FORT WORTH — After an eight-month delay, the new Chisholm Trail Community Center in southwest Fort Worth opened briefly Saturday morning for a sneak peek of the facility and a City Hall meeting.Councilman Jungus Jordan, who represents the area, said the $5 million community center, which was funded in the 2004 capital improvements program and a grant, was delayed because of the contractor.The center, 4680 McPherson Blvd., doesn't officially open until March 1, but those who came to have java with Mayor Betsy Price and Jordan saw it in advance.Featuring a full gym, a rock-climbing wall, a children's garden, a dance room, meeting rooms and a basketball gym, the community center is state of the art, Jungus said.“I’m pleased as punch,” he said. “I’m happy for the community, because we wanted it, we anticipated it and we are very excited about it.” The city has also designated $3.8 million in funding for the neighboring 81.7 acres of Chisholm Trail Community Park in the 2014 bond package, which comes before the residents in May after the council votes whether to approve the package Feb. 11. Price said the $292 million package, which focuses on infrastructure and transportation, will also include parks and community facilities, like the new community center. “We certainly want to see that bond election pass, but we’re really not supposed to lobby for it one way or the other, but let me make a suggestion to you — that you get yourself educated on the bond election if you haven’t already,” Price said. Price said transportation and water will be the important issues for the city in the future, especially as it continues to grow to the north and the west.The residents at the meeting asked about the Chisholm Trail Parkway, which is scheduled to open May 1 and will cost 24 cents a mile, Jordan said. An opening party for the tollway is planned for May 7-9, and Price urged residents to attend, saying: “Let me encourage you to come out to one of the opening celebrations. It will be the only time in your life probably that you will be able to be on a tollway without cars.” Jordan said the tollway will spur more growth in southwest Fort Worth with developers already talking about bringing in a mall, department stores, grocery stores and several thousand homes. "The good news is it is going to be a lot more mobile out here. We will be able to get downtown and we will be able to get to Cleburne. When we talk about growth, when you build a road like that, you are going to have to grow," Jordan said. Martie Parker, a real estate agent and resident of the area, said the community center will help bring the community together and make the area more attractive to buyers. “It is something that has come to fruition and is really nice. I think it will add tremendous value to the community and is a great place to stay in touch with the community,” Parker said.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter: @catyhirst