Give input on plans for Wesleyan Hills Park

The city is hosting a project meeting to discuss plans and receive resident input for the Wesleyan Hills Park. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Harvest Church of Christ in God, 2900 Mitchell Blvd.

The park’s master plan is being designed. Amenities include, but are not limited to, the construction of athletic fields, playground, picnic shelter and security lighting.

Make plans to attend the meeting and let your voice be heard.

To learn more, contact Clarence Bryant at 817-392-7372.

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Westcliff drainage and sewer improvements continue

The city is hosting a project meeting to discuss the next steps for the Westcliff drainage and sewer improvements. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10, at Westcliff Elementary School Auditorium, 4300 Clay Ave.

Storm drain pipes, inlets and water and sewer lines will be installed along portions of Suffolk Drive, Manderly Place, Anita Avenue, Winfield Avenue, South Drive, Carolyn Road, Seminary Drive and Trail Lake Drive.

Make plans to attend the meeting to hear the latest information on the project.

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

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Changes coming for water customers who pay bills late

Fort Worth is changing the delinquency process for water customers who are late paying their city water bill. Effective April 1, customers will no longer have a yellow tag left on their door telling them to pay in 48-hours or have water turned off.

The yellow tag is being replaced with an automated call to the residential customer number on file. The call will occur 37 days after the bill date. Some commercial accounts will also receive the automated call.

All customers are encouraged to ensure their phone numbers and email addresses are up to date with the water utility by logging into their H2Online account or by contacting customer service at 817-392-4477.

Prior to moving forward with the recommendations that were adopted by the City Council in December, the utility staff weighed the impact of cost responsibility and affordability. It is believed the new fee structure helps reduce the types of fees that can cause a financially struggling customer to get further behind in their bill payment.

Eliminating the yellow door tag also eliminates the $20 charge to customers for leaving the yellow tag. Late fees are increasing from 5% to 10%, if the bill is not paid by 24 days after the bill date. Despite the late fee increase, the cost to customers could still be less because of eliminating the yellow tag and its fee.

A mailed notice that water service is about to be shut off still will go out 42 days after the bill date. This will be the final notice that a customer with an unpaid bill receives. The delinquency process timeline still has water service shutoff for nonpayment at 52 days after the initial bill is issued. A red tag is left on the door at the time water service is shut off.

Other fees increasing on April 1 are associated with activation/reactivation of service, theft of water, tampering with meters, customer-requested additional tests or field investigations, and customer-requested meter replacements. The additional meter test or investigation fees are waived if the meter is found to be not functioning properly.

See a detailed list of fee changes.

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Fort Worth to receive Smart 50 Award

Fort Worth will be honored with a Smart 50 Award for re-engineering a process that led to reduced times for approving ordinances, resolutions, zoning cases and larger purchases.

The Mayor and Council communication (M&C) Collaboration Wizard was developed internally in partnership between the City Secretary’s Office and IT Solutions, and reduces time spent locating, tracking and managing M&Cs through the use of automated workflows and improved collaboration.

Smart 50 Awards annually recognize global smart cities projects, honoring the most innovative and influential work. This year, categories included community engagement, digital transformation, smart mobility, urban infrastructure and urban operations.

“Re-engineering the M&C process has made the city more responsive to its residents by reducing the time it takes to approve ordinances, resolutions, zoning cases and large purchases,” City Secretary Mary Kayser said. “The reduction in time spent to process M&Cs also freed up staff to accomplish more value-added tasks for our residents.”

Fort Worth has embarked on a long-term digital transformation project that’s affecting the development of people, process and culture. This aligns with its goal to become the best-managed city in the U.S.

The M&C digital transformation project enabled 500-plus city employees to achieve improved productivity, cost savings and quality improvements while providing a flexible platform to handle new business priorities. Employees now benefit from an expedited and streamlined process with improved accuracy. The average M&C will realize about four hours of saved time from initial entry into the system to being built into a meeting agenda.

The city has averaged 1,036 M&Cs per year for the past five years. This translates into a savings of 4,145 hours per year, or an approximate savings of $103,625 per year.

The changes effectively eliminated two-thirds of the approval touchpoints and decreased approval times from 18.6 days to nine days. The system is accessible from any browser on any platform, allowing approvals to be processed faster.

The Smart 50 Awards will be presented in April in Denver.

