Fort Worth takes bond package on a neighborhood road show

Posted Thursday, Jul. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information To view a list of the 447 neighborhood street reconstruction projects on the staff-recommended list, visit our Politex blog at www.star-telegram.com

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The city is taking its $293 million May 2014 bond proposal on a five-month neighborhood road show starting Saturday in an effort to hear what people want in the five-year debt package.

The first of 19 scheduled public meetings is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods in District 8 on the city’s southeast side. City staff will present their overall recommendations, highlight proposed items in the district, and take suggestions.

The meetings lead up to a scheduled City Council vote in December to decide on the final bond program that the city will put before voters.

“This’ll be the most extensively vetted bond program we’ll have,” Mayor Betsy Price said this week.

The staff recommendations are headed by $206 million in transportation needs, including new arterials, neighborhood streets, sidewalks, traffic signals, bridges, intersection improvements, rail crossings, and street lights.

Council members stress that the overall list is malleable.

They’ve haggled for more money than the $22 million currently in the package for parks.

“When we take this out to the public, I think they’re going to say they want more money for parks,” Councilman Sal Espino said during a recent council workshop.

Councilman Jungus Jordan is trying to drum up support among his colleagues to eliminate the proposed 2 percent set-aside for public art projects – nearly $6 million of the bond program – and allocate that instead to transportation and parks.

For District 8, Council member Kelly Allen Gray is seeking money for a library in the East Lancaster Avenue area – a project so far on the unfunded list.

Several of the major projects on the staff’s recommended list further connect Fort Worth to neighboring cities. Those include money to extend Timberland Boulevard in far North Fort Worth east to Keller at U.S. 377, which would connect Timber Creek High School in Fort Worth and the Keller school district to Keller.

Another recommended project would extend the Trinity Trails from Quanah Parker Park in East Fort Worth to the Arlington city limit, where it would connect with Arlington’s trail system.

The $293 million, which the city will repay by shifting money from Fort Worth’s general fund to debt service, is a fraction of the overall $2 billion-plus wish list of near-term capital projects that includes transportation, community centers, libraries, and aquatics centers.

Scott Nishimura, (817) 390-7808 Twitter: @JScottNishimura

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