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$140 million Gateway Park master plan advances to City Council vote

A cyclist rides through softball fields in Fort Worth’s Gateway Park. The park is used heavily by sports teams, cyclists and hikers in March 2023.
Rachel Behrndt
Fort Worth Repor
A cyclist rides through softball fields in Fort Worth’s Gateway Park. The park is used heavily by sports teams, cyclists and hikers in March 2023.

Fort Worth’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board endorsed the latest version of a master plan for Gateway Park on Wednesday.

The plan culminates a nearly yearlong process to create a master plan for Fort Worth’s largest park and solicit feedback from residents and park users. The estimated price tag is about $140 million. However, the Parks and Recreation Department has just under $8 million to spend on the park. The rest of the funding would be up to city management and voters to fund more improvements through bond elections, which the city typically holds every four years.

City leaders describe Gateway as the region’s Central Park. It sits on Fort Worth’s east side between Interstate 30 and State Highway 121, which connect the city to the rest of the region.

Fort Worth City Council will vote on whether to endorse the plan in May. If the plan is approved, the Parks and Recreation Department plans to start work on opening up an area of the park west of Beach Street, referred to in the plan as the Oxbow. The area will get a new road, parking, a sports field, concessions and restrooms.

“That was the best opportunity for us to make an impact,” Scott Penn, senior capital projects officer for the parks department, said.

At public input meetings, parks and recreation staff along with consultants from Kimley-Horn, which produced the plan, heard from the park’s many current and future users. From disc golfers to mountain bikers to skateboarders, everyone was looking for a way to tailor Gateway Park to their needs, Penn said.

“There’s just really a wide range of user groups and potential user groups and current user groups that participated in all the public meetings, and the input was fantastic,” Penn said. “I think it shaped a well-defined master plan.”

Based on public input, staff moved a planned amphitheater space to the center portion of the park to allow for audiovisual and electrical connections, Penn said.

“It is the gateway to Fort Worth, and people need to feel comfortable exiting out of that park and onto Beach Street,” said Kyev Tatum, a board member representing District 6. “We need to treat it as the crown jewel of the city. … I want to commend the staff and the citizens who have been actively engaged in this.”

Randall Archie and Neil Jones of theFort Worth Mountain Bikers Association, which helps maintain the trails in Gateway and other city parks, were present at the meeting to voice support for the plan.

“As an avid trail user, I know Gateway has the best view of downtown Fort Worth,” Arichie, vice president of the association, said. “We look forward to everything that is in the works with this plan.”

The plan builds upon several features of the park, expanding Fort Woof Dog Park, disc golf course and mountain biking trails. The plan also depicts new features, including a viewing platform at the highest elevation in the park, an equestrian center, a splash pad and even an alpine roller coaster.

Fort Worth has produced three master plans for Gateway Park in the last 20 years, one in 2002 and the other in 2009, Penn said. Those plans resulted in small-scale improvements to the park but never resulted in the visionary park outlined in the plan. That worries neighborhood advocates like Dan Haase and Rick Herring who want promoting and improving Gateway Park to become a priority for eastside residents and city leaders.

“That advocacy needs to start with us and, yes, we need to have some receptive ears at the city level,” Haase said.

This version of the master plan could benefit from additional investmentsin and around the park. The park is part of the U.S .Army Corps of Engineers Central City flood control project, and landowners nearby are seeking a new developer to build something that complements the park.

Haase noted that 60% of Fort Worth’s 300 parks could fit within Gateway Park.

“It’s not just one of 300 parks. It is the only metropolitan park we have,” Haase said.

Next, staff will present the plan to the city manager and City Council before it is up for approval. Parks and recreation staff have already started putting together a list of potential projects to receive bond program funding in 2026, and Gateway Park is among the department’s requests for funding, Penn said.

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or via X.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.