This honor follows on the heels of another prestigious Fort Worth recognition from the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC), a global consortium that creates and contributes to process-related standards. The Award for Excellence in Business Transformation was awarded to the City of Fort Worth last August at a ceremony in Boston. In conjunction with this award, the WfMC also recognized Shaun Campbell, M&C Collaboration Wizard creator, who works in IT Solutions. The Outstanding Business Transformation Team Leader Award recognizes Campbell’s innovation and leadership in driving the digital transformation of municipal enterprise, and for championing Mayor Betsy Price’s mission for Fort Worth to be a technology leader.

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GoCarma app provides simpler way to qualify for HOV discount

Drivers who travel on Dallas-Fort Worth TEXpress lanes will soon have a simple, new way to qualify for high-occupancy vehicle toll discounts.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s TEXpress lane system was established to enable users of some of the region’s most highly-traveled roadways to reach their destinations more reliably. On these roadways, drivers can either choose to pay a variable toll for the ability to travel at least 50 mph on the TEXpress Lanes, or they can use the general-purpose lanes for no additional charge.

The Regional Transportation Council established policies that provide a toll discount for HOV vehicles on TEXpress lanes during weekday peak periods (6:30-9 a.m. and 3-6:30 p.m.) and 24/7 on I-635 from I-30 to U.S. 75. The discount is currently implemented through an app-based pre-declaration method, Drive On TEXpress, and enforced by police officers in the field.

Beginning Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m., the GoCarma smartphone app will replace Drive On TEXpress, ensuring road users will no longer need to activate their HOV status before each trip.

GoCarma uses Bluetooth technology to automatically verify travelers in a carpool. As long as at least two people in the vehicle install the GoCarma app or have an occupant pass, they will not need to interact with the app after setup.

Drive On TEXpress users can preregister with the new app. The GoCarma app is available free in the App Store and on Google Play.

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Delve into the future of mobility at Feb. 14 summit

Transportation issues have an immense impact on quality of life, especially in Tarrant County, one of the nation’s fastest-growing corridors. Beyond the time that sitting in traffic takes away from the time we’d rather spend with our families, the issue has deeper implications on economic development, air quality, and health and physical safety.

As the region continues to grow, mobility will be a key concern in the sustainability and enhancement of quality of life. The Tarrant Transportation Summit, hosted by Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes, has grown to become one of the premier transportation events in Texas and provides one of the region’s best venues for ongoing dialogue and proposed solutions to the most pressing transportation problems.

Join fellow North Texans at the summit, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Hurst Conference Center, 1601 Campus Drive in Hurst.

This year’s event will feature these topics:

  • 5G’s role in transforming transportation technology.
  • The future of public-private partnerships in Texas.
  • How transportation technology is revolutionizing transit.
  • AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone: Could the North Texas region be home to the largest transportation technology proving ground?

A keynote address will be presented by Rasheq Zarif, managing director of the Future of Mobility Tech Sector for Deloitte. He will discuss the current transportation transformation and the opportunities the North Texas region can leverage to be the global leader in the space.

Individual seats at the summit are $75, which includes a light breakfast buffet and keynote luncheon.

To learn more, contact Rebecca Barksdale at 817-581-3600.

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Learn how to make your move at Transit 101

Learn how to easily navigate the city and county with Trinity Metro bus and rail services. At Transit 101, attendees will receive an overview of available transit services, learn how to read maps and schedules and hear best practices for maximizing the experience while riding with Trinity Metro.

Some topics include:

  • How do I purchase a ticket?
  • What can I bring on board?
  • What is a transfer center?
  • Why should I ride public transit?
  • What does Trinity Metro have to offer?

The next session of Transit 101 is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Fort Worth Central Station Community Room, 1001 Jones St.

RSVP via email.

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Water utility lines replacement and streets rehabilitation scheduled for Near Southside

Make plans to attend the Near Southside infrastructure improvements project meeting scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3, at Broadway Baptist Church, 305 W. Broadway Ave. room 302, to learn more about the project.

Existing water and sewer lines are scheduled for replacement, and pavement will be rehabilitated on portions of these streets:

  • Ninth Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to Cooper Street.
  • Enderly Place from Myrtle Street to Allen Avenue.
  • Adams Street from Dashwood Street to Rosedale Street.
  • Washington Avenue from Dashwood Street to Rosedale Street.
  • Tucker Street from Main Street to Bryan Avenue.
  • Annie Street from Main Street to Crawford Street.
  • Bryan Avenue from Tucker Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • Oak Grove Street from Rosedale Street to Magnolia Avenue.
  • St. Louis Street from Rosedale Street to Magnolia Avenue.
  • May Street from Rosedale Street to Oleander Street.

