Pandemic didn’t stop these downtown Fort Worth projects as leaders tout city’s growth
See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by David Silva Ramirez here.
During Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.’s annual meeting on Wednesday, leaders said Fort Worth didn’t stall in its growth despite the setbacks of the past year.
Andy Taft, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. president, addressed hundreds of members during the meeting in the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. Taft said the city capitalized where it could amid the pandemic, improving downtown roads and continuing work on major infrastructure projects like the Hemphill/Lamar Connector and the Panther Island North Main Street bridge.
Many businesses adapted to health protocols, he said, and developers continued their work on dozens of residential spaces that will increase the downtown residential unit count by 42% over the next four years.
Taft said hotel development in downtown will accommodate the increasing demand for the Fort Worth Convention Center. He said the planned construction of churches in downtown and the hosting of major sporting events like the National Finals Rodeo and the NCAA and U.S. gymnastics championships were also highlights of the past year.
Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. also worked to let residents know that downtown was still available to them in 2020, he said.
“[We were] partnering everywhere we could to spread the word that downtown operators were still open and doing business during the pandemic,” Taft said.
He said he expects growth as businesses see more employees and patrons return.
The meeting’s attendees included the organization’s more than 40 sponsors, which include Oncor, Frost Bank, Texas A&M School of Law and Bennett Partners.
The event included a speech from keynote speaker Chris Beynon, an international leader in urban planning and design. Beynon emphasized that the design of open spaces and inclusive environments in downtown and public areas can critically improve the growth and health of cities.
“People need to feel that they are welcome, that they express themselves freely, that they can safely embrace their culture and share it,” he said. “It is critical to the success of urban spaces.”
The event also highlighted former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who received the Trailblazer Award. The award is intended to celebrate outstanding leadership, achievement, and contributions to downtown.