Residents of Fort Worth, strap on your helmets — Mayor Betsy Price’s Rolling Town Halls are back.
If you want to chat with Fort Worth’s on-the-go mayor, the rolling town halls Price started in 2012 may be one of the best places to catch her, and Wednesday’s 2015 kick-off at The Modern was no exception.
About 100 cyclists showed up for the town hall, and Price heard residents on a variety of issues, from road conditions and potholes after the recent ice storms to questions about how the city is involved in education.
“We started the rolling town halls partly out of selfishness, because I like to cycle and I’m very busy and I have to find time to do this,” Price said. “And so I thought, what better way to get out and engage people, catch them where they live, and take them to see different parts of the city. It has just been really successful.”
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Wednesday’s riders left The Modern at 5:45 p.m. and did a 5-mile loop around the Cultural District, through the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, and seeing the site for the $450 million multipurpose arena planned for the corner of Harley Avenue and Gendy Street.
Kyle Jensen, who has ridden in the town halls before, said the kickoff was like a “family reunion.” Jensen’s 18-month-old son, Colton, has ridden with his dad in the rolling town halls since he was 3 months old, his dad said.
“The mayor has given us lots of slow, safe rides. It is always great to be part of,” Jensen said.
Price said Colton — strapped in a special seat on the bike behind his dad — is their “youngest rider.”
The group returned to The Modern to chat with Price, and Steel City Pops FW was there with dessert snacks.
The town halls don’t end with bike rides. The city hosts walking town halls for those who prefer to stay on two feet, or caffeinated town halls for residents who want an even more relaxed setting.
‘Show and tell’
The walking town halls, with the next one scheduled for May 16, are typically a mile or a mile and a half, with residents able to do a “show and tell” of the needs in their community.
The caffeinated town halls, held on Saturday mornings throughout the city, are normally held at local businesses, community centers, libraries and schools.
“Not everyone rides bikes and I know that,” Price said. “We talk to a lot of people. You can’t do a very good job of governing a city if you don’t know what people are thinking.”
The community rides are every other Wednesday through October, and are at an easy pace, with a city rider bringing up the rear to make sure no one falls behind. The rides are between 5 and 7 miles or about 45 minutes.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984
Upcoming town halls
Rolling Town Hall (District 9): 5:30 p.m. April 1, location to be determined
Caffeinated Town Hall (District 2):10 a.m. April 4, Far Greater North
Rolling Town Hall (District 7): 10 a.m. April 18, Villages of Woodland Springs
Rolling Town Hall (District 3): 6 p.m. April 29, R.D. Evans Community Center
Walking Town Hall (District 9): 10 a.m. May 16, location to be determined