To learn more, contact Project Manager Mary Hanna at 817-392-5565.

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Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is set to make history

After years of dreaming of a new home for the Fort Worth Stock Show’s legendary rodeo, a new era will dawn on Jan. 17 when the chutes bust open in Dickies Arena.

“The Stock Show’s new rodeo home will take the sport to a completely new level and be a fan favorite for generations,” said Stock Show President and General Manager Brad Barnes. “The public-private partnership led by Stock Show Chairman Ed Bass, Mayor Betsy Price and many others has given Fort Worth and North Texas a tremendous gift for not just the Stock Show’s rodeo, but for concerts, sporting events and family shows throughout the year.”

Dickies Arena’s impact on the Stock Show is being felt beyond rodeo. Exciting new events moving into the Will Rogers Coliseum and Auditorium are broadening the Stock Show’s offerings and appealing to a more diverse audience.

Spurred by growing popularity, Mustang Magic, with its strong fan following, has been expanded and moved from the Justin Arena to the coliseum while concerts and a high school mariachi competition have been added in the auditorium. Music acts booked for the auditorium include the popular classic rock band Foreigner and a new country a capella group, Home Free. An Escaramuza competition adds a cultural flair while a high school scholarship rodeo and a bucking bull sale maintain the traditional feel in the beloved coliseum.

While there’s plenty of new in store for 2020, traditional Stock Show entertainment options remain popular. Livestock and equestrian competitions are on tap as well as acres of “rodeo shopping” that includes everything from fashion to farm equipment.

Family fun remains popular with the Mattress Firm Petting Zoo, Children’s Barnyard, Carnival Midway, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance’s Planet Agriculture and the always popular Milking Parlor.

The food is always a favorite with everything from corn dogs to cotton candy and cuisine fit for a king at Reata at the Backstage or Reata at the Rodeo.

When guests gaze across the Stock Show grounds and downtown Fort Worth from the Simmons Bank Plaza at Dickies Arena, they’ll be reminded why Fort Worth and the Stock Show & Rodeo are both truly legendary. Visitors there can relax with a glass of wine at the new Corkyard or enjoy a brew and some awesome tunes in the Bud Light Roadhouse before they step into the nation’s premier venue for rodeo, the new Dickies Arena.

Rodeo has been a Fort Worth mainstay for 102 years, but the new FWSSR PRORODEO Tournament is taking the Stock Show’s rodeo to new heights among the most elite in the nation. With a payout exceeding $1 million and an easy-to-follow bracket-style tournament, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo starts an exciting new era in Dickies Arena.

The show runs Jan. 17-Feb. 8. Learn more or purchase tickets visit the Stock Show & Rodeo website.

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Arlington Heights High prepares for centennial celebration

A celebration 100 years in the making is coming to Arlington Heights High School. The “School on the Hill” is gearing up to commemorate its first century as a Fort Worth institution later this year.

“We have some amazing alumni from John Denver to Mayor Betsy Price to Bill Paxton,” Arlington Heights Principal Sarah Weeks said. “When we look at history and some of the schools that stand out in Fort Worth, Arlington Heights is one of those schools.”

Weeks, in her seventh year as principal and 26th in Fort Worth ISD, is working with an Arlington Heights parent to gather ideas and support for the 100th-year festivities. She’s envisioning a weekend of fun, with alumni being invited back to an open house on campus. Input on the celebration will come from all corners of Fort Worth and beyond.

Arlington Heights, with an enrollment of about 1,900, opened in 1920. The current location houses more than 70 classrooms, a library, band hall, auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria, workrooms and administrative offices. The red brick building also houses a state-of-the-art dance studio for its renowned dance program.

As much as the campus has physically changed over the years — Weeks noted the construction that has reshaped Arlington Heights and is still ongoing — one constant has been the students. There’s a proud tradition of Yellow Jackets making a difference locally and beyond Fort Worth’s borders.

Among the many politicians, actors, musicians, service members and athletes to grace the halls off West Freeway are Pete Geren, Tom Schieffer, author John Graves, football players Mike Renfro and Turner Gil, and wrestler Dusty Rhodes.

“I always say you can throw a rock here in Fort Worth and hit an Arlington Heights alum,” Weeks said. “It’s just been here forever. Many of our alums have gone on to do great things.”

Weeks hopes to make an announcement on Arlington Heights’ centennial celebration along with FWISD officials in the near future.

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