Fort Worth will pour $560 million into its roads, parks and public services after residents voted May 7 to approve a five-proposition bond package.
City Council districts 8 and 9 will receive the bulk of the projects funded by the bond package. In District 8, the bond will fund 46 projects to fix roads and three parks and recreation projects. In District 9, it will fund 40 road projects and eight parks and recreation projects.
The largest ask, Proposition A, will put $369.2 million toward improving streets and transportation infrastructure. It passed 67% to 33%. The city devoted the largest chunk of funding to roads and transportation after residents identified them as some of the most important issues.
Last year’s community survey echoed the public comment; then, only 27% of residents were satisfied with the city’s delivery on roadway projects – the worst of any city service.
“People are adding more and more cars to the streets and new developments to the land and we have to keep up with mobility demands,” Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., told The Report in April. “And that includes transit and mass transit. So we have to keep investing in our transportation systems as we grow.”
The next largest ask, Proposition B, will allocate $123.9 million for park and recreation improvements. It passed 62% to 38%.
A large portion of Proposition B’s funding — $25.7 million — will go toward an ongoing effort to revitalize the Stop Six neighborhood in southeast Fort Worth.
Proposition C asked for $12.5 million for public library improvements. Proposition D asked for $39.3 million for police and fire facilities. The propositions passed 61% to 39% and 74% to 26%, respectively.
The city will receive two new fire stations, one new police patrol station and a library in northwest Fort Worth.
The library will be placed near Avondale-Haslet Road and Sendera Ranch Boulevard. It is a high-growth area, said Roger Venables, who was in charge of the 2022 bond. The area has about 20,000 people in a three-mile radius around the proposed 18,000-square-foot library.
The fire stations, one in northeast Fort Worth and one in southwest Fort Worth, will act as replacements to existing stations No. 37, which has had a temporary structure since the 1990s and No. 16 will need to be completely demolished.
Proposition E asked for $15 million for land purchases to preserve natural space. It passed 57% to 43%.
With Proposition E funding, the city intends to purchase undeveloped land and preserve it to guard against future development.
Multiple economic development organizations worked together to support the bond, including the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce; Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce; Downtown Fort Worth Inc.; Fort Worth Real Estate Council; and Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
It was the first time all of the chambers collaborated to promote a bond package, according to Anette Landeros, president and CEO of Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.The groups put out mailers, social media advertisements and other outreach products, all aimed at educating residents and encouraging them to hit the polls.
This was the first bond package created by city staff with equity as a key factor. The new approach came from recommendations of the Race and Culture Task Force, a committee formed in 2016 to boost equity among Fort Worth residents As part of that approach, the city is aiming to make improvements to roads in minority-majority and super minority-majority areas with funding from Proposition A.
A minority-majority area is a census block where 50% or greater of the residents are members of a minority group, and a super minority-majority area is a census block where 75% of the residents are members of a minority group.
Blaylock to take over Moon’s seat in District 4
Alan Blaylock will take over as District 4’s council member, after voters approved him as Cary Moon’s replacement for the next year. Moon, the district’s current representative, chose to vacate the seat to run for Texas House District 93.
Blaylock, who branded himself as the conservative candidate in the race, promised voters he will focus on lowering taxes and improving public safety. He emphasized the need to keep the tax rate revenue neutral for existing properties.
“Tonight, voters voiced their desire for low taxes, safe neighborhoods and better streets,” Blaylock said. “I’m honored they chose me to be their voice at city hall advocating for our community. The campaign is over and now it’s time to get to work.”
A former vice president of the Heritage Homeowners Association, Blaylock has been a strong advocate for recreational facilities in Fort Worth. He said he was inspired by his daughter, who found a passion for swimming. He now acts as president of the Heritage Hurricanes Swim Team and co-founder and treasurer of Swim North Texas.
Blaylock has garnered the support of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Union, IAFF 440. The union is confident in Blaylock’s ability to support public safety efforts, including protecting firefighter benefits and staffing, union president Michael Glynn said.
“With some recommendations we had from other trusted individuals, the responses he had to our questionnaire on issues that affect us, and then an in-person interview we felt really comfortable with endorsing Alan for this council seat to replace Cary Moon,” Glynn said.
He also earned support from The Fort Worth Officers’ Association. Manny Ramirez, president of the association, tweeted his congratulations Saturday night.
Blaylock had a comfortable fundraising lead going into election night. He received $15,424 in contributions during the cycle, more than doubling that of the second-highest fundraiser, Tara Wilson, who received $6,815. His largest donor was the political action committee Fort Worth Committee For Responsible Government, which donated $10,000.
Blaylock, who won with 52% of the vote, also outspent Wilson, $51,328 to $12,233. Wilson, who also ran for District 4 in 2021, came in second, with 30% of the vote.
District 4 spans across east Fort Worth, stretching from south of Loop 820 including far east neighborhoods like Woodhaven. The district then skirts the far east border of Fort Worth and extends up to the northeast, including neighborhoods like Heritage and other neighborhoods east of Interstate 35.
Blaylock will represent District 4 for only one year, however, as Moon’s term ends in 2023. The new redistricting map will place them outside of the district’s boundary, meaning he will have to move or run in his new district (10) if he wants to remain on council. Candidates have to establish residence in their district six months ahead of Election Day.
Emily Wolf is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter.
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