Fort Worth earns NLC downtown honors
Fort Worth, Texas — The National League of Cities (NLC) has recognized the ongoing revitalization of Fort Worth’s downtown area with its 1994 James C. Howland Award for Urban Enrichment.
The city won top honors among cities with populations between 150,000 and 500,000. The $2,000 cash prize that accompanies the award was donated to the Downtown Fort Worth Library Foundation.
“The award reinforces what we’ve been saying for some time — that the downtown area is a big part of what makes Fort Worth a great city,” says Mayor Kay Granger.
The award, sponsored by NLC and CH2M Hill, salutes downtown Fort Worth’s re-emergence as an exciting, attractive place. The revitalization process began in 1977 when the twin towers of the Tandy Corp.’s world headquarters began to rise on the site of an old department store.
Since then, more than $1 billion, including $300 million in public money and more than $770 million in private funds, has been invested in the downtown area.
Public projects include those financed through the sale of bonds and through a special tax imposed on downtown property owners.
An additional $9 million in federal Urban Development Action Grants was put to work rebuilding and landscaping Main Street with red bricks reminiscent of its original paving and creating General Worth Square.
Federal Urban Mass Transit dollars paid for improvements to a major downtown bus spine.
Downtown Fort Worth is the city’s largest employment center, with more than 40,000 workers, as well as one of its major entertainment districts. Additionally, it boasts 129 new housing units, with plans for another 593.
The revitalization has also spurred several new initiatives, including:
* a private campaign, now nearly completed, to raise $60 million for a new performing arts hall;
* the rebuilding of the junction of Interstates 30 and 35W, with demolition of a 1.4-mile elevated section that has stifled development in the southern part of the downtown area; and
* creation of an Intermodal Tranportation Center and commuter railroad facility in the historic Art Deco Texas & Pacific terminal building.