James Toal ’69, a planning and economic development expert whose distinguished career included a leading role in what WFAA-TV called the biggest urban makeover in Fort Worth’s history, died at his home Dec. 22, 2013.
After earning a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree at Texas A&M, Toal embarked on a career as a private and public sector planner. He led the creation of The Trinity River Vision, a $910 million economic development and flood project scheduled for completion in 2020 that will transform a Fort Worth industrial area into a mixed-use extension of the city’s downtown.
He also created master plans for Fort Worth in 1994 and 2003.
“You hear the word visionary thrown about, but he really was a visionary,” Randy Gideon, who led a planning firm with Toal from 1993-2010, told the Fort Worth Star Telegram. ““He saw potential and cared about our community … he loved to create great places for people to enjoy.”
Toal also led teams that created master plans for downtown Fort Worth in 1994 and 2003 as well as master plans for downtown Amarillo and Abilene, a mobility plan for Austin and many other successful projects.
“His hand was in some of Fort Worth’s greatest developments during the last 30 years, including Montgomery Plaza, the West Seventh Street corridor, Tarrant County College downtown campus and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base,” wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s editorial board.