Fort Worth

August 5, 2014

Proposed public art plan revised after criticism from Fort Worth council

The new proposal reduces money to build an iconic art piece, and money was shifted to add art projects for Chisholm Trail Park and elsewhere.

There is a new art plan for the 2014 bond program after City Council members expressed their displeasure with the initial plan two weeks ago, saying it wasn’t fairly dispersed across the city.

“We did hear loud and clear a few comments from council, and some of those I believe have been incorporated into this draft,” said Gregory S. Ibañez, chairman of the Fort Worth Art Commission, when the commission voted unanimously to change the plan Tuesday at a specially called meeting.

Council members Danny Scarth, Jungus Jordan and Gyna Bivens all took issue with the proposal to spend $3.58 million in art funds, which was presented at a July 22 council briefing.

In the initial draft, Chisholm Trail Park in southwest Fort Worth in Jordan’s district was not included in the funding for public art. The park is getting $3.8 million in the bond package for parking, new trails and a $600,000 skate park.

Scarth’s district, which stretches from the far north to the east side of Fort Worth, was not on the list for any public art.

The revised arts funding plan includes reducing the amount for an “iconic” piece of art that would represent all of Fort Worth and spread the money around for additional smallers pieces of art.

The iconic piece of artwork, which would take several years to develop and require private money, was reduced from $1.66 million to $1.41 million.

That reduction and some other reductions in transit-oriented art projects will allow for a $300,000 public art piece at the intersection of North Beach Street and Northeast Loop 820 in Scarth’s district.

In the parks section of the plan, the commission reduced the amount for Northwest Community Park from $150,000 to $138,600 and reduced the amount for Heritage Park from $240,000 to $100,400.

That money will be used to add $76,000 for artwork in Chisholm Trail Park and $75,000 for art in Trail Drivers Park in Councilman Sal Espino’s district. Espino said he was excited that Trail Drivers Park was being added to the bond.

“Trail Drivers is a historic park that is named after the trails that go through Fort Worth, so it is pretty easy as to what kind of thing,” Espino said. “You want something that celebrates Fort Worth’s history with the trail and Western heritage.”

He said the iconic piece should be something that “expresses the best of Fort Worth.”

A 2001 city ordinance requires that 2 percent of the total amount of a bond package go to public art. Since then, the 2004 and 2008 voter-approved bond programs and the 2007 critical capital needs program all dedicated the full 2 percent to public art.

But the City Council decided to cut that amount for the 2014 bond program in February, dedicating 1 percent of the $219.74 million planned for transportation to public art. For all other propositions, such as parks and fire stations, the full 2 percent still goes to public art.

Community input

The new proposal will come to the community for input at Aug. 11 and Sept. 8 meetings, said Martha Peters, vice president for public art.

The rest of the initial draft plan will stay the same during community input, until the council approves the final plan in October.

Transportation projects are getting a total of $2.1 million for public art and park projects are getting the next big chunk at $616,400.

For the library proposition, the east side library would get $65,000 and the far north library, which is also set to include municipal kiosks, will get $183,000 for artwork.

Both of the fire stations planned in the bond program will get $91,050 each for art.

The expansion of the municipal court building will get $30,000 from the 2014 bond for a public art piece.

The field operations facility for the far north, which will also serve as a drop-off center, is budgeted for $95,700. Peters said the goal would be to make that piece a “way-finding” landmark to help people to find the center.

The municipal vehicle maintenance facility, planned for the Holly Water Treatment Plant, is getting $200,000. Peters said the goal is to have that artwork on the perimeter of the plant, so that passersby can see it from busy North Forest Park Boulevard.

Finally, the new animal care and control center planned for far north Fort Worth will get $46,100.

This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

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