After cutting several community events from its calendar last year, the Tarrant Regional Water District wants public input to shape the recreational programs offered along the Trinity River, Eagle Mountain Lake and the Marine Creek Reservoir.
In June and July, the water district will host 10 public meetings across Tarrant County to learn more about how people use its properties for recreation and what community members would like the agency to focus on in the coming years.
Residents can fill out an online survey that the water district will use to prioritize improvements to trail amenities, water recreation, nature areas or event spaces. Recreational uses can range from running on the Trinity Trails to boating in Eagle Mountain Lake to gathering at Panther Island Pavilion, which is owned by the water district.
Public meetings and survey results will inform the water district’s first recreation master plan since 2009. Darrell Beason, TRWD’s chief operating officer, said the agency already has a variety of plans focused on trails or individual projects.
Make your voice heard at public meetings
- June 1, 6:30 p.m. at Hope Church of Fort Worth, 1750 Beach St.
- June 6, 7 p.m. at Lighthouse Fellowship, 7200 Robertson Rd.
- June 15, 6:30 p.m. at Northwest Library, 6228 Crystal Lake Dr.
- June 27, 6:30 p.m. at Tarrant County College – Trinity River Campus, 300 Trinity Campus Cir.
- July 11, 6:30 p.m. at Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Camellia Room, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
- July 27, 6:30 p.m. at Riverside Community Center, 3700 E Belknap St.
- June 8, 6:30 p.m. at River Oaks City Hall, 4900 River Oaks Blvd.
- June 20, 6:30 p.m. at Westworth Village City Hall, 311 Burton Hill Rd.
- June 29, 6:30 p.m. at Azle City Hall, 505 W. Main St.
One further date and location will be announced soon.
“We’re just trying to get our arms around everything that is recreation for TRWD, and get alignment between the public, our board and our staff,” Beason said. “It’s a large plan at a high level. This is not a design contract. We’re not going to receive plans and specs to go build the next latest and greatest thing.”
While boat rentals and jet skis are a common sight at the water district’s reservoirs in east Texas, the agency’s recreation budget is intended for Eagle Mountain Lake, Marine Creek Lake, Airfield Falls, Twin Points Park, Panther Island Pavilion and the Trinity Trails system.
“We have a finite amount of money,” Beason said. “We need to make sure that whatever we’re building, we’re also able to take care of it forever.”
The master plan comes after the water district eliminated several recreational programs in 2022, including Panther Island Ice, Fort Worth Oktoberfest and Marine Creek Health Fair.
Under general manager Dan Buhman, TRWD has focused on litter-pickup events and recreational activities more related to water supply and flood control, according to previous Fort Worth Report coverage.
Questions about the future of LaGrave Field, which remains under water district ownership, will not be addressed in the recreation master plan, Beason said.
Efforts to bring minor league baseball back to the rundown ballpark fell apart in 2020, when TRWD ended its partnership with the Save LaGrave Foundation. The movement for rehabilitating the Northside stadium, previously home to the Fort Worth Cats, also lost a vocal champion following the death of water district board member Jim Lane in November.
The results of a study by HR&A Advisors Inc. will determine how the water district moves forward with LaGrave, Beason said. HR&A is working on a real estate development strategy for Panther Island on behalf of the city of Fort Worth, the water district and other partners involved with the nearly $1.16 billion project.
“That property use will first and foremost be calculated into their plan, and then based on what comes out of that, then it may enter back in as a component of TRWD recreation. It may not,” Beason said. “I don’t know the outcome of that. We’re staying out of that realm.”
Beason views the recreation master plan process as an “idea generator” – a starting point for the water district to explore why certain sections of trails or water resources are a hotspot for activity, and others are underutilized. From there, the agency can add kayak launches, modify dams or make other changes to encourage use in less popular areas, he said.
“We can all guess on things of why people aren’t using sections of trail, but until we hear directly from the trail user, we’re just making guesses,” Beason said.
Haley Samsel is the environmental reporter for the Fort Worth Report. You can reach them at email@example.com.
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