Neighborhood News

Progress update: Race and Culture Task Force recommendations

Posted Oct. 28, 2019

 

City staff continues to make progress on implementing more than 20 wide-ranging recommendations from the Task Force on Race and Culture.

In 2017, the City Council appointed the 23-member task force to examine issues related to race and culture in Fort Worth. Seven subcommittees studied racial equity and bias in several areas: criminal justice, economic development, education, health, housing, municipal governance and transportation.

Here are progress reports for some of the recommendations. View a complete outline of progress on the 22 approved initiatives.PDF File

Implementing all of the recommendations is estimated to have a $2 million impact on the fiscal year 2020 city budget and will add 24 staff positions.

Criminal justice strategies

The City Council agreed to create a police monitor function in the City Manager’s Office. Candidate interviews will be conducted this fall, and the police monitor position should be filled in early 2020.

The task force urged the city to adopt a method for independent oversight of the police department to increase the community’s trust in the department. One of the first tasks for the person hired for the police monitor position will be define the processes and models associated with independent oversight of the police department.

The Police Department plans to reinstate a Police Cadet program and target students in majority-minority high schools as a way to potentially recruit more minority applicants to the ranks of the department.

The Police Department will soon begin crafting a diversity hiring plan for all positions with respect to race, ethnicity and gender. A recruitment plan is expected to be presented to the city manager in early 2020.

Economic development strategies

In an effort to expand the capacity of minority-owned businesses to secure contracts and achieve success, the city and The Beck Group, an integrated architecture and construction firm, launched a construction program for Minority Business Enterprises. The program features a series of eight training sessions to help MBEs increase their knowledge of the construction industry and to be competitive in bidding on projects.

Realizing that lack of viable transportation alternatives can be a hindrance to maintaining steady employment, the city has partnered with Workforce Solutions to enhance job fairs and training opportunities.

City staff is identifying occupations with labor shortages, then will work to increase training opportunities for these occupations.

Education strategies

The task force recommended efforts to improve childcare in minority neighborhoods in cooperation with the Early Learning Alliance. In the coming months, the city will work with a consultant to conduct an organizational assessment and develop an equity plan based on that assessment. That plan will enable the city to apply an equity lens when creating, changing or eliminating policies related to children’s well-being.

To improve the college and career readiness of African-American and Hispanic high school students, the city has established a working group with several partners to examine GO Centers — campus and community facilities that aspire to help students see pathways to careers and college — and develop a plan to rebrand the centers to expand their reach into the community.

Governance strategies

A new diversity and inclusion director will soon be hired. The director will manage the newly created Diversity and Inclusion Department, formerly known as the Human Relations Unit of the City Manager’s Office. This department is responsible for coordinating implementation of the task force’s recommendations and promoting equity in the provision of all municipal services.

City employees have been undergoing training on diversity and mutual respect. A Values Summit for supervisors was conducted recently, and front-line employees will receive training early in 2020.

Health strategies

As part of ongoing efforts to increase residents’ participation in walking, cycling and other forms of exercise, sidewalk gaps and streetlights gaps have been identified in certain neighborhoods. An addition to the capital planning process for the next five years is an effort to evaluate infrastructure maintenance and investment based on equity. For example, $1 million per year is proposed to address the lack of street lights and suitable streets in majority-minority neighborhoods, among other initiatives.

Increasing residents’ access to healthy foods is a vital part of improving well-being in minority communities. The city has developed educational information about retail food business opportunities in food deserts to distribute to existing and would-be entrepreneurs. Other efforts underway include working with Blue Zones Project to find a location for healthy convenience stores in the Northside and Diamond Hill neighborhoods; assisting a farmers market in becoming a SNAP retailer; and establishing a food recovery pilot program that decreases waste of fresh produce at grocery stores and redirecting it to Fort Worth residents.

Housing strategies

To help provide affordable-housing incentives, the city is finalizing the Affordable Housing Strategic Plan with specific action steps, among other initiatives. The city’s Economic Development staff is examining its tax abatement policy for multifamily projects.

