The City Council directed city staff to continue studying the best way to regulate short-term rentals as the use of Airbnb and similar properties becomes more prevalent in Fort Worth.
Planning & Development Director Randle Harwood estimated there are 1,100 properties being marketed as short-term rentals in Fort Worth, generating about $15 million in gross revenue yearly. If all of these properties paid hotel occupancy taxes, the city would net between $1 million and $1.5 million yearly.
Some Texas cities, including San Antonio, Austin and Arlington, regulate short-term rentals. In addition, many cities collect a hotel occupancy tax from these properties, but Fort Worth does not have a mechanism for collecting the tax.
Under the current zoning regulations, short-term rentals are essentially allowed everywhere but in residential areas. Code Compliance officers are responsible for enforcement on a complaint basis, usually the result of a nuisance situation such as excessive noise or parking problems around a property.
Last June, city staff began tracking zoning violations related to short-term rentals. Since then, 11 violations have been recorded.
Through the end of this year, city staff will continue to explore how to implement regulations and enforcement options. Another briefing to the City Council is scheduled for January 2020.
One of the most prestigious events in the equine industry, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™, has selected Fort Worth as a qualifier location for the North American League’s 2020-2021 season.
The inaugural Fort Worth, Texas, International — a newcomer to the League — will be held Dec. 15-20, 2020, at the 5,800-seat Will Rogers Coliseum. It will be the first FEI Qualifier held in Texas and one of only eight qualifiers held in North America.
The event will draw many of the top show jumping competitors and have an international live broadcast signal to increase exposure of the sport in North America. The World Cup Qualifier is also on the books for two additional years in Fort Worth.
“This is a huge win for Will Rogers Memorial Center,” said David Reeves, director of sales for the Will Rogers Memorial Complex. “All of our partners deserve a huge pat on the back for our success in the equestrian event business, as we would never have landed an event of this caliber without everyone’s cooperation and hard work and the support of our community. This is great news and exposure for Fort Worth and Texas.”
The City Council approved an additional $981,050 to finish rehabilitating the iconic Pioneer Tower at Will Rogers Memorial Center, giving it a high-tech facelift in time for the opening of the nearby Dickies Arena later this year.
Early this year, contractors began rehabbing the tower. During the process, unforeseen conditions were identified that require additional repairs to ensure the integrity of the structure. The additional work is expected to extend the life of the facility and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
Infrastructure-related work on the tower will include replacing a limestone band, which was determined to be structurally unsound, and the lower glass blocks on the north side of the tower.
Total cost of the project is now $4,737,100. Funds for the infrastructure work will come from the Public Events Capital Fund.
Aluminum grates have been removed from all sides of the 209-foot tower so it can be lit from within. The grates were installed sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
In addition, Fort Worth Public Art is developing video projection mapping at Pioneer Tower. The technology turns building facades into surfaces for video projection.
A public relighting celebration is planned for Nov. 6.
Pioneer Tower, flanked by the domed coliseum to the east and an auditorium to the west, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The facility, at 3401 W. Lancaster Ave., was built in 1936. Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick designed the buildings for the Texas Centennial celebration using a mixture of Classical Revival and Moderne styles. All three buildings are constructed with buff-yellow brick and are significant as one of the most outstanding examples of Art Deco architecture in Texas.
The new home of Texas’ oldest livestock show and rodeo and one of the state’s largest electricity providers are joining forces to bring exciting fan experiences to Fort Worth. Trail Drive Management Corp. the not-for-profit operating entity of Dickies Arena, announced Reliant will become the official energy provider of Dickies Arena and a founding sponsor.
The agreement also makes Reliant a major sponsor of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
As part of the agreement with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Reliant is bringing the convenience of power on the go to keep people connected and their mobile devices charged during their visit to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo thanks to Reliant Go Charging Stations. These portable power solutions let visitors rent a power pack from a self-service station, charge a device and return the palm-sized unit at any station. For Reliant residential and small-business electricity customers, rentals at any Reliant Go Station are free.
Dickies Arena will bring a wide variety of programming to Fort Worth, including major concerts, family shows, sporting events and community events. Beginning in 2020, Dickies Arena will be the home to the Fort Worth Stock Show rodeo performances. The $540 million project will complement the current Will Rogers Memorial Complex, which will continue to host major equestrian shows, trade shows, competitions and more.
