Fort Worth voters overwhelmingly support bond measures to fix roads and parks

May 8,2022


See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Harrison Mantas here.

Voters overwhelmingly supported Fort Worth’s $560 million bond package, according to unofficial results early Sunday with all vote centers reporting.

The package was the largest in the city’s history, and a lot of the projects address the Fort Worth’s explosive growth, much of it north of Loop 820.

Residents living in those areas lobbied the city to include more funding for overburdened two lane country roads that can no longer keep up with the increase in traffic. The city included $48.9 million in the package to build or expand roads in far north Fort Worth.

It’s not clear when road construction will start, but Lauren Prieur, assistant director of the city’s department of transportation and public works, said the city is moving quickly to buy land and get contractors in place to speed up the construction process.

Residents inside the Loop 820 pressed the city for more funding for parks and pools. Proposition B includes $4.2 million for renovations at Forest Park Pool and an aquatics complex in Stop 6.

Construction on the Forest Park pool won’t begin until after Labor Day. The pool will be closed for all of 2023, and is expected to open in time for the 2024 swim season.

The construction schedule for the Stop 6 pool is dependent on the larger Stop 6 Hub Community Center, which was also part of the bond.

Mayor Pro Tem Gyna Bivens, whose district includes Stop 6, celebrated the apparent passage of Proposition B, saying it validates the city’s efforts to deliver on park and pool projects.

Bivens called the Stop 6 community hub a “rec center on steroids,” and said she’ll be taking advantage of the new aquatics center to finally learn to swim.

Bivens recounted how she tried unsuccessfully to learn how to swim between kindergarten and third grade.

“I guess the instructor felt bad about taking my dad’s money and said I was afraid of water,” Bivens said. “I’ve committed to my mother if this bond passes I will learn how to swim.”

The five proposals were the most fiscally responsible way for the city to fund the projects, city manager David Cooke said in April. The bonds will not increase taxes.

Proposition A, the biggest chunk of the bond package, will go toward aging roads in the city’s urban core and expanding and improving roads in far north Fort Worth.

Major arteries like West Bailey Bowsell Road and Cromwell Marine Creek Road will get sidewalks and lighting.

Roads like West Berry Street and South Riverside Drive, which have seen high numbers of pedestrian and vehicle fatalities, will get improvements as part of the city’s Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate traffic injuries and deaths.

Along with pools, Proposition B will also fund new parks.

Heritage Park downtown is getting $13.5 million to increase the amount of public space on the bluff of the Trinity River. Gateway Park is getting $8 million to help update its master plan and put in new amenities like ball fields, benches and lighting.

The bond will also have money to develop eight neighborhood parks spread across the city. The parks will be built on undeveloped city-owned land and could include amenities like playgrounds, bike and walking trails and practice fields for youth sports.

In addition to more roads, far north Fort Worth is getting a new library near the intersection of Avondale-Haslet Road and Sendera Ranch Boulevard. The $12.5 million in Proposition C will help buy the land, make the plans, and get the library built.

The most popular proposition Saturday night was Proposition D, which will build two new fire stations in Walsh and far north Fort Worth and a new building for the Fort Worth Police Department’s Northwest Patrol Division.

Currently, the division pays around $151,000 annually to rent space in the Stockyards, downtown and near the Hemphill corridor. The bond allocates $39.3 million to build three new facilities.

Proposition E allocated $15 million to buy and conserve open space in Fort Worth.

About 49 acres of vacant land is developed every day in Fort Worth, according to the city, and this bond helps preserve what’s left with the potential for some to be developed into future park land.

RESULTS

Proposition A (streets) passed 67.35% to 32.65%.

Most of the $369,218,300 will go toward arterial projects in far north Fort Worth, including West Bailey Boswell and Bonds Ranch Road. Theses areas have seen significant growth and residents have struggled with increased traffic and safety concerns for children walking to school.

The second biggest investment will be for neighborhood streets, with $81 million dedicated to repairing or replacing deteriorating asphalt and concrete in neighborhoods mostly inside Loop 820.

Proposition B (parks) passed 61.61% to 38.39%

There are 16 projects listed in this bond measure of $123,955,500, but the two that have gotten the most attention have been the Forrest Park Pool replacement and the Stop 6 aquatics center. Residents balked at plans for Forrest Park pool that would have halved the size of the existing pool and pushed the city to reconsider its design.

The bond also allocates $5.5 million to develop eight neighborhood parks spread across the city. The parks will be build on undeveloped city owned land and could include amenities like playgrounds, bike and walking trails and practice fields for youth sports.

Heritage Park downtown would be restored and improvements would increase the public space down the bluff to the Trinity River.

Proposition C (library improvements) passed 60.84% to 39.16%

This bond will fund the purchase of land, design and construction of a new library in far north Fort Worth. The city is looking at land near the intersection of Avondale-Haslet Road and Sendera Ranch Boulevard, according to a March 24 bond education meeting organized by the city of Fort Worth.

Proposition D (police and fire safety improvements) passed 74.20% to 25..80%

This proposition will fund the land acquisition, design and construction for two temporary fire stations and one new police station. The fire stations are in Como and far north Fort Worth.

The police station will consolidate the Northwest Patrol Division into one building at 3900 Angle Ave. Currently, the division pays around $151,000 annually to rent facilities in the Stockyards, downtown, and near the Hemphill corridor, according to according to a March 24 bond education meeting organized by the city of Fort Worth.

Proposition E (open space conservation) passed 57.47% to 42.53%

This proposition will help the city buy more land to conserve Fort Worth’s natural landscapes and potentially develop them in the future into parkland.