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‘Challenging Conversation’ Planned to Discuss Future of Fort Worth’s Panther Island on June 15

June 12,2023

See full Candy's Dirt article by April Towery here.

After almost two decades of talking about Fort Worth’s $1 billion Panther Island project, a panel of city leaders, academics, and consultants will gather June 15 to see how the politically tense plan can get off the ground — or if it should at all.

The meeting of the minds to discuss Panther Island is slated for a 7:30 a.m. sold-out breakfast on June 15 at Texas Wesleyan University.

We’re anxious to cover the discussion, which will feature panelists Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc.; Dennis Chiessa, an architect and professor at The University of Texas at Arlington; and Susan Alanis, chief operating officer of Tarrant County College.

A consultant from HR&A Advisors, the firm responsible for mapping out the future of real estate development in and around Panther Island, also will join the conversation, moderated by Bennett Partners CEO Michael Bennett.

It’s being advertised as a “challenging conversation.”

“The long-awaited Panther Island project has been the center of political tensions in Fort Worth for almost two decades,” Chris Cobler of Fort Worth Report wrote in a press release. “The project will be located near downtown and is estimated to cost over $1 billion. Some are sure it will help our city flourish, while others doubt the project will be worth the price. Join us as we analyze what happens next for Panther Island.”

History of Panther Island
A March article in The Fort Worth Report claimed Panther Island was awarded $20 million in federal funding for flood mitigation, but an additional $98 million is still needed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect Cowtown from a major flooding event.

Consultants with HR&A Advisors — the same group overseeing Dallas’ historic preservation plan overhaul — were hired to plan real estate development in and around Panther Island.

While the flood mitigation work is a public safety matter, it’s at the mercy of the federal government’s timeline and budget. In the meantime, however, as the community waits on housing and economic development to spark, businesses have shuttered, private property has been seized by eminent domain, and roads have been rerouted.

“It’s a huge mess,” one Tarrant County resident told “Lots of people have given up a lot for nothing.”

As with any billion-dollar project, there is plenty of bureaucracy involved and a lot of cash needed to make it happen.

Former Fort Worth Mayor and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger has championed the project. Her son J.D. Granger oversaw Panther Island development for more than a decade but resigned his position as executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, which operates under the Tarrant Regional Water District, about a year ago.

Lawsuits and editorials about the project, and the Granger family’s involvement, abounded, and it’s clear that Fort Worth is waiting to see what happens next.

Stay tuned to for coverage of the June 15 meeting.

Locations Mentioned: Panther Island Pavilion, Tarrant County College- Trinity River Campus