Several communication pieces have been prepared to increase residents’ awareness of housing resources. These include a brochure summarizing all information on city housing assistance program, a presentation on the dangers of lead-based paint and the availability of city repair programs, and a comprehensive Neighborhood Services brochure in English and Spanish that was presented at a workshop series last summer.

Transportation strategies

A transportation equity policy and five-year action plan will result in more equitable decisions about how resources for transportation improvements are allocated. There will be opportunities for the public to provide input on the plan.

Free rides on The Dash extended through the end of the year

Posted Nov. 1, 2019

the Dash red bus

 

Kick back as you dash between downtown Fort Worth and the Cultural District.

Trinity Metro riders can enjoy complimentary rides on The Dash through Dec. 31.

The route operates between downtown Fort Worth, the Seventh Street corridor, Crockett Row’s dining and entertainment options, the Cultural District and the newly-opened Dickies Arena.

“We’ve had such a great response from riders who are using our new battery-electric bus service,” said Trinity Metro CEO and President Bob Baulsir. “The feedback has been so positive that we decided to extend free rides on The Dash through the end of the year.”

Since service began on Sept. 22, more than 6,500 passengers have ridden The Dash. Customers enjoy a perimeter seating arrangement that allows for a comfortable and engaging way to visit with friends and other passengers.

The late-night service on Friday and Saturday nights also makes The Dash a popular choice for weekend outings. The Dash operates from 9:22 a.m. to 10:44 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 9:22 a.m. to 12:44 a.m. Friday-Saturday. The full schedule is available on the Trinity Metro website.PDF File

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, tickets will be $2 one way or $5 for a day pass, which includes all of Trinity Metro’s bus services, Trinity Metro TEXRail and Trinity Railway Express to CentrePort Station.

Resource fair on Nov. 8 to address veterans' needs

Posted Nov. 1, 2019

 

Community organizations will share information about housing, job training, medical resources and other topics.

Tarrant County veterans, active duty military and surviving spouses are invited to attend a free Veteran Resource Fair from 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 8 at the Tarrant County College South Campus, 5301 Campus Drive. The event will be in the Student Center.

Connect with a variety of community organizations and learn more about housing, job training, education and medical resources available to veterans and their families. Vendors include Tarrant County Food Bank, Tarrant County Veteran Treatment Court, North Texas Serves-Unite US, VAREP, CLC, Liberty House, Transforming Lives, Family First Counseling, Veteran Affairs VITA, Community Action Partners, Healthy Homes for Heroes and more.

The event is sponsored by the City of Fort Worth Neighborhood Services Department. Breakout sessions will address various topics of interest to veterans. A continental breakfast will be available, and lunch will be provided by In-N-Out Burger. Door prizes will be awarded.

To learn more about the city’s veterans program, call 817-392-7322 or visit the veteran’s services page.

Protect your pipes against freezing temperatures

Posted Oct. 31, 2019

North Texas can be a wild place when it comes to winter weather. Blizzards, subfreezing temperatures, (black) ice and snow — we can experience it all, and occasionally all on the same day.

Daytime forecasts for the next few weeks include upper 60s, even 70s; however, nighttime temperatures are getting closer to the freezing point. This means you need to make sure your loved ones are cozy and warm and that your home is well taken care of, as well.

Most North Texans know to insulate outdoor faucets and, in the case of a prolonged freezing snap, leave inside faucets on external walls dripping just a little to avoid freezing. If you are leaving town for a few days, the Fort Worth Water Department recommends leaving cabinet doors open so that water pipes on external walls are exposed to the heat. If you have pipes in an attic or crawlspace or any other exposed pipes outdoors, then they too need to be insulated.

It is also important to disconnect external faucets and insulate the valves.

 

More helpful tips:

    Make sure all outside pipes are insulated. Most hardware stores sell inexpensive foam covers that do the job just right.

    Check to see that pipes in unheated parts of your home or business (including crawl and attic spaces, under cabinets) are insulated.

