Fort Worth’s Panther Island project moves forward with $403 million

Imagine: an island is (finally) built in the middle of our city. | Rendering via TRWD

There’s a green light for the Central City Flood Control Project — aka the development that will create the 800-acre Panther Island, Fort Worth’s long-awaited walkable waterfront district — in the form of $403 million.

The federal grant comes from the US Army Corps of Engineers to finish construction of the project’s bypass channel. The channel is a key component of the project, connecting the Trinity River’s Clear and West Forks to redirect the river’s flow + divert flood water in emergencies. It’s also what will make Panther Island an island. The bypass channel is currently 50% complete

A win for the city

The grant’s announcement is, in the words of Mayor Mattie Parker, “an incredible moment in Fort Worth’s history.” This project has been decades in the making, and after years of funding hold-ups and construction delays, this allocation of money is some much-needed grease on the wheel. 

What to expect

Designing + hiring contractors for the bypass channel is an 18 month process, according to corps’ spokesman Clay Church. The city will also need to relocate certain utilities before construction begins. According to Clay, here’s the part of the project you can expect to see completed first. 

A glimpse into life on the waterfront | Rendering via TRWD

Function vs. form

The money has been granted because of Fort Worth’s flood risks — according to the Trinity River Vision Authority, the project will save 2,400 acres and $2.4 billion from catastrophic floods, the likes of which the city saw back in 1949

A component of the overall project that the federal money won’t touch is the creation of “Panther Island” or Central City, a revitalization of the city land that will turn into an island when the flood project is completed. Think shopping and dining, new residential units, and a sprawling riverwalk (similar to San Antonio’s) designed to be a major city attraction

The very next step

A Trinity River Vision Authority Board meeting is scheduled for Thurs., Jan. 27 at 9:00 a.m. at 800 E. Northside Dr. — here’s the agenda + how to make a public comment. You can also watch the meeting live.