Fort Worth receives $1 million grant for southwest community center

Groundbreaking for a community center in southwest Fort Worth is closer to reality with the infusion of $1 million from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The grant, awarded Thursday, is much-needed assistance to the city, which is working to get the proposed Far Southwest Community Center in the Summer Creek development built by 2013.

"This will be a pretty welcome addition to our community," said District 6 Councilman Jungus Jordan, who represents the area. "This will give us a very nice community center."

The next step is for architects to begin designing the 22,900-square-foot structure, to be built the 77-acre Southwest Community Park on McPherson Boulevard.

In December, the City Council contracted with Brinkley Sargent Architects for $316,996.

The council must approve the design, the estimated $4.6 million in funding and construction bids. In addition to the grant, $2.5 million approved by voters in a 2004 bond election is available, as is gas-lease revenue.

Parks and Community Services Director Richard Zavala said the center would provide services that run "the whole gamut for the center of the community."

"This will be a place for physical fitness, wellness, arts and crafts, community meetings, a meeting place for seniors and use for after-school programs," Zavala said.

A gymnasium, climbing wall, rooms for aerobics and dance, a walking track and a weight room will be among the features. Also, a rainwater collection system and demonstration gardens will be constructed.

The Fort Worth grant was part of more than $3.8 million awarded through a program for indoor and outdoor recreational facilities administered by Parks and Wildlife. The money comes from state sales taxes collected on sporting goods. Only seven of 35 eligible grant requests were chosen, commission officials said.

The Crowley school district is expected to be a partner on the project at some point. Initial planning included a natatorium that the district was to build. However, the district's economic hardship has prevented that from happening now.

Zavala, though, said the architects have been instructed to leave space for an indoor swimming pool. The city also hopes to redevelop the park down the line.

Officials envision the center being a destination for a part of the city that is expected to see substantial growth in retail and planned community development with the eventual completion of Southwest Parkway.

John Henry, 817-390-7539