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Westworth Village, a little military town, is redeveloping its mission

05/10/2011 11:42 PM

05/11/2011 8:44 AM

Several folks here just call it the "Village."

It's a small military town just west of downtown Fort Worth that in its heyday had more than 4,000 residents.

The closing of Carswell Air Force Base in the 1990s caused Westworth Village's population to sink to just 2,124 by 2000.

But longtime residents say the town, nestled on the West Fork of the Trinity River, is redeveloping. The changes are thanks in part to the federal government's donation of 400 acres and 500 abandoned military houses when Carswell was transformed into Naval Air Station Fort Worth in the late 1990s.

One of those houses on Seymour Street is now Westworth Village's city library, with more than 17,000 books in 900 square feet.

"We were once in the back of the old City Hall," said Glenda Block, the library's clerk and a resident of the Village since 1965. "The base offered up the house, and here we are."

The donated land has also produced residential neighborhoods and commercial developments for the city, where the late W.R. "Billy Bob" Watt was once mayor. For decades, he was the chairman of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth.

The 2010 Census puts the population at 2,472, but city officials say it's 3,100 based on water bills.

Near Shady Oaks Country Club are $2 million homes, while homes of $120,000 or less are scattered throughout the city.

"We've loved the military here," said City Administrator Roger Unger. "But we're moving from a total military town to one of a typical bedroom community."

The Village still has military roots, with one of the county's highest percentages of veterans at an estimated 15 percent.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.,

817-390-7763

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