New Dream Park helps make Fort Worth a better, more inclusive community for future generations

On Monday, April 15, the long-held dream of three passionate community members will finally be realized with the ribbon-cutting celebration for Frank Kent’s Dream Park, a play space custom-designed for children of all abilities to explore, learn and play.

Located in the heart of Fort Worth’s Trinity Park, this 57,000 square-foot playground is set to become the city’s largest, as well as one of the largest play spaces of its kind in the state. Its size is only surpassed by its ambitious, inclusive vision: a place where kids of all abilities can share adventures together.

The state-of-the-art park far exceeds guidelines established by the Americans With Disabilities Act: its amenities include poured-in-place rubber surfacing for wheelchairs and individuals with limited mobility, adaptive swings for toddlers and children with low muscle tone, a stainless-steel roller slide that won’t short-out kids’ hearing devices, and much more. In addition, there are interactive and musical elements scattered throughout the playground to provide a truly sensory-rich environment that sparks curiosity and imagination.

This park couldn’t have arrived at a better time for the 15th largest city in the country. According to the Texas Workforce Investment Council, 203,041 individuals in Tarrant County have a disability. Approximately 29,000 students in Tarrant County are in need of special education services, according to Growing Up in North Texas’ community assessment.

A dream becomes a reality

The development of the park has involved an ongoing collaboration between dedicated community members Rachael Churchill, Sandy Mesch and Corrie Watson, and the City of Fort Worth. Almost $3 million was raised for the park’s creation through grassroots fundraising efforts, bolstered through generous contributions from the title sponsor Frank Kent and many other community organizations.

“Dream Park represents what Fort Worth strives to be: a generous, inclusive and active community where every child can thrive,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “Opening Dream Park in the heart of our city represents our vision for a better Fort Worth that all families can be proud of for generations to come.”

“Fort Worth’s park system has existed for over a century, and we are thrilled to add to that legacy through the creation of this Dream Park,” added Richard Zavala, director of Fort Worth’s Park & Recreation Department.

“This project is a testament to what can be accomplished through cooperation and the pursuit of a shared dream. Moreover, it perpetuates the legacy of community giving in support of Trinity Park, which has benefitted from the generous contributions of many organizations throughout its history. I am certain that the project sponsors’ deep compassion, generosity, and determination to build a more inclusive Fort Worth will echo in the happy smiles of the children – and their caregivers – who visit this park for many years.”

The Dream Park’s playground equipment was provided by Landscape Structures, an industry leader in creating inclusive play environments, and Dean Construction. The playground itself was designed by Arlington-based Schrickel, Rollins & Associates.

Frank Kent’s Dream Park joins Patricia La Blanc Park in southwest Fort Worth as the city’s second inclusive playground.

Dedication information and Mayfest schedule

The public is invited to the ribbon-cutting celebration of Frank Kent’s Dream Park at noon Monday, April 15. Kona Ice will be on-site from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. giving away free shaved ice.

The playground will remain open through Easter weekend, April 21, before temporarily closing on Monday, April 22, to accommodate preparations for the 47th annual Mayfest festival. The playground will be open to all Mayfest attendees during the festival, and will reopen to the public on May 9.

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Discover Japanese culture at Spring Festival

Mark your calendar for the Spring Festival in the Japanese Garden, April 13-14.

Participate in the tea ceremony, peruse the bonsai and ikebana exhibits, admire the works of watercolor artists, and shop vendors selling jewelry, artwork and gifts.

Enjoy culinary delights in the food court and shop in the gift store that features Japanese tea sets, sake sets, toys and books.

Admission is $12 for adults, $4 for children ages 3-15, and free for children 2 and under.

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is at 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.

Tickets are available at the gate or for purchase online.

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Sewer lines to be replaced in Worth Heights and South Wayside areas

Come hear about the plans to replace sewer lines in the Worth Heights and South Wayside areas. The cty will meet with residents at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, at Victory Forest Community Center, 3427 Hemphill St.

