The Panther Island Project Goals
Our city’s growth explosion has led Fort Worth leaders to seek smarter solutions to handle the population increase. The most well-known of these solutions is the Panther Island Project.
These goals are a guide for smart, sustainable redevelopment of our city’s core. A once-neglected, industrial section of the Trinity River will be transformed into a vibrant riverfront neighborhood with green spaces bustling with activity and opportunities for living, employment and education.
The publicly-funded components of the project provide flood protection, urban revitalization, environmental cleanup, enhanced recreational opportunities and sustainable infrastructure improvements like new bridges and new/improved roads and trails.
The very heart of the transformation
The need for updated flood protection in the city’s near north side, along with the community’s desire for an urban waterfront, have led the project partners to develop an infrastructure that not only makes our city safer, but also provides a unique opportunity for river recreation and development. The infrastructure constructed as a part of the Central City will eliminate the need for our current levee system – resulting in access right up to the waterfront.
The Bypass Channel
A 1.5-mile-long bypass channel will be built to redirect flood waters around the low lying areas north of downtown Fort Worth.
Samuels Avenue Dam
A dam near Samuels Avenue will keep upstream water at a constant level. A channel lock component
will allow boats to travel–via Marine Creek–between The Stockyards and Panther Island.
Signature V-Pier Bridges
These signature bridges feature 10-foot pedestrian lit sidewalks, bicycle facilities and will bring about reduced traffic delays along with opportunities for future mass transportation. These signature bridges will stretch over the future bypass channel providing a connection in and out of Panther Island.
Three flood gates will be installed at points where the bypass channel and the original river intersect. Most of the time these gates will remain open, but would shut in the case of a high-water event – forcing water through the bypass channel.
Water can move fast in times of flooding. To counter this, the construction of valley storage is crucial. These designated areas will hold flood water for short periods of time until river levels return to normal.
See How Scaling Down a Big Problem Saved Millions
Watch this video showing a 1:40 scale replica of the bypass channel and associated infrastructure to test the hydraulic validity of the system. The tests performed with this football field-sized model revealed data that engineers used to save the Project Partners millions.
Focused on giving new life to an aging section of the city
Infrastructure needed for flood control will restore an aging industrial area just north of the Tarrant County Courthouse. The bypass channel and associated flood control infrastructure will aid in restoring more than 800 acres of underutilized land resulting in opportunities for over 10,000 housing units and over 3 million square feet of commercial, retail and educational space. This thriving live-work-play neighborhood will appeal to those looking for an active urban lifestyle.
Live. Work. Play.
Panther Island is expected to…
…generate more than 29,600 full-time workers in the area,
…contribute over $3.7 billion in annual economic activity to our region,
…increase the tax base by over a billion dollars from $129 million to $1.3 billion,
…connect Downtown with the Cultural District and The Stockyards
…and add 12 miles of developable waterfront in our central business district.
Including steps to enhance the quality of our environment
While previous levee construction has provided a level of flood protection, it left much of the Trinity River with little environmental character. For the last few decades, Streams and Valleys, Inc. and the Tarrant Regional Water District have taken major steps toward enhancing the river’s ecosystem. This project maintains the restoration improvement effort.
Rethink. Refresh. Restore.
- Any environmental contamination solutions should result in district features meant to enhance quality-of-life — features like canals, lakes, walking trails,
public plazas and other recreational amenities.
- Planting native shade trees along both sides of the new 1.5-mile bypass channel will improve air quality in a previously industrial area of the city.
- Local ordinances requiring more trees and open space will increase vegetation near buildings and sidewalks to further improve air quality.
- Revitalizing the Central City and encouraging Brownfield Redevelopment enhances the environment, reduces blight, brings people and jobs together, and takes development pressures off of green spaces and working lands.
Look for opportunities to enhance or create new outdoor recreation
Another goal of the project is to incorporate quality-of-life and recreational elements as part of the infrastructure that serves to protect our city from flooding. These recreational amenities—canals, lakes, walking trails and public plazas—will serve to foster a more active, outdoor lifestyle and make Panther Island a hub for outdoor activity in Fort Worth.
Active. Connected. Healthy.
The project includes approximately 10 additional miles of pedestrian trails to the existing 77-mile Trinity Trail System. These new trails will serve to link neighborhoods and other cultural amenities. Picnic areas, park benches and landscaping will be found along the trails to create places for the public to connect to the river and the environment.
The project will create navigable waterways and watercraft launches throughout Panther Island. Additionally, kayak storage lockers will be incorporated into the design of the Trinity River promenade allowing for enhanced rowing, canoeing, paddleboarding and kayaking experiences on the Trinity River.
Building a district for now and future generations
This project is a model for sustainability in North Texas. Through creative design and implementation, the new public infrastructure being built will provide public safety and quality-of-life elements meant to be utilized for generations. Smart sustainable practices will be integrated into the design and construction of new park facilities, flood gates, lakes, dams, roads, bridges and other infrastructure elements.
Designing for Density
Land use is regulated through mixed-use zoning, combining a diversity of uses in a centralized area to foster a live-work-play environment .
A form-based code with minimum height requirements requires private development to conform to design principles that enable a pedestrian oriented, dense neighborhood to function by reducing urban sprawl, preserving green space and utilizing shared public parking facilities.
An innovative storm water management system will replace conventional underground conveyance systems to handle storm water runoff through a series of canals. The Development Standards and Guidelines allow incentives for the construction of LEED certified buildings within Panther Island and will require the use of quality materials in new construction.
A circulation network that maximizes street and path connectivity for vehicles, pedestrians, public transportation and bicycles will improve traffic and provide a wider range of mobility options. New roads and bridges will accommodate a future mass transit system, purposely narrowed local streets will create an urban friendly street grid and waterways will be navigable by boats to transport people throughout the island.
Many sustainable methods will be used during construction. Conveyor systems are being used for transporting dirt, the reuse of materials for construction of the public infrastructure, pump stations will be built to manage river flow, low-maintenance green scapes will be utilized in public spaces and flood gates will be used to control water quality by utilizing energy from the river to provide flushing flows that will maintain optimal river quality for waterways within Panther Island.