Sales tax collections up 4.2% in August

Fort Worth’s net sales tax collections in August totaled $13,298,195, up from August 2018 by $538,943, or 4.2%.

Year to date, sales tax collections are up 5.4%.

The city anticipates collecting $165,077,858 by fiscal year end, which is a 1.2% increase from the FY2019 adopted budget.

Sales tax revenue represents 22.3% 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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Try Parking It reboot offers more functionality

North Texas’ alternative-commute and rideshare website, TryParkingIt.com, has been improved with functionalities that make finding rideshare matches and recording alternatives to driving alone more personalized and seamless.

For example, residents who vanpool, carpool or take transit to work can now mark their commute alternatives as recurring trips, rather than after every trip, saving time and leading to more accurate records. Try Parking It also offers a mobile app and the ability to sign up for text or email alerts, and an agreement with Enterprise has resulted in a more accurate list of available vanpools, which will be automatically updated monthly.

Whether recorded on the website or app, each alternative commute can earn points toward an expanded list of rewards, including raffles, dining, shopping, activities and services. By establishing a new account, users of the app and website begin with 1,000 points, which can either be instantly redeemed for an expanded list of rewards or saved for later.

In addition to commutes to and from work, the program also encourages people to track other instances where they do not drive alone — shopping, dining, etc. They can even record physical activity, such as bicycling, walking and running, and users of fitness apps can sync their transportation trips with the apps to have them recorded on Try Parking It.

Download the free Try Parking It app from the App Store or Google Play.

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Victor Turner to lead Neighborhood Services Department

Victor Turner has been named Fort Worth’s Neighborhood Services Department director and will begin work Nov. 25. He comes to Fort Worth from Little Rock, Ark., where he was director of housing and neighborhood programs.

With more than 30 years’ experience in state and local government, Turner served as assistant director of Little Rock’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs before his appointment in January 2017 to director.

Turner also spent nine years with the Arkansas Development Finance Authority as a division manager, overseeing HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

He began his career in local government in 1989 as an urban planner with the Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Commission in Pine Bluff, Ark. In the late 1990s, Turner was a community development planner for the City of Little Rock. His experience in state government includes stints with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Turner holds a bachelor of science in public administration from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and a master of public administration degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He also has completed training at the Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas and is certified as a Housing Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council.

Turner is married and has two children.

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Historic W.T. Waggoner Building to become newest downtown hotel

One of downtown Fort Worth’s most iconic buildings is getting a new owner and a new purpose in the community, while still preserving its historic charm.

The W.T. Waggoner Building, 810 Houston St., is set to become the new Sandman Signature Hotel —– the second hotel of its kind in the United States. Sandman Signature is owned by Canada-based Northland Properties.

This project will add another full-service hotel to downtown Fort Worth’s growing lineup, which will help support bigger and better events at the city’s major event venues like the Fort Worth Convention Center. Furthermore, the move aligns with the city’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, which calls for accelerating downtown Fort Worth’s growth into one of the state’s premier mixed-use business districts.

What was old is new again

The W.T. Waggoner Building was originally built in 1920 and was one of the tallest buildings in the southwestern United States at the time of its completion. Architecturally, it is known for its ornate entrance lobby, as well as its vaulted banking lobby and elevator hall.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was most recently used as office space by XTO Energy before being purchased last year by Northland Properties, owners of the Dallas Stars NHL team.

The 20-story building is set to undergo a renovation as it transitions from offices into a hotel that will boast a minimum of 240 rooms and 1,500 square feet of meeting space. As part of this effort, Northland has requested assistance with up to $8 million in costs for public improvements associated with the project, such as landscaping, utilities and historical preservation and restoration.

These public improvements will be reimbursed by the city’s Lancaster Tax Incremental Financing District (TIF), contingent upon certain performance requirements that must be met by the hotel. The TIF reimbursement will not kick in until the hotel has been fully operational for two years, and it outperforms its financial projections, the amount reimbursed from the TIF will be reduced.

“We’re thrilled that Northland Properties is committed to preserving such an iconic Fort Worth building,” said Robert Sturns, director of economic development for the City of Fort Worth. “This project celebrates Fort Worth’s past while still supporting the current and future growth of downtown, and we look forward to the Sandman Signature Hotel being part of our growing community.”

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Fire Prevention Week: When and how to use a fire extinguisher

Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12, is a week during which the Fort Worth Fire Department stresses the importance of knowing when and how to use a fire extinguisher.

Always put your safety first; if you are not confident in your ability to use a fire extinguisher, get out and call 911. The American Red Cross says to evaluate the situation and ensure:

  • Everyone has left or is leaving the home.
  • The fire department has been called.
  • The fire is small, not spreading and there is not much smoke.
  • Your back is to an exit you can use quickly.

Learn about the different types of fire extinguishers; not all will work on every fire. For home use, the National Fire Protection Association recommends a multipurpose device large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy that it will be difficult to handle.

Review the instructions once a year. If you need to use a fire extinguisher, there won’t be time to learn how to do it.

To use a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:

Pull the pin.
Aim low at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the handle slowly.
Sweep the nozzle side to side.

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What kind of recreational opportunities would you like to see in Fort Worth?

With more than 1 million people moving to the DFW area since 2010, it’s no secret that Fort Worth is growing — and the city’s Park & Recreation Department wants to make sure that recreational programs and facilities are growing along with it.

The 2019 Park & Recreation Survey is open through Nov. 24, and provides an opportunity for residents to give feedback about the city’s recreational activities and facilities. Current facilities include community centers, athletics fields, golf courses, parks and trails, as well as some of the department’s special-use facilities, like the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and the Log Cabin Village.

About the survey

The survey explores how residents use current recreational facilities, and how frequently they do so.

