Bond plan would continue funding public art projects

04/24/2014 5:56 PM

04/24/2014 5:57 PM

Each of the seven propositions on Fort Worth’s bond election continues a city policy of setting aside money for public art, although the City Council altered that policy a bit in the buildup to approving the $292 million package.

The potential bond project list was long, while the amount of money available without requiring a tax increase was tight.

Mayor Betsy Price wrote in a newsletter on the city’s website in January, 2013, that the council was discussing a bond election aimed at addressing infrastructure needs, “especially neighborhood streets and major roads, city buildings and parks.”

What would the city ask voters to approve?

“Current estimates put the total cost of the Fort Worth infrastructure ‘wish list’ at around $1.8 billion,” Price wrote. “Some of these projects are sorely needed. Some fall into the ‘nice to have’ category. Others are projected future needs.”

She said the city had “neither the funds nor project capacity to tackle this entire wish list.”

Councilman Jungus Jordan spurred council discussion of the policy devoting 2 percent of each bond proposition to art projects. It became clear as discussions progressed and council members eyed infrastructure needs in their own districts that money for art might be squeezed.

And indeed it was, selectively but decidedly. Two percent of a bond package would have produced more than $5.7 million for art projects. The council trimmed that to $3.6 million in the current package.

The adjustment is in Proposition 1, by far the bulk of the bond plan, containing $219.7 million for street and transportation improvements. The $2,175,700 set-aside for public art projects under Proposition 1 was calculated as approximately 1 percent of the total.

The remaining six propositions each contain 2 percent for art projects.

The set-aside under Proposition 1 effectively can be used on one or more art projects city-wide. Money from the other propositions is for art projects directly tied to the improvements in the proposition.

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