Fort Worth, Tarrant County, the Tarrant Regional Water District, Tarrant County College, Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth, Downtown Fort Worth Inc., and Streams & Valleys are “collaborating to explore both near- and long-term development opportunities for Panther Island.”
The entities are focused on the economic development of Panther Island because it “will fund the local share of the flood control infrastructure.”
In its request, Fort Worth is soliciting proposals from consulting firms with waterfront development experience. Proposals are due by November 10.
Panther Island has been the source of much controversy and criticism for over a decade as the construction of the flood control bypass channels has languished.
Critics have questioned how much of the project is about flood control and how much is about land development.
Lon Burnam, a former state representative and member of the Water District Accountability Project, thinks this request for proposal tells the story.
“We are not at all surprised. If this were really about flood control, they would have approached it differently from the beginning,” Burnam said.
Panther Island is a mixed-use development that includes “an envisioned 10,000 housing units and three million square feet of commercial, retail, and educational space,” a canal system, walking trails, a marina, and a houseboat district.
Its proponents emphasize that while “[t]he district is impacted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control project … no federal money is being used to accomplish the City’s sustainable growth goals for the district.”
According to a press release by the City of Fort Worth, the chosen consultant will consider current market conditions and existing regulations before recommending “how to bring transformational change to Panther Island.”
The chosen consultant will be expected to study other cities who have successfully implemented similar developments.
As part of the development evaluation process, the consultant will create and oversee opportunities for the public to provide input.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.