The Las Vegas Trail Revitalization Project is going live.
After a couple of behind-the-scenes strategy sessions, the committee of city leaders hand-picked by Councilman Brian Byrd is ready to meet the public.
Byrd hopes for a sizable turnout of Las Vegas Trail residents at the first public meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Birchman Baptist Church. An evening meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 13 at a location to be determined.
The Revitalization Project came together rather swiftly following a Star-Telegram special report that brought the area’s blight into the open, and spurred more than 400 people to attend a town hall meeting at Western Hills Primary School in the heart of the community.
Using the successful 20-year-old Jubilee Park Neighborhood project in Dallas’ Fair Park area as a model, Byrd tapped United Way of Tarrant County executive vice president T.D. Smyers to oversee five subcommittees that will individually specialize in economic development, housing, education, public safety and social services. Each subcommittee is headed by a volunteer with expertise in that specific sector.
Residents will be recruited to join a subcommittee they believe they can best aid.
“For our first public meeting, our primary purpose is to listen to the residents of the Las Vegas Trail area,” Byrd said. “Community input is critical to designing and implementing successful solutions, so we want to hear directly from them on how best to move forward.”
Las Vegas Trail is a one-mile stretch of road from Interstate 30 to Camp Bowie Boulevard. It is lined on each side by low-income apartment complexes and is plagued by high rates of crime, violence, addiction and unemployment, while lacking suitable child and health care options.
City action to reduce violent crime, root out drug dealers and make streets and businesses safer has begun. City attorneys, police and Code Compliance officials recently summoned the owners of the troubled Mira Monte Apartments, and then a couple of weeks later, the owner of the Knights Inn motel, to City Hall. City attorneys, police and Code Compliance officials warned the owners to improve living conditions and deter crime on their premises or risk an abatement lawsuit that could shut them down.
Now it’s time for residents who want to see the conditions in their neighborhood improve to take an active role in the direction of their community. Karen Molinar, the Fort Worth school district chief of elementary schools who is heading the education subcommittee, said she has experienced postive feedback and believes residents are engaged and excited to get involved.
“One of the things we quickly realized is this is not something we need to do to the community, but with the community,” Molinar said. “We don’t want to say, ‘This is what we’re going to do, here’s what we’re going to do,’ but rather meet with the community and stakeholders to work with us and hear what we need to do.
“This is not a month-long process or a year. This is going to take years. We’re going to see support grow as they see actions and steps take place. Belief is stronger when you see results.”
Las Vegas Trail Revitalization Project
8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Birchman Baptist Church