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  • 14 Jan 2020 9:34 PM | Anonymous

    The City Council has appointed a group of diverse community members to help kick-start expansion of the Fort Worth Convention Center, a move that would allow the facility to compete with convention centers in other cities.

    This Design Review Committee will recommend a project management firm and an architect of record for the project. Committee members will also seek input on the project, including from current and potential convention and meeting customers.

    The convention center project will be funded through hotel occupancy taxes and fees generated by use of the building. The estimated budget is $400-$500 million. The project budget will be scaled to stay within revenues from these sources.

    Feasibility studies in 2014 and 2019 show that Fort Worth’s overall growth has not been reflected in its convention and hotel growth, and it not representative for a city of its current and future population. The new Dickies Arena paves the way for repurposing the 52-year old downtown arena with a facility that is more adaptable to current convention center needs.

    In addition to expansion on the north end of the convention center, the simultaneous development of a large convention headquarters hotel has been recommended.

    Hotels built over the last decade in downtown have been immediately absorbed into the market, a sign of pent-up demand.

    “Convention tourism is an essential engine for achieving Fort Worth’s economic development goals and introducing more people and business to our city,” said Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth. “Unfortunately, our current facilities don’t meet demand, and group planners continue to be frustrated by our facilities and the number of separate hotels required to accommodate a larger convention.”

    A first phase could see expanding Commerce Street for hotel development and construction of new kitchen and catering facilities between 2022 and 2024. Phase two demolition of the 52-year-old convention center arena and new construction is scheduled for 2024-2026.

    With the expanded convention center, bookings are expected to grow from 151 to 292 per year, a 94% increase, with conventions specifically increasing from 61 to 83. Attendance is expected to grow from 780,000 per year to 1.2 million, a 55% increase.

    Design Review Committee members: Mayor Betsy Price, Mayor pro-tem Jungus Jordan, District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, Leah King, Bob Jameson, Jarred Howard, Ed Bass, Sasha Bass, Jay Chapa, Andy Taft, Bobby Ahdieh, Richard Casarez, Glenn Forbes, Johnny Campbell, Joseph DeLeon, Randy Gideon, Martha Peters, Adrian Parr, Anette Landeros, Jonathan Morris, Gloria Starling, Bob Benda, Lanny Lancarte.

    The committee is expected to meet over the next two years and will provide recommendations to City Council related to contracting with a project management firm by the summer and an architect of record.

  • 14 Jan 2020 9:32 PM | Anonymous

    TEXRail riding on its tracks

    Time flies when you’re riding in style to the airport.

    Trinity Metro TEXRail is celebrating one year in operation, providing a comfortable and convenient ride between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal B.

    At the end of 2019, TEXRail ridership reached 545,345 for the year. December was a record-setting month, with 51,217 passengers and the trains were on schedule 99.15 percent of the time. The previous record for paid ridership was 44,741, which occurred in November.

    Jon-Erik “AJ” Arjanen, vice president and chief operating officer for rail, said TEXRail’s reliability is key to increasing ridership.

    “Riders want to know that the train is going to pick them up on time and take them safely to their destination as scheduled,” Arjanen said. “If you’re traveling to the airport to catch a flight, you don’t want to worry about when you’ll arrive.”

    Ridership patterns emerged during the first year, with DFW Airport Terminal B Station consistently ranking first in ridership on weekdays and Sundays. On Saturdays, Grapevine/Main Street had the highest ridership.

    “We found that more business and leisure travelers are choosing to leave their cars at home and not worry about getting stuck in traffic,” Arjanen said. “In 2020, we expect our commuter base to grow as more companies take advantage of the 25% discount we offer through our EasyRide program.”

    First-year facts

    To put the one-year anniversary in perspective, consider the number of miles TEXRail has traveled since beginning operations. Between Jan. 10, 2019, and late July, the trains traveled 230,442 miles between Fort Worth T&P Station and DFW Airport Terminal B Station. Frequency increased to 30 minutes during peak travel times late in July. From that point through Jan. 10, 2020, the mileage is 297,594.

    • 528,036 total miles traveled on TEXRail.
    • 560,345 rides (estimated).
    • 3,600-plus maintenance inspections.
    • 1,792 seats (224 per train).
    • 832 train washes.
    • 688 windows (86 per train).
    • 41 railroad crossings.
    • 27 miles each way.
    • 23 bridges.
    • Nine stations.
    • Eight trains.
    • $2.50 one-way ticket.

