FORT WORTH -- After years of planning and debate over its costly mission, the $576 million Trinity Uptown project finally got under way this morning with the tearing down of an abandoned motel on the city’s near west side.
An excavator tore a chuck out of the mid-section of the Sims Motel at 901 N. Henderson as local public officials and dignitaries looked on from a white tent while listening to music from the Epcot Center at Disney World.
J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, said he’s constantly being asked when the massive flood control and economic development project was going to begin. He said today was the day.
“People are always asking when this project is going to start,” Granger said. “Well, we’ve started after years and years of planning. We’ve been pregnant for a long time, now we are showing.”
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Mayor Mike Moncrief praised the project, which he said will double the size of the central business district and create tens of thousands of new jobs while attracting people back to the Trinity River.
“Fort Worth is not just talking about this project, we are building it,” Moncrief said.
Trinity Uptown will include a river bypass channel and a town lake, creating an 800-acre island for development just north of downtown Fort Worth. Besides locks, dams, and levees, three bridges will be built.
This year, the project was expanded to include Gateway Park and the Riverside Oxbow on the east side of downtown, adding 1,000 acres.
Trinity Uptown is a joint federal and local government project being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with the city of Fort Worth, the Tarrant Regional Water District and Tarrant County.
The water district, which is providing $64 million to buy the land, so far has paid about $6.4 million for four other parcels, or about 8 acres. Offers on two other parcels of land are pending.