are looking to reshape the surrounding areas of the downtown district.

Partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Tarrant Regional Water District, acting as a local sponsor, is carving out a new channel around what is planned to be Panther Island to update the city’s current flood mitigation infrastructure.

The levees and channels that are currently in operation were built in the 1950s, a time when Fort Worth’s population was roughly 350,000 people. Now, the city has over 960,000 residents, which requires a new system of channels to prevent flooding, Matt Oliver, a spokesperson for the TRWD, said.

Rockin’ in the River hosted in the Trinity River (Source: Tarrant Regional Water District)

The channel will be funded by local and federal dollars with each source contributing half of the money needed, Oliver said.

Although the project is not slated to be complete for another 10 years, Fort Worth residents can still enjoy the Trinity River now, Oliver said. Despite distrust in the river’s cleanliness, the Trinity River is one of the cleanest urban rivers in the state of Texas.

An E. coli rating of 399 or below is safe for swimming. The waters surrounding the Panther Island project have seen ratings as low as 12, which cultivates a safe environment for people to enjoy the Trinity River, Oliver said.

The TRWD has already purchased all the land that will be used for the construction of the channel, paid for relocation of businesses if necessary and removed 400,000 tons of material from the area, Oliver said.

Proposed flood mitigation project outline (Source: Tarrant Regional Water District)

Panther Island, an 800-acre private development project funded by public and independent investors, will include walkable waterfront property and recreation spaces and will increase job opportunities for residents, Valerie Colapret, an official with the Fort Worth Development Services office, said. 

To determine what citizens want out of the project, city officials have contracted HR&A Advisors, who will perform community outreach and recommend what should be included, Colapret said. 

A Panther Island Preliminary Findings presentation said that the development will also include retail stores, restaurants, office spaces and entertainment venues.

At this time, the development on Panther Island has no projected completion date, Colapret said.

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