A Message From Our President - April 24

April 24,2020


As we await the reopening of the economy, talk of "flattening the curve" is giving way to "what is the new normal?" 

Based on history, the new normal will be the old normal. Our technology changes, our built environment changes, our modes of transportation advance...but human beings want to be together. We need to be together. Feel that tension in your head or in your house or out there? That's people wanting to be together. 

Back in the good old days (let's call that early last month) we were looking over our shoulder wondering about that coronavirus thing. A month later, we've all been apart together...focused like lasers on a national effort to save lives by preventing a spike in illness that would overrun our health care system. We've also been transfixed on the economic fallout of that effort. The fallout has been substantial and will require time to repair.

Eventually, our economy will reopen and perhaps too slowly for our liking, work, leisure and travel patterns will return. As we have after plagues, influenza outbreaks and a host of other natural and man-made disasters, we will gather once again in our cities.

In the meantime, DFWI staff has been working to support restaurateurs and retailers who have pivoted their business models to push through this unprecedented disruption. Our public works projects have continued to advance and we have been keeping in touch with developers who, just weeks ago, were preparing plans for their buildings. (They still are.)

Our Ambassadors and Clean Team have been assisting with the consequences associated with the use of the convention center arena as the city's largest emergency homeless shelter.

DFWI street crews have been painting, mowing, planting, raking, picking up litter, removing graffiti and patrolling...working to keep downtown clean, safe and friendly, even with fewer people to enjoy it. Our event staff has been preparing for rescheduled public celebrations, even at a time of new date uncertainty.

The city has done a significant amount of downtown roadwork while streets are quieter. The Police Department has altered their operations in response to current conditions to protect lives and property and our medical and social service organizations have answered the call during a time of great peril to themselves and their families.

The philanthropic community is engaged at all levels, providing private funding for critical programs. Private citizens are seeing opportunities to help, initiating creative responses at the grass roots level and raising these issues to those with the means to affect change. Our chambers of commerce are working together to make sure the business community is informed about available resources and policy initiatives that could assist them.

Our Mayor and County Judge are working with public health agencies, other regional officials, state and national emergency managers to determine how best to protect the welfare and economy of our region.

Our community's shoulders are firmly to the wheel, and in every corner of Fort Worth, we are maintaining our high civic expectations, even during this crisis.

That is our normal.    

Andy Taft
President, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.