The Rainforest Conservatory at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is open again after being closed since 2016.
Efforts to repair the greenhouse have been underway for months, including replacing much of the glass, installing new handrails and heavy pruning of overgrown plant material.
Following hail damage to the glass, the Rainforest Conservatory had been closed for safety reasons since 2016.
Though many plants were lost or damaged while the greenhouse was closed, the toughest plants survived and are now starting to fill out again. Water features will soon run clear again, and small animals such as fish, lizards and frogs will again flourish.
View a list of botanic garden admission fees, which include entrance to the conservatory.
Over the years, the Botanic Garden has fallen behind in routine maintenance and repairs because of a lack of funding. Some of the features at the garden had to be closed because of safety issues and broken infrastructure. Today there are more than $15 million in needed capital repairs.
A broad-based funding approach currently in development will include city funding, admission fees, membership fees and bond funding. This combination is expected to address current deferred maintenance needs and assure adequate operational funding to prevent future maintenance and programming shortfalls.
Here’s some good news about traffic in the bustling West Seventh Street corridor: automobile crashes and auto-pedestrian accidents have both been reduced as a result of converting certain streets to one-way.
Between June 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, 70 automobile accidents were reported. Between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, there were 61 crashes, a 13% decrease.
The number of automobile-pedestrian accidents decreased during that time frame from five to none.
In June 2018, certain streets in the West Seventh Street core were converted to one-way streets to help with crowd control, improve access for emergency vehicles and reduce vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. The one-way streets were part of a slate of projects designed to improve the safety, walkability and accessibility of the thriving West Seventh Street neighborhood, one of Fort Worth’s fastest growing areas.
The changes were brought about primarily by a spike in overall crime in the area from 2015 to 2017. Most crimes occur on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. and involve bar patrons.
City staff worked with businesses, civic organizations, neighborhood associations and other stakeholders to develop the slate of improvements.
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce announced the retirement of President and CEO Bill Thornton. His last day will be July 7, 2020.
Thornton, who recently celebrated his 30th year with the chamber, has been in the CEO/president role since 2000. He joined the chamber staff as director of local business development in July 1989, and was named vice president of economic development in 1992.
As president, Thornton has been involved in numerous community initiatives, including the Wright Amendment agreement, the Base Realignment and Closure task force and the formation of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council.
“I’ve been fortunate to have worked with exceptional business and community leaders, as well as an outstanding staff team at the chamber, past and present,” Thornton said. “With strong community support, the chamber will continue to meet the evolving needs of this region in order to help Fort Worth address challenges and achieve success for all of our residents.”
To ensure a smooth transition, effective Oct. 1, Thornton will assign some of the responsibilities of president to Brandom Gengelbach, executive vice president of economic development.
Reserved seating along the GM Financial Parade of Lights is now available for purchase.
The parade starts at 6 p.m. Nov. 24 — the Sunday before Thanksgiving — at the intersection of Weatherford and Houston streets. View a route map.
Seats are individually marked and reserved. Your seats, once purchased, will be held throughout the parade.
Discounts are available for seniors (60 and older) and children 12 and younger. Infants, as long as they can sit in a lap, do not need a reserved seat.
Of course, there is plenty of space along the route to watch the parade for free.
A public works executive with more than 20 years of experience managing and improving organizations has been named the new director of Fort Worth’s Transportation & Public Works Department.
William M. Johnson will join the city in September.
Johnson has served in many executive roles across the country. Most recently, he was managing director of Witt O’Brien’s, a leading planning, response and resilience firm in Washington, D.C.
He has worked in many public works roles, including as deputy chief operating officer and public works commissioner for the City of Atlanta; transportation director for the City of Baltimore; streets commissioner for the City of Philadelphia; and key leadership roles for various firms involved with emergency management.
He holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree in geological engineering from the University of Missouri.
“William Johnson comes to Fort Worth with an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience, and we expect he will be an outstanding leader,” said City Manager David Cooke. “Throughout his career, Johnson has been known for improving the quality of services, controlling expenses and developing new and innovative processes.”
A general admission fee for the Fort Worth Botanic Garden goes into effect July 19. The fees will help improve the visitor experience at the 85-year-old garden.
These entrance fees will be in effect: $12 for adult admission, $6 for children 6-15 and $10 for senior citizens; children under 6 are free.
A number of programs will help ensure the popular amenity remains available to all:
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