The head of a downtown advocacy group said Tuesday that work to renovate and restore Heritage Park Plaza at the north end of downtown on the banks of the Trinity River could begin about this time next year.
However, the $3.4 million project is still short about $244,035, Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., told the City Council.
Taft was updating the council on the project. Next week, the council is scheduled to vote on amending a contract with an arm of Downtown Fort Worth Inc. to maintain and manage the park. Downtown Fort Worth Inc. Initiatives already manages Burnett Park and General Worth Square in downtown, among other things.
Here we sit with a beautiful public amenity with a chain-link fence around it.
Andy Taft, president, Downtown Fort Worth Inc.
Taft called the park “an oasis” in the city and a place where people can step out of the hustle and bustle of downtown. It’s also a place where weddings, parties and other events could generate monies to maintain the public park, he said.
“It’s a remarkable space,” Taft said. “Here we sit with a beautiful public amenity with a chain-link fence around it. A lot of people have been working very hard behind the scenes for a while to reopen it. It could be a gathering place.”
The work will include a full restoration of the park and its water and lighting features, as well as structural repairs and new landscaping and irrigation plans, Taft said.
Taft said he would also advocate hiring someone full time to oversee the park’s operations once it reopens.
“This park has been something I have been waiting to see reopened for a very long time,” Councilwoman Ann Zadeh said. “I’m appreciative of all the hard work that has gone into it by all the stakeholders.”
The city park was closed in 2007. A chain-link fence has kept people out since. All the needed repairs are in the 1.5-acre plaza at the top of the park, a section designed by famed landscape architect Lawrence Halperin.
The Heritage Park Plaza was commissioned as the city’s gift to America’s Bicentennial celebration in 1976. It has been named to the National Register of Historic Places and listed among Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places, and is on Historic Fort Worth’s Most Endangered Places list.