Westchester Plaza to be demolished early on March 18

The 12-story Westchester Plaza building south of downtown Fort Worth will be demolished with explosives at about 8 a.m. March 18.

Early that morning, the Fort Worth Police Department will set up an exclusion zone around the building to keep onlookers from getting too close.

Road closures

The following streets will be closed from 5:30-9 a.m. as a result of the demolition:

  • 8th Avenue From I-30 WBSR to Pruitt
  • Summit Avenue From 8th to Pennsylvania
  • Petersmith Street from Summit to Ballinger
  • Tucker Street from Summit to Ballinger
  • Pennsylvania Avenue from 9th to Ballinger

Traffic on I-30 will be slowed down or not permitted to enter the interstate during the time of the actual implosion.

Media-only viewing area

The viewing area at Pennsylvania and Sixth is for media only. Road closures will cause heavy traffic and residents are encouraged to avoid the area. Anyone who comes to watch must stay in public areas outside the exclusion zone.

Based on current wind direction, a viewing area will be at Pennsylvania and 6th avenues. This could change based on weather conditions.

Dust is an unpreventable byproduct of these types of demolitions. The dust may linger in the area for four to six minutes before the contractor, Dallas Demolition Co., begins cleaning streets and sidewalks. Sites immediately adjacent to and downwind from the demolition site may notice greater dust impact.

Residents who find dust uncomfortable or irritating, or who have a respiratory condition that would be aggravated by dust, should stay indoors during the demolition.

Westchester Plaza operated as the state’s largest assisted-living facility for Medicaid recipients until residents were removed last August following several years of financial and regulatory problems.

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Sidewalk construction scheduled for John T. White

Sidewalks provide a safe avenue for students walking to school, allow residents a place to run and walk, foster a healthy environment and connect neighborhoods.

The city’s Transportation & Public Works Department will host a project meeting to inform residents about sidewalk construction scheduled along John T. White Road.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 24 at Bridgewood Church of Christ, 6516 Brentwood Stair Road. Make plans to attend the meeting to find out about the schedule and impacts to residents.

To learn more, contact project manager Maged Zaki at 817-392-5448.

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Building the foundation of North Main Street’s new bridge

The recent soggy weather hasn’t dampened progress much on the North Main Street bridge.

Construction on the Trinity River Vision Authority’s third signature V-pier bridge began in late December with traffic detours on North Main Street near Coyote Drive-In and LaGrave Field. The bridge is being built on dry land and will serve as a connector across the new bypass channel. Design of the north end of the bypass channel was approved in December.

Steps in V-pier structure construction

Step 1: Pier shaft construction. This initial step requires drilling approximately 30 feet into the ground to create a strong foundation to support the future bridge structure. Once the pier shafts are drilled, a circular steel cage is inserted in the drilled hole and concrete is poured to reinforce the bridge’s foundation. This bridge will have four pier shafts, each 10 feet in diameter, below ground. Work began on the pier shafts in December and they were completed in early February.

Step 2: Pier column construction. The pier columns are constructed by encasing circular steel reinforcement in high-strength concrete, which connects to the underground pier shafts. The upper part of the pier columns has a round dome that will be visible above the waterline. The four pier columns are underway now; the first two were poured the second week of March.

Step 3: V-pier construction. Once the pier shafts and columns are complete, the bridge’s four signature V-piers will support the bridge’s superstructure, or deck, for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The North Main bridge will have four V-piers that will consist of approximately 210 cubic yards of steel-reinforced high-strength concrete.

Why a V shape?

The signature bridges get their name from the V-shape of the support pier that will be visible above the water. But there’s more beneath the surface.

The V-shape is an alliance of art and architecture. World-renowned architect Miguel Rosales designed the V-pier structure with Freese and Nichols Inc. of Fort Worth. Aesthetically, the design mirrors structures in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, like the Modern Art Museum. Practically, the V-pier design provides better bridge support with fewer piers. Fewer piers mean less concrete and fewer obstructed views from the river.

Ultimately, the V-piers will support the superstructure of the bridge, which will connect traffic from one side of the bypass channel to the other.

The Panther Island project, which includes three signature bridges positioned along the to-be-realigned Trinity River, are a collaborative effort between the Trinity River Vision Authority, TxDOT, City of Fort Worth, North Central Texas Council of Governments, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tarrant County.

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Learn the basics of public swimming pool and spa operation

Upcoming pool operator courses cover water chemistry, filtration and recirculation; state and local regulations; water-borne diseases; and pool safety and water testing.

The one-day course is required for people responsible for operating and managing class C, D and E public swimming pools and spas. Operators and managers of competitive and municipal pools and spas (class A and B) must have a five-year Certified Pool Operators certificate. After successfully completing the course, operators are issued a certificate valid for three years.

The course fee is $65 per participant, and each class is limited to 40 students. Preregistration is required.

