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FORT WORTH (CBS11) – There aren’t a lot of downtowns in America that can double their size, but that’s what Fort Worth plans to do over the next few years.

City leaders have cleared the way to move forward with the Panther Island District that will bring a river walk and an urban lake to the city’s urban core.

Three new bridges will cross the Trinity River once it’s rerouted to flow through the western side of what will become the Panther Island District. The massive mixed-use project promises major changes for downtown.

For several years now, project leaders behind the 700-acre Panther Island District have been focused on what they consider the boring work of infrastructure and buying properties. Now with new zoning approval from the city council, the project is poised to take bold steps forward.

Christina Dryden says she loves bringing her girls downtown for fun, and she’s already looking forward to kayaking through the canal system planned for the new district.

“Oh I think it’s great. I think it’ll definitely bring a lot of culture to Fort Worth,” Dryden said.

Trinity River Vision Authority Executive Director JD Granger says residential units will make up two-thirds of the development that will feature 12 miles of waterfront.

“What we’re doing here is the same idea as San Antonio. We’re going to reroute our river along the western edge here,” Granger said.

The project will cost just over $900 million with 55 percent of the funding coming from federal and state sources.

“You don’t have many cities in North America of this size that can literally double the growth in one swoop. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity,” Granger said.

The goal is to draw people to live, work, and play all in the same area. It’s an idea many like Dryden are excited to see.

“Providing more outdoor activities is going to improve quality of life, definitely bring a healthier aspect to Fort Worth, give us more things to do with the kids. I think it’s fantastic,” Dryden said.

Within the next 60 days project leaders say they expect to announce the first residential construction of 300 units near the center of the development. They expect them to be built over the next two years.

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