The future of an iconic football stadium in Fort Worth is still unknown but the school district and city leaders are trying to do something about it.
Farrington Field was built in 1938 during the era of art deco architecture and design. The structure, which stands next to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo grounds, was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The stadium and the surrounding 36 acres sit in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District and have been used by various community groups over the years.
The site is so meaningful that the city of Fort Worth and Fort Worth ISD were willing to pay $25,000 each for a panel study to see if there is a way to save the stadium and nearby Billingsly Field House.
A panel of experts from the local chapter of urban planning nonprofit, Urban Land Institute, wrapped up their research and investigation this week.
Nearly a dozen real estate experts toured the site and interviewed 60 different stakeholders. Their ideas and recommendations on how to proceed were presented to the public on Thursday.
“The property has the potential to attract entrepreneurial businesses that would align with the city’s economic development strategic plan while complementing existing businesses and institutions in the area,” the city said in a press release statement published this month. “The possibility of redevelopment is challenging, however, because the iconic art deco stadium is architecturally and historically significant, because the site contains important drainage easements and setbacks for nearby gas wells, and because the Fort Worth Stock Show and other public events rely heavily on the parking lot during events.”
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The panel suggested the city do cost/benefit analysis to figure out how much it would cost just to bring the stadium and fieldhouse to code.
The property is owned by both the city and school district, so they would also need to figure out who exactly would spearhead this project if it were to move forward.
There are also concerns about the space beneath the stadium. It is unknown what type of water and sewer set is underneath the building, which could lead to more money being spent to fix it.
After all of that is figured out, the panel said the next steps would be to do more assessments to see exactly what type of redevelopment would be conducted on the site, gather public input and search for a developer.
Funding is another thing. Fort Worth voters rejected a school district bond that would pay for stadiums but other funding sources are being explored.
The panel estimates it could take 10 years before any potential redevelopment would be complete.
But it's a piece of Fort Worth history many are not willing to give up on.