To bring this thread back from the dead...Corps approval expected
By SCOTT STREATER
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
The sweeping Trinity Uptown project is expected to clear the last major regulatory hurdle this month, allowing construction to begin next year.
This month, the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to unveil the results of its years-long study of the $435 million project, which would rechannel the Trinity River north of downtown to increase flood protection and promote economic redevelopment.
Project supporters expect the corps' environmental impact statement to recommend that the project be built.
"We are very much looking forward to getting the project moving," said Jim Oliver, general manager of the Tarrant Regional Water District, which is spearheading the project.
The Trinity Uptown project, meanwhile, continues to receive federal money.
Congress approved two bills last month that earmarked $7.8 million for design and construction work and for trails associated with the development. That follows congressional approval in July of a transportation bill that included $12.8 million for construction and design of two bridges.
The project's price tag will be split evenly among federal appropriations and local funding sources.
Trinity Uptown is among the largest proposed developments in Fort Worth since Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was built during the early 1970s.
Project supporters say it would revitalize what some call an aging strip of businesses along North Main Street, attracting an estimated $1 billion in development. Rechanneling the river would create two islands and a 33-acre lake north of downtown. Planners envision upscale condominiums, parks and restaurants, with the river as the centerpiece.
Planners say the project's chief aim, however, is to prevent a rare catastrophic flood by replacing the levee system, which has protected Fort Worth for decades. The replacement would be a 1 1/2 -mile-long bypass channel to carry floodwaters away from downtown.
But the channel would cut through existing businesses, requiring more than 80 business owners to sell and move.
Brad Williams, co-owner of Omaha Surplus on White Settlement Road, is among them. Like other affected business owners, he feels that he was left out of the decision-making that could uproot his company from its home of 42 years.
Further angering people such as Williams is that the corps had developed a much-cheaper alternative to Trinity Uptown that would have restored adequate flood protection without relocating businesses.
Project backers rejected that alternative because they want to remove the earthen levees that have long obscured river views.
Awesome! Construction will likely start next year! I wonder if actual, tangible construction would convince developers who have been holding back on central Fort Worth that there is
a big quality of life boost on the way. Time will tell...
Then we have Picht running for office again. Picht plans to seek seat on board
By ANNA M. TINSLEY
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
FORT WORTH - FORT WORTH -- "Landslide Clyde" is back.
Former City Councilman Clyde Picht, who left the council this summer after four terms to spend time with his family and to travel, announced his candidacy Friday for the Tarrant Regional Water District Board. The board has drawn attention recently as a key agency coordinating the vast $435 million Trinity River Vision project, which envisions rerouting the river through north Fort Worth to promote economic development and increase flood protection. One part of the plan, Trinity River Uptown, would create an urban waterfront around downtown.
"I don't have a problem with the Trinity River Vision as an 80-mile vision to improve the river," said Picht, who was nicknamed "Landslide Clyde" after winning a council seat by 10 votes in 1997. "But when you talk about Trinity Uptown ... I want to be sure the public is getting its money's worth.
"We know what's required for flood control for the Trinity River Vision, and it doesn't require a $435-million expenditure."
Two board seats will be on the May 13 ballot, one held by Director Gina Puente-Brancato and one that board President George Shannon held until he died last month. Board members serve four-year terms and are paid $150 for each day of service up to $7,200 a year, said Jim Oliver, general manager of the water district.
Shannon's seat remains vacant, although board members could appoint a replacement to serve until May, Oliver said.
No filings have been submitted to the water district. The filing period runs until March 13, Oliver said.
Picht, 72, said he plans to continue traveling and spending time with his family. The once-a-month water district meetings would give him time to continue doing that, unlike the once-a-week council meetings, he said.
"We have some critical water issues ahead of us," he said. "We need to look seriously at increasing water capacity, storage ... and capitalizing on the lakes too."
All I can say is that I hope he doesn't screw this up for Fort Worth.