Fort Worth's Lake Worth will be getting a long awaited face-lift in the next few months, but it's one most people will never see.
The City Council is set to approve the use of approximately $12.5 million in gas well revenues to dredge select portions of Lake Worth. The dredging plan was formally adopted as part of the 2007 Lake Worth Capital Improvements Implementation Plan.
Tony Springfield, who owns the Casino Beach Mart and Bait Shop a short distance from Casino Beach and a new boat ramp installed within the last year, said fisherman talk about some problems getting around part of the lake.
"If you know where the river channel is, you can stay in the area, but it minimizes the space to use on the lake," said Springfield, who added that tree stumps and other debris can often ruin the day for those less familiar with the lake. "It gets kind of crowded because everyone is trying to stay in the channel."
It's why the city is going to dredge several areas near the shoreline north and west of Loop 820. The project could begin as early as late February and last seven months.
"The reality is, Lake Worth is shallow," said Mary Gugliuzza, Fort Worth Water Department spokeswoman. "It's always been fairly shallow. All we're going to do is clean up some select areas."
The last year of drought conditions have had a slight impact, as lake levels are down a few feet. But the water department said the dredging of the lake will make navigation just as good when the water level is down as well as when it's up.
"When Lake Worth is at its lowest point, we will still have 6 feet of water off the shoreline so boats can still get out there," Gugliuzza said.
The project is being funded with gas well revenues from gas well sites under the lake and in the surrounding areas. The money has been exclusively set aside for Lake Worth and its surrounding area.
"One of the things in that capital improvement plan, for instance, is water and sewer improvements for Casino Beach," Gugliuzza said. "Once we're able to get those improvements completed, that will allow for the revitalization of Casino Beach."
Casino Beach does have several park amenities, including the new boat ramp.
The improvements could help return the area to its former glory back in the 1920s and 1930s. The lake was created in 1914 and became a destination spot in the 20s featuring a roller coaster, hotels and casinos.
An old picture of the area hangs inside Tony Springfield's store just off Jacksboro Highway. Springfield said he’s hopeful the city can bring some positive change to the area.
"That would be great," he said.
Great Lake Dredge and Docking, LLC will perform the work. The company, which is based in Iowa, is said to perform this kind of work all over the country.