FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Casino Beach on the west bank of Lake Worth isn’t much of an entertainment venue now unless you bring your own inflatable raft and an ice chest. But some people are looking at the past to build a new future for the Fort Worth park.
“That’s cool isn’t it?” said Tyler Patterson as he stared at a black and white picture of what Casino Beach used to look like. “Just the history of it is just amazing.”
Patterson, along with his father and another business partner have plans for what is now an undeveloped 10-plus acres of park land.
Casino Beach in the early twentieth century was one of the hottest entertainment areas in the Southwest. It was developed as a public/private venture. A bathhouse on the site grew huge crowds of swimmers. Those crowds lured development.
A grand music hall attracted top bands and there was a mile-long roller coaster considered state-of-the-art at the time, a boardwalk and a Ferris wheel.
It was all on a site that now has no running water, a few portable toilets and a handful of picnic tables. But a new private-public project could bring some of that luster back.
“We just want to do Casino Beach in a modern way,” Patterson said excitedly. “The best of the old with the best of the new.”
Plans call for half a dozen restaurants facing the water in a ‘V’ formation, a ferris wheel on a boardwalk, a theatre and ampitheatre, a paddleboat and marinas and surrounding a revamped beach front.
“That is nice, there,” said frequent park visitor Ed Zigler as he looked at the plan for the first time. “This will work. This is Fort Worth! I just sit out here sometimes and wonder if I could take 10 or 15 people and fix up the beach, just the beach, how nice that would be? But this is the whole deal.”
The city will sell and lease property for the project. It will also run water and sewer lines to the site which Councilman Dennis Shingleton said will cost about $4.4 million, which the city will recoup in the project.
“This revitalization of Casino Beach is going be a big boon for the northwest corner, if not the entire city of Fort Worth because of its magnitude,” Shingleton said. “So, it’s going to be a good deal.”
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