  • 10 Jan 2020 8:59 PM | Anonymous
    Kim Neal headshot

    Kim Neal was named the City of Fort Worth’s police monitor and will be responsible for leading the effort to finalize the model to be used for independent review of the Fort Worth Police Department.

    “We look forward to working with Kim Neal to develop Fort Worth’s program for independent review of the police department in order to increase trust between the community and the department,” City Manager David Cooke said. “We will be relying on Kim’s vast knowledge and experience as we move forward to implement best practices for independent review of police.”

    Neal is currently executive director for the Citizens Complaint Authority in Cincinnati. In this role, she oversees the investigations of serious misconduct allegations by Cincinnati police officers including, but not limited to, shots fired, deaths in custody, uses of force and improper procedures with the ultimate goal of addressing residents’ concerns and improving residents’ perceptions of the Cincinnati Police Department.

    Under Neal’s direction, the Citizens Complaint Authority serves as a voice for residents to be treated with dignity and respect through democratic policing and the power of the community to shape policing practices and standards.

    Prior to the Citizens Complaint Authority, Neal held other senior-level positions in other major cities in the areas of policy, employment, higher education, compliance, ethics, privacy and information disclosure in the public sector at different levels of government, and in the private sector in the fields of utilities, government contracting and legal.

    Neal also served as professor of legal studies at the University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, Md.

    Neal earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University and juris doctorate from University of Baltimore School of Law. In addition, she has certifications in compliance and ethics.

    Neal is a volunteer Court-Appointed Special Advocate in Hamilton County, Ohio. She is an active member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Ethics and Compliance Initiative and Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

    The police monitor appointment stems from a recommendation made by Fort Worth’s Task Force on Race and Culture.

    Neal is expected to begin work in Fort Worth by early March.

  • 9 Jan 2020 9:02 PM | Anonymous

    panel on stage

    Mayor Betsy Price, third from left, was on a panel with other government leaders and technology experts to discuss the Smart City Ecosystem.

    Fort Worth-based Bell Textron Inc. revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a vivid look into the future of the smart city ecosystem. The Bell Nexus air taxi and the Autonomous Pod Transport — both groundbreaking technologies — will coexist to move people, products and information across connected cities.

    “With a focus on the passenger experience, we revealed the technology and the vehicle that will revolutionize transportation in cities at CES 2019; this year, we’re demonstrating what governing, operating, working and living in a smart city will look like,” said Mitch Snyder, Bell president and CEO.

    Mayor Betsy Price participated in a panel discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show titled Exploring the DFW Smart City Ecosystem. “Now it’s our job as leaders in government to be risk takers. Technology is coming,” Price said during the panel discussion.

    In a world where nearly 70% of the population will be living in urban areas by 2050 and cities are outgrowing their current transportations systems, the need for urban mobility solutions has never been greater. Fortunately, the transportation industry has reached an inflection point, and many of the world’s top minds are working toward solutions for the optimal smart city design. Bell remains at the forefront of this pursuit with a clear mission of finding solutions to the infrastructure challenges of tomorrow’s transportation networks. These solutions and many smart city elements were on display in Bell’s Nexus City on the CES floor:

    Bell featured its MaaS plans, which look beyond the aircraft and demonstrate how to integrate MaaS into communities, making on-demand air mobility available to everyone, whenever they need it.

    “Bell continues to lead the conversation beyond the aircraft to offer multimodal transportation solutions and experiences within an interconnected digital network that will excite consumers, earn their trust and make their lives easier,” Snyder said.

  • 9 Jan 2020 9:01 PM | Anonymous

    The 35th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration is planned for noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 15. The public is invited to the event at Ella Mae Shamblee Library, 1062 Evans Ave.

    Commemorate and celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with the screening of a short film, Mighty Times: The Children’s March. The 40-minute Academy Award-winning film uses archival footage, interviews and re-enactments to shed light on the children of Baltimore, who took to the streets for civil rights in 1963. A moderated discussion will follow the film.

  • 8 Jan 2020 9:03 PM | Anonymous

    Two upcoming parades celebrate the rich heritage and traditions of Fort Worth. You won’t want to miss these events:

    Fort Worth Stock Show Parade

    The Fort Worth Stock Show’s All Western Parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. Jan. 18 in downtown Fort Worth. Nearly 100,000 spectators line the streets of downtown Cowtown to watch this spectacular annual event. Plenty of horses and other livestock can be seen — but no motorized vehicles are allowed.

