The Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) is in the process of beginning to make changes to the central city area, known as Panther Island.
These changes are the first steps of the Trinity River Vision Project, which is overseen by the TRVA.
“We are building a mile-and-a-half long, 300-foot wide new body of water,” Public Information Officer for the TRVA Matt Oliver said.
Essentially, the plan is to make an island out of the current Panther Island area, Oliver said. He said the TRVA does not own every property on Panther Island. However, the TRVA has set up the zoning standards and guidelines intended for city developers to follow.
“When we built out the Panther Island area, [we were] looking at doubling the size of downtown,” Oliver said.
Oliver said the people of Fort Worth have asked why the city does not have a San Antonio River Walk feel, especially with the proximity of the river to downtown. With that in mind, the TRVA has planned a way for making the same riverfront feel possible in Fort Worth.
Oliver said the plans for Panther Island call primarily for construction of new apartment complexes, restaurants and park space. Oliver said this construction is “not meant to be competition to downtown,” but is instead intended to be “a complement” to the area.
With the construction, Oliver said jobs have the potential to be more available during both the construction phases of the project, and for the businesses that will be established through the project.
“It is no secret when you look at development anywhere you need bodies there,” Oliver said.
The Panther Island project is just part of the overall plans to update the Trinity River area. The Trinity River Vision Project, a master plan for the future of the Trinity River, is focusing much of its attention on downtown Fort Worth. The project also presents plans for changes to Gateway Park and the Trinity Trails.
After 86 percent of the levees that were tested in 2006 on the Trinity River failed, the TRVA pursued the idea of using the river to the city’s advantage, said Oliver.
“This is a flood control project at its core,” said Matt Oliver, Public Information Officer for the TRVA. “The whole reason the project exists is because the city is growing too fast for the infrastructure that we have.”
Despite the fact the Trinity River Vision Project does not have a set date for completion, Oliver said the project is starting to take shape.
“We are fully comfortable within the next year that you will have the breaking ground of the first development on the island,” Oliver said.
Oliver said he expects the project to attract people looking for jobs and raising families, as well as tourists.
“The people will come,” Oliver said.