Here is the 2018 class schedule:

  • March 22, National CPO Class ($275 fee)
  • April 5
  • April 19 (class conducted in Spanish)
  • May 3
  • May 17
  • June 21 (class conducted in Spanish)
  • July 26

Check-in for all classes begins at 8 a.m. Class and exam are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Classes will be conducted at the Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods, 818 Missouri Ave.

Instructors are certified by the National Swimming Pool Foundation. Combined, the instructors have a total of 25 years of inspection experience.

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Community meeting scheduled for Overton Woods infrastructure improvements

The conversation continues about infrastructure improvements in the Overton Woods area. Residents are invited to be part of a community meeting to hear the latest project information and to have their questions answered.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 26 at Arborlawn United Methodist Church, 5001 Briarhaven Road.

Sewer, drainage and street improvements are planned along Bellaire Drive from Briarhaven Road to Ranchview Road. A roundabout will also be constructed at the intersection of Briarhaven Road/Misty Hollow Court and Bellaire Drive.

To learn more, contact Project Manager Mike Bennett at 817-392-7891.

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Sales tax collections up in December

Fort Worth’s net sales tax collections in December totaled $15,934,318, up from December 2016 by $1,023,704, or 6.9 percent.

So far this fiscal year, sales tax collections are up 7 percent.

The city anticipates collecting $154,573,000 by fiscal year end.

Sales tax revenue represents about 22 percent of the city’s General Fund budget. This is the second largest revenue source, with property taxes being the largest.

For the Crime Control and Prevention District, sales tax revenue represents the largest revenue source.

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Relive art on the prairie at Log Cabin Village

Explore new frontiers at Log Cabin Village as interpreters demonstrate historic skills with a modern sensibility during the Up Close With A Village Artisan series.
Topics include:
March 11. Clay sculpting.
April 15. Drop spindle and wheel spinning.
May 6. Watercolors.

All sessions run from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Note that these are demonstrations, not hands-on classes. But bring lots of questions.

The Log Cabin Village is a living history museum owned and operated by the City of Fort Worth. The village, devoted to the preservation of Texas heritage, is at 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane.

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Gear up for first Rolling Town Hall of the season

Grab your bike and bring your ideas for a better Fort Worth as Mayor Betsy Price begins a fresh season of Rolling and Walking Town Halls at 5:30 p.m. March 28 at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex, 505 W. Felix St.

Riders will roll out by 6 p.m. for a casual, no-drop bike ride. Residents who don’t care to ride can meet for a group walk starting and ending at the same location. The walk will be led by FitWorth.

Thanks to today’s hectic and busy society, getting residents involved in charting the course for their city requires more creative approaches than the typical town hall meeting. Mayor Price implemented Walking, Rolling and Caffeinated Town Halls to break the mold of that traditional town hall meeting with a casual — yet active — way for residents to connect with their elected leaders.

Town halls will be scheduled in each council district over the coming months. City councilmembers often join the mayor.

View a complete list of upcoming town hall events.

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Flushing occurring in north Fort Worth as a preventative measure

Daily monitoring has shown some lower than normal disinfectant levels in parts of the north Fort Worth water distribution system, particularly in the areas of Morris Dido Newark Road and Bonds Ranch Road. While the disinfectant levels are lower than normal, the water quality continues to meet all state and federal standards.

The situation is attributed to very low water use coupled with a chemical feed issue at the Eagle Mountain Water Plant. Low water use increases water age, which leads to lower disinfectant levels.

The Water Department is implementing the recognized best management practice for these situations — flushing the older water out of the system by opening fire hydrants. Flushing moves the new water with higher disinfectant levels to the affected parts of the distribution system. The Water Department’s primary responsibility is to protect public health, and flushing is done to ensure the water quality remains good.

The large white tablets used at the flushing sites are to safely remove chlorine from the water in order to protect aquatic life in nearby streams.

To learn more, contact the Water Department or call the Customer Service Center at 817-392-4477.

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Stay safe with natural gas

To protect yourself and others, be aware of what to do if you ever smell natural gas and how to prevent incidents involving natural gas pipelines.

Federal and state regulations require utilities to odorize natural gas so that the gas is readily detectable by a person with a normal sense of smell. Technicians routinely monitor the odorant concentration with instruments throughout the pipeline system.

If you ever smell leaking natural gas, do not wait. Leave the premises immediately. Do not rely on your sense of smell alone to detect the presence of natural gas. Use your other senses — smell, listen or look — to check for telltale signs of a leak.

If you think there’s a leak

  • Leave the area immediately and tell other to leave, too.
  • Leave any doors open.
  • Don’t turn on or off any electric switch; this could cause a spark, igniting the gas.
  • Don’t use a cellphone, telephone, garage door opener, doorbell or even a flashlight.
  • Don’t smoke, use a lighter or strike a match.
  • Don’t start or stop a nearby vehicle or machinery.
  • Don’t try to shut off a natural gas valve.
  • Once you are safely out of the area, call 911 and Atmos Energy at 866-322-8667. Do not assume someone else will report the leak.
  • Atmos Energy will send a trained technician immediately to investigate at no cost.

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