Fort Worth will be honored with a Smart 50 Award for re-engineering a process that led to reduced times for approving ordinances, resolutions, zoning cases and larger purchases.
The Mayor and Council communication (M&C) Collaboration Wizard was developed internally in partnership between the City Secretary’s Office and IT Solutions, and reduces time spent locating, tracking and managing M&Cs through the use of automated workflows and improved collaboration.
Smart 50 Awards annually recognize global smart cities projects, honoring the most innovative and influential work. This year, categories included community engagement, digital transformation, smart mobility, urban infrastructure and urban operations.
“Re-engineering the M&C process has made the city more responsive to its residents by reducing the time it takes to approve ordinances, resolutions, zoning cases and large purchases,” City Secretary Mary Kayser said. “The reduction in time spent to process M&Cs also freed up staff to accomplish more value-added tasks for our residents.”
Fort Worth has embarked on a long-term digital transformation project that’s affecting the development of people, process and culture. This aligns with its goal to become the best-managed city in the U.S.
The M&C digital transformation project enabled 500-plus city employees to achieve improved productivity, cost savings and quality improvements while providing a flexible platform to handle new business priorities. Employees now benefit from an expedited and streamlined process with improved accuracy. The average M&C will realize about four hours of saved time from initial entry into the system to being built into a meeting agenda.
The city has averaged 1,036 M&Cs per year for the past five years. This translates into a savings of 4,145 hours per year, or an approximate savings of $103,625 per year.
The changes effectively eliminated two-thirds of the approval touchpoints and decreased approval times from 18.6 days to nine days. The system is accessible from any browser on any platform, allowing approvals to be processed faster.
The Smart 50 Awards will be presented in April in Denver.
This honor follows on the heels of another prestigious Fort Worth recognition from the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC), a global consortium that creates and contributes to process-related standards. The Award for Excellence in Business Transformation was awarded to the City of Fort Worth last August at a ceremony in Boston. In conjunction with this award, the WfMC also recognized Shaun Campbell, M&C Collaboration Wizard creator, who works in IT Solutions. The Outstanding Business Transformation Team Leader Award recognizes Campbell’s innovation and leadership in driving the digital transformation of municipal enterprise, and for championing Mayor Betsy Price’s mission for Fort Worth to be a technology leader.
After years of dreaming of a new home for the Fort Worth Stock Show’s legendary rodeo, a new era will dawn on Jan. 17 when the chutes bust open in Dickies Arena.
“The Stock Show’s new rodeo home will take the sport to a completely new level and be a fan favorite for generations,” said Stock Show President and General Manager Brad Barnes. “The public-private partnership led by Stock Show Chairman Ed Bass, Mayor Betsy Price and many others has given Fort Worth and North Texas a tremendous gift for not just the Stock Show’s rodeo, but for concerts, sporting events and family shows throughout the year.”
Dickies Arena’s impact on the Stock Show is being felt beyond rodeo. Exciting new events moving into the Will Rogers Coliseum and Auditorium are broadening the Stock Show’s offerings and appealing to a more diverse audience.
Spurred by growing popularity, Mustang Magic, with its strong fan following, has been expanded and moved from the Justin Arena to the coliseum while concerts and a high school mariachi competition have been added in the auditorium. Music acts booked for the auditorium include the popular classic rock band Foreigner and a new country a capella group, Home Free. An Escaramuza competition adds a cultural flair while a high school scholarship rodeo and a bucking bull sale maintain the traditional feel in the beloved coliseum.
While there’s plenty of new in store for 2020, traditional Stock Show entertainment options remain popular. Livestock and equestrian competitions are on tap as well as acres of “rodeo shopping” that includes everything from fashion to farm equipment.
Family fun remains popular with the Mattress Firm Petting Zoo, Children’s Barnyard, Carnival Midway, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance’s Planet Agriculture and the always popular Milking Parlor.
The food is always a favorite with everything from corn dogs to cotton candy and cuisine fit for a king at Reata at the Backstage or Reata at the Rodeo.
When guests gaze across the Stock Show grounds and downtown Fort Worth from the Simmons Bank Plaza at Dickies Arena, they’ll be reminded why Fort Worth and the Stock Show & Rodeo are both truly legendary. Visitors there can relax with a glass of wine at the new Corkyard or enjoy a brew and some awesome tunes in the Bud Light Roadhouse before they step into the nation’s premier venue for rodeo, the new Dickies Arena.
Rodeo has been a Fort Worth mainstay for 102 years, but the new FWSSR PRORODEO Tournament is taking the Stock Show’s rodeo to new heights among the most elite in the nation. With a payout exceeding $1 million and an easy-to-follow bracket-style tournament, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo starts an exciting new era in Dickies Arena.
Fort Worth Bike Sharing has moved its Forest Park and Park Hill station. The current station is out of service.
As a nonprofit organization, Fort Worth Bike Share strives to make resourceful decisions, and unfortunately, the Forest Park and Park Hill station was not used enough in its current location to justify the maintenance required to keep it up.
TCU students, faculty or staff who depend on the station should contact Bike Sharing to learn about next steps.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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