    The parade starts at the corner of Weatherford and Main streets, heads south on Main Street to Ninth Street, then north on Houston Street before ending at Houston and Bluff streets.

    To reserve parade seating, contact the ticket office at 817-877-2420 and keep your seat ticket because it also serves as general admission to the Stock Show grounds any day during the 23-day run (rodeo performances are not included).

    To learn about all the western activities coming up Jan. 17-Feb. 8, check out the Stock Show’s website.

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade

    Fort Worth’s 35th annual tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. steps off at 11 a.m. Jan. 20.

    The parade begins at Ninth and Commerce streets, heads west on Ninth Street, north on Houston Street, east on Weatherford Street, south on Main Street before ending with a rally at Sundance Square Plaza from about noon-1:30 p.m.

  • 8 Jan 2020 3:04 PM | Anonymous

    Dignitaries gathered on Wednesday to break ground for a new Animal Care and Adoption Campus in far north Fort Worth, adding capacity to the existing shelter in southeast Fort Worth.

    The new facility is adjacent to the North Service Center and Drop-off Station at 301 Hillshire Drive. Construction is scheduled to be completed in January 2021.

    Voters approved $13.7 million in the 2018 bond election to build the state-of-the-art facility. The current shelter was built in 1998.

    The focus at the new shelter will be on open spaces. There will be an adoption center with plenty of space for potential adopters to meet pets; a veterinary clinic with surgery and triage units; sallyport for animal arrivals; open work spaces to enhance engagement among the staff caring for the animals; and plentiful indoor kennels with attached outdoor spaces.

    This new campus is sorely needed in the fast-growing northern stretches of Fort Worth, Mayor Betsy Price said. “With all the rooftops and jobs being added north of 820, we really need a spacious and modern facility like this up here,” she said. “And its design is ideal because the open concept puts less stress on the animals and helps staff control diseases in the pet population.”

    District 7 Councilmember Dennis Shingleton added: “This beautiful shelter is so needed. Now we will have a place in our own backyards where we can take care of our animals.”

    North Texans may recognize the look of the buildings — they are inspired by the cattle barns at Will Rogers Memorial Center. The design focus is on the simplicity of nature, steel, concrete and glass. The eight-acre facility will be situated around an existing pond with a native prairie landscape.

  • 7 Jan 2020 5:05 PM | Anonymous

    The It’s Time Texas Community Challenge is now underway. It’s an easy and fun way for entire Texas communities to demonstrate their commitment to healthy living. The challenge is being brought to Fort Worth by FitWorth.

    The challenge is an eight-week competition that unites and mobilizes schools, businesses, organizations, community members and mayors toward the common goal of transforming a community’s health.

    Here’s how it works:

    1. Register online.
    2. Earn points by tracking your physical activity, uploading “healthy selfies,” drinking water, snacking healthy and more.
    3. Keep it going through March 1 and be entered to win cool prizes and earn points.

  • 3 Jan 2020 1:06 PM | Anonymous

    Fort Worth Bike Sharing riders cruise through Sundance Square.

    Fort Worth Bike Sharing continues to roll up impressive numbers.

    Some 2019 statistics for the program:

    58,376 trips.

    276,809 miles.

    263,483 estimated carbon offsets. (A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere.)

    11 million estimated calories burned.

    Currently there are 46 stations in the system, and 350 bicycles.

  • 31 Dec 2019 9:07 PM | Anonymous

    The mission of the city’s stormwater program is to protect people and property from harmful stormwater runoff. The additional revenue from the 6.5% fee increase will provide capacity for roughly $70 million in bonds to expedite the delivery of high-priority capital improvements to:

    Mitigate hazardous road overtopping locations, which present one of the highest risks to life safety.

    Rehabilitate aging, critical storm drain pipes to ensure they continue to effectively convey stormwater.

    Restore channels that are significantly threatening adjacent infrastructure/property.

    Reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses.

    Monthly rates will increase beginning with the January 2020 water billing cycle.

    Non-residential and multi-family

    Rates for non-residential and multi-family properties will increase 35 cents for every 2,600 square feet of hard surface (2,600 square feet of hard surface equals 1 billing unit). That means the current monthly rate of $5.40 per billing unit will increase to $5.75. For example, the fee for a commercial property with a total hard surface area of 25,000 square feet (.57 acre) will be $57.50, calculated in this way:

    25,000 square feet / 2,600 square feet = 9.6 billing units, rounded to 10 billing units. 10 billing units x $5.75 (new rate) per month = $57.50.

    Learn more about 2020 stormwater rates online.

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