It also gives residents the opportunity to provide feedback on facilities that they think are needed in Fort Worth parks. This includes traditional park facilities such as playgrounds and trails, and some facilities that currently have a small or limited presence locally, like skate parks, disc golf courses, dog parks and age-friendly playgrounds.

The Park & Recreation Department is collaborating with National Service Research on this survey, which is administered about every five years. The results help inform the direction of the Park & Recreation Department’s Master Plan.

Residents are encouraged to take the survey before it closes. All survey feedback is anonymous, and residents are asked to complete only one survey per household.

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Simmons Bank signs naming rights deal for plaza at Dickies Arena

Trail Drive Management Corp. (TDMC), the not-for-profit operating entity of Dickies Arena, and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo announced a new partnership with Simmons Bank. The financial institution will become the official banking partner and naming rights holder for the Simmons Bank Plaza and Simmons Bank Pavilion at Dickies Arena, as well as a major sponsor of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The Simmons Bank Plaza, located on the east side of Dickies Arena, can accommodate up to 3,000 guests and will host a number of events throughout the year, including pre-event parties and fan festivals. Additionally, the Simmons Bank Plaza will become the new home to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo’s Bud Light Roadhouse, a live music venue, as well as The Corkyard, a new destination where Stock Show guests can enjoy a wide selection of award-winning wines served by the glass.

“The Simmons Bank Plaza provides another layer of entertainment for guests coming to Dickies Arena,” said Matt Homan, president and general manager of TDMC. “The plaza will be home to activities before and after many of our major events, and it offers one of the best views of downtown Fort Worth. We are excited to have Simmons Bank as one of our founding partners, and we look forward to working together to create incredible community experiences.”

Dickies Arena will bring a wide variety of programming to Fort Worth, including major concerts, family shows, sporting events and community events. Beginning in 2020, Dickies Arena will be the home to the Fort Worth Stock Show rodeo performances. The $540 million project will complement the current Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, which will continue to serve as a major equestrian show arena.

Dickies Arena will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and community open house Oct. 26 to formally welcome the community into the world-class arena.

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Top three finalists announced in Fort Worth Business Plan Competition

Ten entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a panel of judges during last night’s sold-out Fort Worth Business Plan Competition Pitch Night, and three of those competitors will move on to the final round.

The three finalists of this year’s Fort Worth Business Plan Competition are:

  • Alicia and Shawn Rizzo of Kraken Motorsports, a business that provides performance solutions to automotive enthusiasts.
  • Michelle Crim of Dynamic Development Strategies, a consulting business designed to help small and start-up nonprofits with their fundraising needs.
  • Veena Somareddy of Neuro Rehab VR, a company that develops virtual reality therapy exercises that help speed up neurological physical recovery.

Additionally, Kate Murphy of Nanda Yoga won the People’s Perfect Pitch Award, receiving the audience’s popular vote and $100 in cash from Industrial Solutions LLC.

Attend the finals on Oct. 24

RSVP online to see these competitors give their final pitches in front of the judges from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the MET Building on the UNT Health and Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.

The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 in cash from Frost Bank, the competition’s presenting sponsor. Frost will also award $5,000 and $3,000 in cash to second and third place, respectively.

Additionally, more than $70,000 of cash and in-kind services are up for grabs, including access to co-working spaces, professional business coaching, advertising services, and opportunities to interact with all of Fort Worth’s Chambers of Commerce. A complete list of prizes is located on the Business Plan Competition webpage.

Pitch Night was sponsored by BB&T; Bourland, Wall & Wenzel Attorneys and Counselors, and the University of Arlington’s College of Business.

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Join the first bus stop cleanup day on Oct. 26

Join Trinity Metro, in partnership with Keep Fort Worth Beautiful, to celebrate the inaugural bus stop cleanup day from 7 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 26.

With hundreds of bus stops scattered across the Fort Worth, keeping each location clean is a challenging task. Bus shelters provide passengers with a safe, pleasant and comfortable place to rest while waiting for the bus. Now is the perfect time to clean them all.

Individuals, civic groups and local businesses are encouraged to do their part by cleaning a bus stop or passenger shelter. Participants can choose a location from a number of preselected bus stops. Included in the list are Route 8 Riverside/Evans, Route 14 Sylvania/NE 28, Route 15 Stockyards/North Main, Route 23 TCC North Main Campus/TRE and Route 22 Meadowbrook, to name a few.

Trinity Metro will provide cleanup team members with trash bags, safety vests, gloves and T-shirts.

Sign up online or by calling 817-215-8600.

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Water lines, sewer utility lines and streets on the west side to be rehabilitated

Make plans to attend the Westside Alliance and Arlington Heights infrastructure improvements project meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21, at Arlington Heights United Methodist Church, 4200 Camp Bowie Blvd., to learn about the city’s plan to replace water and sanitary sewer lines.

Affected streets:

  • Belle Place from West Seventh Street to Mattison Avenue.
  • Kenley Street from Camp Bowie Boulevard to Collinwood Avenue.
  • Madelene Place from Clarke Avenue to Camp Bowie Boulevard.
  • Sanguinet Street from Byers Avenue to El Campo Avenue.
  • Belle Place from Linden Avenue to Collinwood Avenue.
  • Harley Avenue from Owasso Street to Sutter Street.
  • Margaret Street from Byers Avenue to Collinwood Avenue.
  • Penticost Street from Birchman Avenue to the south dead end.
  • Owasso Street from Byers Avenue to Calmont Avenue.
  • Sutter Street from Byers Avenue to Pershing Avenue.
  • Washburn Avenue from Montgomery Street to Sutter Street.

After utility lines have been replaced, the streets will be repaved.

To learn more, contact Project Manager Suby Varughese at 817-392-7803.

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