Neighborliness and can-do civic pride were celebrated in a grand way last week when the Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods handed out the 11th annual Neighborhood Awards during a dinner buffet and presentation at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.
“This is the biggest turnout we’ve had in a long time,” said Ruben Olmos, a neighborhood specialist with the city. “Nominations-wise, it was double-digits in each category.”
About 200 people attended the dinner. More than 30 organizations nominated 60 groups and individuals for the honors.
League President Carlos Flores also praised the turnout and the busy year of accomplishment.
Never miss a local story.
This event was founded 10 years ago through a partnership between the league and the city’s Neighborhood Education Office, said Madelyn Gibbs, the city’s acting neighborhood education manager. Both organizations are involved in handing out the awards, she said.
Neighborhood of the Year
South Hemphill Heights Neighborhood Association was the big winner, honored as Neighborhood of the Year. The award is based on physical improvements, social aspects, collaborative efforts, and health and wellness initiatives.
The group’s Lowden Tunnel mural provides residents with not only scenic access to the city’s south side but also opens it up to biking, walking and running. The tunnel has connected other neighborhoods to South Hemphill Heights and fostered a sense of community.
Fort Worth Pride Award
South Hemphill Heights also received the Fort Worth Pride Award, given for neighborhood cleanliness, beautification and revitalization. Finalists in that category included East Lake Worth Neighborhood Association and Tanglewood Neighborhood Association.
Spirit of Fort Worth Award
The Spirit of Fort Worth Award, given for social revitalization and neighborliness, went to East Lake Worth Neighborhood Association. Finalists were Fairmount Neighborhood Association and Heritage Homeowners’ Association.
Neighbor of the Year Award
Charles and Andrea Ansley won the Ben Ann Tomayko Neighbor of the Year Award, given for neighborhood support and volunteerism. The couple have lived in EastGate Neighborhood for 17 years and started a community garden last year, sharing the organically grown produce with neighbors, the elderly and the needy.
Finalists included Eva Sandoval Bonilla, Jarrod Busby, Lynn Curnutt, Robert Dellamura, Linda Denison, Mary Dulle, Martin Herring, Kyle Jensen, Martha Jones, Jim and Patti Maness, Melissa McDougall, Paul Millender, Jonathan Morrison, Martie Parker, Dolores Roberts, Ron Shearer, Rick Shepherd and Ann Zedah.
Neighborhood newsletter award recipients included Arlington Heights, Berkeley Place and Wedgwood South neighborhood associations.
Two new awards were handed out during the ceremonies.
The Mayor’s Civic Engagement and Community Collaboration Award — formerly the Community Collaboration Award, recognizing partnerships, creative initiatives and solutions for positive change — went to Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association.
Finalists were Friends of Overton/Foster Parks and Linwood Neighborhood Association.
Village of Woodland Springs won the Mayor’s Health and Wellness Award, highlighting exercise, health and safety, and recreation initiatives.
Finalists included Highland Hills Neighborhood Association and Z’s Cafe.
“The community’s been really active, making their neighborhoods better and safer,” said Olmos. “We really have something special here.”