    Make sure outside faucet washers are secure.

    Keep the lid on the meter box to better insulate it from freezing. If you are missing the lid to your meter box, call the Water Department.

    Turn off or unplug your irrigation system during the winter to prevent ice on sidewalks or streets. Drain the lines to prevent them from freezing and bursting. It is best to call a licensed irrigator if you cannot do this yourself.

    Commercial buildings with fire sprinklers should leave the heat on overnight and on weekends when subfreezing temperatures are forecast.

    For residences, make sure everyone in the household knows where the main water shut-off valve is in case a pipe breaks and it is necessary to turn the water off in a hurry. Check this valve now to make sure it is working.

    When going out of town, turn off your water supply at the gate valve on the resident’s side of the meter box and have a plumber do the necessary work to prepare pipes to prevent damage.

    Keep extra water drawn up during freezing weather in case a main break or frozen pipe cuts off your water supply.

 

If you have no water and think it may be because of a frozen pipe, it is safest to call a plumber to handle the problem. The pipe may be cracked and will burst when thawed. Using an electrical appliance to heat the pipe could cause the pipe to burst, creating the risk of electrocution.

If you suspect a water main is broken, report the location immediately by calling 817-392-4477 so it can be repaired as soon as possible. Signs of a broken water main are water running down the street and buckled pavement. Don’t assume your neighbor called. Do not use email or social media to report main breaks as these are not constantly monitored, and this could cause a delayed response.

City Council appoints new members to Fort Worth Transportation Authority board

 

Posted Oct. 30, 2019 | Last updated Oct. 31, 2019

Sylvia Alcala  &  Stephen Baldwin

 

The City Council appointed eight members to the board of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which operates as Trinity Metro.

Mayor Betsy Price and the City Council unanimously approved the resolution, appointing two new members to the 11-member board. Eight of the seats on the board are appointed by the City of Fort Worth.

The two new appointees are Sylvia Alcala — appointed by Councilmember Brian Byrd (District 3) — and Stephen Baldwin — appointed by Councilmember Jungus Jordan (District 6).

Alcala is president and founder of J Anthony Group, a consulting and professional services firm in the aerospace and defense industry. A native Texan and proud small-business owner, Alcala is active in the Fort Worth community, having established the Heroes Race, an annual 5K race that raises money for charitable organizations that “do the work of heroes,” as well as serving on the board of directors of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“I am delighted to appoint Sylvia Alcala to replace Scott Mahaffey on the Trinity Metro board. During his tenure, Scott brought much to the board. However, it is time we now begin looking to the next generation to steward our city with someone who has been successful in the business world and carries a vision of how to make it better,” Byrd said. “Besides being just a terrific and affable person, Sylvia brings a tremendous amount of leadership skills to the board, as well as a diversity of opinion. She has a keen interest in promoting transit and will add significant value to our city and region.”

Baldwin is a Fort Worth native who retired from Oncor Electric Delivery after a 43-year career. His community involvement includes graduating from United Way’s Blueprint for Board Services Class and Leadership Fort Worth. He currently serves as director of the Stop Six Mobile Food Pantry.

“Stephen is an impressive community leader with a wide-ranging background in volunteerism and community involvement,” Jordan said. “Stephen’s extensive knowledge and understanding of Fort Worth and its residents will lend itself well in moving mobility forward and increasing connectivity and accessibility not only in District 6, but for our entire city and greater region.”

In a continuing effort to ensure appointees represent all geographic sectors of the city, City Councilmembers for districts 2 through 9 each nominate an appointee to the Fort Worth Transportation Authority board. The complete board:

    Teresa Ayala, District 2.

    Sylvia Alcala, District 3.

    Louis “Charles” Edmonds Jr., District 4.

    Stephen Baldwin, District 6.

    Nicolo “Nick” Genua, District 7.

    Ray Taylor, District 8.

    Jeff Davis, District 9.

The City Council will formally recognize former board members Scott Mahaffey and Jeff King during the Nov. 5 council meeting.

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