Learn About Fort Worth
People are talking about Fort Worth, Texas. It is a vibrant city, with tremendous opportunities for growth and development. At the same time, Fort Worth has managed to maintain a special sense of community and a strong “hometown” feel.
Like all other major cities in the United States, our city does have its challenges. New ideas for solving these challenges are essential to the successful future of our hometown. Too often, good and innovative ideas are lost because there is no place for organized discussion. Now there is.
Fort Worth City Hall (photo courtesy of John Roberts, AIA, fortwortharchitecture.com)Be sure to vote!
Fort Worth Facts
Fort Worth, with its estimated population of just over 700,000, covers nearly 300 square miles in Tarrant and Denton counties and serves as the county seat for Tarrant County. When viewed in conjunction with its North Texas partners Dallas and Arlington in an area known as the Metroplex, this metropolitan center hosts a gross population of 6.2 million people—the fourth largest in the United States.
Fort Worth was established in 1849 as a protective Army outpost situated on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River. By 1924 the city adopted a city-council form of government to support its growing population and industries spanning cattle, oil, and manufacturing.
There are eight council members elected from geographic districts. Council members must live in the district they represent. The mayor is elected at large and is the official head of the city’s government as well as a voting member of the city council. All council members serve two-year terms, and there is no limit on the number of times they can run for re-election. The council hires a professional city manager to administer municipal operations and programs. For 2008-09, the city council adopted a budget of $1.255 billion.
Today Fort Worth is a center of cowboys, culture and community. The Western flavor can be seen in the thriving downtown area’s Sundance Square district and the historic Stockyards just north of the city center. Fort Worth is also home to several world renowned museums such as the Amon Carter Museum, Kimbell Art Museum, Modern Art Museum and the Sid Richardson Museum. Fort Worth boasts one of the finest zoos in the United States, is home to a symphony orchestra, a ballet company, the Van Cliburn Piano Competition and an opera festival.
One of Fort Worth’s strengths is its hometown feel. This sense of “home” is in large measure due to good quality of life policies developed by the Fort Worth City Council. Our city’s comprehensive plan states that neighborhoods have “…a chance at vitality when provided with quality community facilities and services, such as schools, parks, sidewalks, libraries and fire and police protection… The citizens of Fort Worth deserve this type of infrastructure and services throughout the city that support a high quality of life.”
Timely and vigilant maintenance and repair of primary infrastructure including water, sewer, roadways and sidewalks enhance our quality of life. We must continue to make our infrastructure a top priority.
What do you think are the most important infrastructure needs of Fort Worth?
Parks & Recreation
City parks, open space and recreational facilities are essential to good quality of life and neighborhood vitality. In strained economic times, people often choose to stay closer to home and take advantage of entertainment that is free and easily accessible. We need to continue to provide and maintain top-quality park facilities, as well as the hiking and biking trails, throughout the city.
We also need to support recreation and youth programs that are even more important as our population continues to grow.
What will keep Fort Worth’s hometown feel as it grows?
A clean environment is essential to our quality of life. Clean water and clean air are vital to healthy living. Fort Worth has done an excellent job in maintaining the quality of our drinking water. Regrettably, Fort Worth is in danger of not meeting EPA standards for air quality. The biggest factor in air pollution in our area is emissions from cars. In February, 2010, members of the Fort Worth City Council proposed that the city pay for independent testing of Fort Worth’s air quality to determine whether the natural gas wells within the city’s boundaries cause additional contamination. With one of the highest incidences of childhood asthma in the country, there is no doubt that we must take air quality seriously.
Clean environment goes beyond water and air. It also includes the absence of graffiti, the clean-up and re-use of blighted industrial areas, and the removal of litter from the streets.
What does a clean environment mean to you and your family?
Fort Worth is recognized as a major center for the defense industry, health care delivery, tourism and transportation. In the last decade, Fort Worth has grown at a remarkable pace. It is currently ranked 17th among the twenty largest fast-growing cities in the country. Like all large U.S. cities, we are facing difficult economic times. Our elected officials and business leaders must take action in formulating creative and strong policies to protect our economic well-being. No single solution will magically solve economic challenges. Even with an infusion of federal government stimulus money, economic success will require “local elected officials to think in new ways” to ensure a sound economy (National League of Cities). Let’s renew and reinvigorate our tradition of foresight and flexibility when faced with economic challenges.
According to the Fort Worth’s Comprehensive Plan, reasonable assurance of safety is vital to the development of a vibrant city. Effective delivery of police, fire, and city services impacts economic development, population growth, and ultimately the well being of a city. Fort Worth should be applauded for successfully reducing the incidence of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) since the turn of the century.
Unfortunately, the Dallas/Fort Worth corridor is a major destination and supply route for drugs. With increased drug cartel violence in neighboring Mexico, gang-related criminal behavior is on the rise in many Texas cities. Gang and drug activity continues to plague our area. Also, during difficult economic times, the frequency of car break-ins and vandalism increases. Fort Worth has experienced a recent escalation of these crimes, affecting many of our neighborhoods and businesses.
Destination Fort Worth
The aggressive marketing of Fort Worth as a desirable and affordable destination has created a local tourism industry that contributes significantly to our economy. Currently, approximately 7.5 million people visit Fort Worth each year. That’s nearly $900 million added to the city’s economy. With the addition of new downtown hotels and a recently refurbished convention center, Fort Worth now has the capacity to host even more visitors to our great city.