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Government Trinity River Vision Draft Report released; puts focus on federal funding, economic...

Trinity River Vision Draft Report released; puts focus on federal funding, economic development group

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

It’s out.

The Draft Report on the Trinity River Vision project is out.

Release of the findings of a comprehensive review of the $1.17 billion Panther Island project were postponed last Wednesday, July 10 so that Trinity River Vision officials and board members have a chance to craft a response.

G.K. Maenius, Tarrant County administrator and Trinity River Vision Authority board president, announced the review is complete but he made the decision to delay public release of the report until board members have a chance to read it, ask questions and confer with staffers about its contents.

“Earlier that day, we had received the Draft Report from our outside independent consultant (Riveron). At the time of this meeting, neither I, nor any TRVA Board member, had the opportunity to review Riveron’s Draft review,” TRVA Board President G.K. Maenius said in a statement.

Among the report’s recommendations are to create a community development corp. to “oversee the economic development and recreation aspects associated with the project,” which is similar to a suggestion made by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price last year when she raised questions about funding for the $1.1 billion project.

Industry best practices call for an internal review of a draft report to ensure that the data underlying the development of findings, and eventually the making of recommendations, is accurate, he said.

Maenius said one week has passed since that meeting and that TRVA Board members have now either provided corrected information or will soon, he said.

“I apologize for any confusion over this approach, but verifying the Draft Report’s accuracy was our only goal for conducting an internal review,” Maenius said.

A link to review this Draft Report will be available on the home websites of Tarrant County and Trinity River Vision Authority.

The TRVA board, a subsidiary of the Tarrant Regional Water District, is made up of elected officials and top executives from the water district, the city of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

Several board members expressed disappointment with Maenius’ decision to postpone the public presentation and dismay with his recommendation to reschedule it Aug. 9.

After the meeting, Mayor Betsy Price weighed in as well, calling for the release.

“As Mayor, I called for this review because our residents, taxpayers and businesses demanded more transparency surrounding the Panther Island project. This independent report is an opportunity to clear up concerns, alleviate frustration among residents and, most importantly, help provide a path forward for this critical project. I am calling for the timely and transparent release of this report.”

Other notes from the report:

• There have been major miscommunications and understanding regarding project progress and milestones.

For instance, the 7th Street Bridge form/design as applied to Henderson/Main/White Settlement has been

incorrectly understood to be a rejection of a cost-saving measure, when in fact the offer by TXDOT to

leverage the 7th street design would have had a direct negative impact on scope, was not guaranteed to be

approved by the USACE, would have required extensive addition to time and scope (and ultimately cost) for

assessment and redesign, and was not guaranteed to occur.

• Local government sponsors have secured funding for the portions of the project under their mandate. The

obstacle remaining to project completion is securing federal funding for the remaining aspects of the

Bypass Channel to be completed in concert with bridge completion, and ancillary construction and cleanup

required for future habitation and use.

To view the report: Click Here


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