Fort Worth mayor leads first Rolling Town Hall of 2014

Posted Thursday, Apr. 03, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Mayor Betsy Price heard about the 2014 bond election, road conditions and concerns about water conservation from residents Wednesday in her first Rolling Town Hall of 2014.

About 200 people showed up for the town hall, from infants to seniors, and several people participated in a walking town hall with Mayor Pro Tem W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman. He came prepared for the walk with his Fitbit, a bracelet that monitors his activity, including number of steps taken, calories burned and even his sleep cycles.

Price led the 7-mile bike ride, which left from the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork and wound through neighborhoods. Many of the issues that were brought up, such as questions about the Crime Control and Prevention District, could come up at council meetings soon, she said.

“We will talk about the trails and the amount of use and the growing bike usage and walkers and runners. It is good stuff,” Price said.

Joshua Urbanaik and his son Hudson, 9, have been on 10 to 12 of the mayor’s rides as a way to spend time together and meet people.

“This is good quality time with my son,” Urbanaik said. Hudson, who likes spending time with Price, said the rides are a good way to burn energy.

Food trucks and beverages were available after the ride, when residents could chat with Price and one another.

Price started the rides in 2012 and led more than 50 in the first year before switching to a semimonthly format. She has led about 100 rides since in all. The rides run from about April through October and are a way for residents to voice concerns about city issues.

The community rides are every other Wednesday and are at a slow, easy pace, with a city rider bringing up the rear to make sure no one falls behind. The next ride begins at 5:30 p.m. April 23 at the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum.

Engaging community

The rides are part of an effort by Price and the city to get residents out in the community and active.

The city’s FitWorth Healthy City Initiative includes several microactivities, such as the Fit15 program, which encourages area employers to offer 15-minute activity breaks for employees, and Worth Eating, which promotes nutrition and education. The program also offers an online tool, Fit365, for tracking physical activity, weight loss and meals.

Fort Worth is winning a healthy-city challenge with Des Moines, Iowa. The contest is judged based on the average minutes of activity per person, which, by Wednesday, was about 1,463 minutes in Fort Worth and 1,327 minutes in Des Moines.

Even though Fort Worth is winning, fewer residents are participating.

Des Moines has 10,908 residents participating, or 5.3 percent of its population of 206,688. Fort Worth has 2,070 participants, or 0.3 percent of its population of 777,992.

“I would have hoped we would have more people, but we started on it without a lead time and they have been working on their Blue Zone for a year or a year and half, so I think we are doing good,” Price said.

The 10-week challenge ends Friday.

Bike trails

Included in the 2014 bond program coming to voters in the May 10 election is $1.26 million for bicycle infrastructure, which was one of the main topics on the website set up for Fort Worth residents to comment on what they wanted in the bond program.

That money could go toward funding additional trails outlined in the comprehensive Bike Fort Worth plan, which was approved in 2009. The plan calls for increasing bicycle ridership in Fort Worth, improving bicycle safety and gaining national recognition as a bicycle-friendly community by 2015. The plan calls for 924.7 biking miles, both on- and off-street.

Fort Worth now has 184 biking miles.

Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter: @catyhirst

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