The city of Fort Worth’s first Neighborhood Improvement Strategy target area is Stop Six. It was also the subject of an informational tour with city council members and Mayor Betsy Price this past Tuesday.
The first-of-its-kind project is designed to give the neighborhood a facelift, along with providing residents a path to being more self-sufficient.
“For folks who live there, this means an opportunity to make the neighborhood cleaner, safer, more visual appealing,” said Neighborhood Services Department Director Aubrey Thagard, CPM. “People aware of changes around them become more involved.”
Stop Six has an unemployment rate two and a half times the city average and 78 percent of the population is categorized as low to moderate income. The crime rate is 65 victims per 1,000 people.
Among the major programs to revitalize the area is the Cavile Place Redevelopment. This is replacing the 300-unit Cavile Place Apartments built in 1954 with mixed-income housing. It is planned to be the foundation for a vibrant and sustainable community with new retail and business services, programs to address education, job training, small business development, and ideas to promote healthy lifestyles.
The city council adopted the plan in 2014 and it is to be phased over a 15-year period.
Other programs designed to help improve the area include the Fort Worth School District Historic Stop Six Initiative and the Blue Zones Project.
The Stop Six Initiative was created to develop a stronger educational foundation for children, build stronger families, and empower families. It includes helping mothers and families with high quality healthcare, preparing children for school readiness and academic success, providing college and career readiness, continuing education, job preparation, health and nutrition, violence prevention, housing assistance, and more.
The Blue Zones Project follows healthier choices as well. The project is funded by Texas Health Resources, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other major Fort Worth employers, with strong support from the city and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. It encourages better choices from schools to businesses to neighborhood grocery stores.
“An educated community is a strong community,” Thagard said.
To help with the revitalization project, $2.56 million was allocated to the city’s 2017 budget. Thagard said it came from the city’s operating and maintenance portion of the municipal property tax rate to capital expenditures. He said it is aimed at specifically improving neighborhoods and will be designated on an annual basis.
“This is an opportunity to take a neighborhood not at its best and put it on par with others,” Thagard said.
Thagard said that the project is about more than the improvement of Stop Six. He said it will benefit the entire city. Not only will it make it nicer for residents and visitors, it can attract newcomers and perhaps even make some folks want who moved away want to return.
“By strengthening our most challenging community, it makes Fort Worth as a whole more appealing,” he said. “It strengthens the city as a whole.”