Board Supports Review of Panther Island Project

Steven Pickering
October 30, 2018 - 4:54 pm
Fort Worth, Panther Island

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FORT WORTH (KRLD) - The Tarrant Regional Water District is calling for a review of the Panther Island Project. The Board held a meeting this morning, during which members voted in favor of a "programmatic review". The  Trinity River Vision Authority could consider that issue at its next meeting on November 7th.

The Panther Island Project is designed as a flood-control project. It would change the course of the Trinity River in Fort Worth, reducing the risk of flooding on some land while opening up areas to new development. Funding comes from a mixture of local, state and federal sources - although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not include money for the project in its current budget.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called for an audit of the Panther Island Project earlier this year. She's satisfied with today's action from the Tarrant Regional Water District. "I'm glad they've agreed to it. I think we need to figure out...if the money isn't coming from the federal government, then how do we move forward - and I hope the programmatic review will do that," she said. "It will be done by an independent third party, and that will be a good thing."

While some board members of the Tarrant Regional Water District were concerned that a call for an audit implied the possibility of wrong-doing, others indicated it would be a normal part of the process for such a large project. "This is a large, complicated project - we've got our partners in this that have expressed some concerns," said Board Member James Hill. "I think it's appropriate that we take some steps to address that. All good organizations with big projects self-assess from time to make sure they're doing the right thing."

"We have nothing to hide," said Tarrant Regional Water District Board Member Leah M. King. "We're very confident in how things will turn out. But if any of our partners express a concern at any time, which they have, then we have a responsibility to address it."