In October of 2016, Fort Worth created the Neighborhood Improvement Strategy program to help revitalize some of the older neighborhoods around the city.
Through in-depth research and community outreach, the program selected the Cavile-Stop Six neighborhood and the city allocated $2.56 million to help improve the neighborhood. The long-term goal is to promote economic revitalization, provide supportive services to create paths towards self-sufficiency and to reduce poverty.
The Police Department, in partnership with neighborhood residents, set out to curb crime by installing security monitors and adding streetlights. As part of the project, the city installed sidewalks and walkways so kids could walk to school instead of cutting through vacant fields and properties.
Another project the city worked on was cleaning up litter and removing dilapidated buildings. Contractors removed brush and debris to make the neighborhood more walkable. After brush was removed, the city cleaned up more than 180 tons of trash that had been hidden by overgrown brush.
To make old or unsold properties more attractive to potential buyers, the city is using a durable, clear plastic instead of plywood to board up vacant property and to make it look more presentable.
The community helped the city formulate improvement plans for the neighborhood, said Michelle Pantaleo-Clough, head of the Neighborhood Improvement Strategy program. “We had to engage the community. That was a huge part of it. They have established neighborhood associations in that area. The churches are essential to the folks in the neighborhood, and we had great turnout when we started doing our community meetings,” she said.
The city is $330,000 under budget and will use the funds to continue sidewalk construction, install more surveillance cameras and improve vacant properties. The city is also improving neighborhood parks by installing playground equipment, and helping to bring a grocery store to the area in what would be a major accomplishment.
Over the last year, average property values have risen from a little more than $49,000 to just under $65,000. Crime rates have decreased 3 percent.
View a video about progress in Stop Six.
Next focus: Ash Crescent neighborhood
Up next for the Neighborhood Improvement Strategy program is to revitalize the Ash Crescent neighborhood in east Fort Worth. The City Council approved $2.77 million for the project.
Work in Ash Crescent will improve sidewalks, help reduce crime and illegal dumping with security cameras, add more street lights, and demolish or repair dilapidated buildings in the neighborhood.
“We are doing things differently. We learned a lot from the Stop Six project,” Panatleo-Clough said. “We are using that knowledge here.”