Fort Worth

Review Ordered for Fort Worth's Panther Island Project

Fort Worth’s billion-dollar river project, also known as Panther Island, will have its operations reviewed by an outside consultant following demands to do so by the Mayor Betsy Price and the City Council.

The board of the Trinity River Vision Authority voted unanimously to have the review done, in an attempt to move the project forward, after federal funding was denied for this year by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Long described as a boondoggle by critics, the project is counting on more than $400 million in federal flood control money to re-route the Trinity River.

The project has been billed as having dual missions, providing better flood control protection while at the same time building an island of shops, restaurants and condos.

But federal funding has stalled, and is at risk of being killed altogether, with critics calling Panther Island more of an economic development project than a flood protection project.

The TRVA, which is an offshoot of the Tarrant Regional Water District, manages the project.

Mayor Betsy Price has said the plan may need to be scaled back, depending on what the review shows, to have a better shot at future federal funds.

City Manager David Cooke, who sits on the TRVA board, agreed, saying the review is needed to get a “good idea” on how much federal money to expect, and “when that’s going to come in.”

And if federal money is off the table, Cooke added, “We have got to prioritize and figure out what the next steps are.”

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