Fort Worth’s LaGrave Field has been abandoned for 10 years. Its fate has been decided

The abandoned LaGrave Field will be demolished because of safety concerns.

The Tarrant Regional Water District Board voted 7-0 Tuesday to tear down the 4,100-seat stadium north of downtown, following a consultant’s recommendation on the future Panther Island. There is not a timeline for the demolition.

The Tarrant Regional Water District will demolish LaGrave Field, shown in this file photo.
The Tarrant Regional Water District will demolish LaGrave Field, shown in this file photo.

LaGrave Field has held historic significance for Fort Worth since the 1920s as the Cats’ home field. Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Lou Gehrig have all made their mark on the field.

In the 1960s, LaGrave closed when the Cats left to join forces with a Dallas-based team to play ball in Arlington. However, the land was purchased by Carl Bell in 2001, and a new LaGrave opened in 2002, where the independent league Cats played until 2014.

LaGrave has not been in use ever since.

The Water District took ownership of the field in 2019 and has spent upwards of $200,000 annually to maintain and secure LaGrave. The district originally planned to restore the stadium by entering into a contract with a third-party company, but in 2020 it terminated the contract as the company could not meet its terms and conditions to prevent further vandalism.

This marked the last chance to revive the Fort Worth Cats.

The LaGrave Field scoreboard in this file photo from 2018. The old Cats’ stadium will be demolished.
The LaGrave Field scoreboard in this file photo from 2018. The old Cats’ stadium will be demolished.

Based on the HR&A Advisors’ recommendation to demolish the stadium, some fans attended the meeting to express their concerns in hopes of convincing the board to keep the stadium.

“The purpose of me coming here today was to try to bring some attention to the idea that demolishing LaGrave would mean ending an opportunity to have a sports venue for Fort Worth,” said Ben Rushings. “Fort Worth spends a lot of money on tourism, and I wanted to bring a voice to say that if we keep LaGrave Field around and conduct an experiment in sports, we would probably have a magnet for tourism.”

The field has been vandalized over the years. Graffiti covers the stands, weeds have taken over and thieves have stolen copper. Any salvageable material will be repurposed and used for future projects on the land.

Board member C.B. Team said the dugouts should be preserved and that the district will keep the memories of LaGrave in mind as it proceeds with the demolition.

Panther Island will be created by a 1.5-mile channel being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The channel will connect two sections of the Trinity River north of downtown as a way to improve the city’s flood protection. Work on the channel is expected to begin next year.

The Tarrant Regional Water District will demolish LaGrave Field, seen deteriorating in this 2018 file photo.
The Tarrant Regional Water District will demolish LaGrave Field, seen deteriorating in this 2018 file photo.

🚨 More top stories from our newsroom:

STAAR scores: Fort Worth ISD 3rd-graders haven’t caught up after pandemic

TX power grid ‘in better shape’ than last year. How likely are blackouts?

Fort Worth man charged with threatening FBI agent involved in Hunter Biden case

[Get our breaking news alerts.]