Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
Fort Worth is looking to improve Casino Beak on Lake Worth, hoping to make it a premiere spot for boaters, swimmers and other visitors.
One lake in the heart of Fort Worth doesn't see a ton of visitors, but work is already under way to change it.
Dredging operations to deepen Lake Worth are beginning, and the City Council approved a plan this month to redevelop areas around the lake that served as an entertainment area decades ago.
Marylou Martin, who brought her aunt Francis Handke and her dog Babe for the first time to Lake Worth on Wednesday, said she was surprised to see Casino Beach so empty.
"It's almost like you have your own private beach," she said. "I don't even see boats. Do you see boats? What a sad thing to have such a beautiful area and have nobody here."
The city recently upgraded a boat ramp at the beach.
"It's very under-utilized," Councilman Dennis Shingleton said. "It's most utilized on Saturdays and Sundays by the boating population. There might be a few swimmers, but not an inordinate amount. The beach is not quite there."
But Shingleton that will change with a development agreement the council approved earlier in June. Patterson Equity Partners of Arlington entered into a 20-year development deal to put at least $10 million into a new retail, restaurant and entertainment district, including upgrades to beach and lake amenities.
Shingleton estimated it would take about three years before the public starts to see plan realized, but it will help keep Fort Worth residents in the city spending money on hot summer days.
"It will be an economic driver," Shingleton said.
Casino Beach in the 1930s and 1940s featured a casino, a roller coaster and many other amenities, but the entertainment area faded and closed in the '50s. The city hopes the private group can rejuvenate the area.