The affected area includes:

  • La Brisas Street from 80 feet east of Las Brisas Street/Alamosa Street intersection to 230 feet west.
  • Alley between West Bolt Street and Malta Avenue from Travis Avenue to 300 feet east.
  • Alley between West Malta Avenue and Flint Street from Travis Avenue to 300 feet east.
  • Alley between West Anthony Street and West Seminary Drive from College Avenue to 650 feet east.
  • Alley between St. Louis Avenue and South Main Street from Berry Street to Devitt Street.
  • Alley between South Main Street and Bryan Avenue from East Bewick Street to 352 feet south.
  • Alley between Bryan Avenue and Stuart Drive from East Bewick Street to 377 feet south.
  • Easement between Bolt Street and Malta Avenue from 200 feet east of Hemphill Street to 230 feet east.
  • Easement from Pleasant Street – between Thornhill Drive and East Hammond Street – to just west of Timothy Road.
  • Easement between Malta Avenue and Flint Street from 200 feet east of Hemphill Street to 560 feet east, then 460 feet south.
  • Alley between Hemphill Street and Union Pacific Railroad from 200 feet east and 200 feet north of the Hemphill Street/Fogg Street intersection to 1,460 feet south.
  • Easement from 200 feet of I-35/Malta Avenue to 470 feet north.
  • Easement between Belmeade Drive and Fry Street from 200 feet north of East Prince Street to East Mason Street.
  • Easement from 400 feet east of Fogg Avenue/McClure Street to 700 feet north.
  • Easement from 1,050 feet east of McClure Street/Meriweather Avenue to 250 feet north then 350 feet east.
  • Easement from 1,120 feet east of Oak Grove Road/Brown Drive to 200 feet north then 170 feet west.
  • Easement from 1,200 feet southwest of Seminary Drive/Carter Park Drive to 900 southwesterly, then 1,750 feet southerly, then 550 feet southwesterly.
  • Easement from East Felix Street South to 300 feet north.

Make plans to attend the meeting to hear the schedule and find out about impacts to residents.

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

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Sundance Square’s annual movie nights return to the plaza

Sundance Square Movie Night returns this summer featuring seven movies celebrating current releases with entertaining animation, drama, fantasy and comedy.

Returning for the 12th year, Sundance Square kicks off the free movie series on Thursday evenings in the plaza June 6 and continuing through July 25. All shows will begin at about 8:30 p.m. in Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

Sundance Square’s digital screen offers guests dynamic sight and sound for the best outdoors movie experience.

Here’s the schedule:
June 6, Secret Life of Pets (2016); rated PG.
June 13, Black Panther (2018); rated PG-13.
June 20, Mary Poppins Returns (2018); rated PG.
June 27, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018); rated PG.
July 11, Crazy Rich Asians (2018); rated PG-13.
July 18, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018); rated PG.
July 25, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018); rated PG-13.

Moviegoers are invited to bring blankets or chairs for seating in the plaza. Beverages will be available for purchase in the plaza during the movies and restaurants will be open throughout the evening. Coolers and outside food or drink are not permitted, and Sundance Square Plaza is smoke-free. Parking is always free weekdays after 5 p.m. in Sundance Square’s parking garages.

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IH-30 at Chapel Creek Boulevard closed overnight April 10-11

Eastbound and westbound Interstate Highway 30 at Chapel Creek Boulevard will be closed from 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, until 6 a.m. Thursday, April 11 to install new overhead signs across the highway.

Interstate traffic will be detoured to the frontage roads. Police officers will assist with traffic control during the closures.

To access eastbound and westbound I-30, motorists should use White Settlement Road and Loop 820 to the north and Spur 580 (Camp Bowie West Boulevard) to the south.

Motorists should seek alternate routes, observe detour signage and follow instructions from police officers directing traffic.

To learn more, contact Project Manager Mike Weiss at 817-392-8485.

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New eastside library design taking shape

The City of Fort Worth is hosting a community meeting to unveil the final design of the new eastside family library. Make plans to attend the meeting to see the design, hear an update from Fort Worth Public Art representatives and the city’s Park and Recreation Department.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 11, at Meadowbrook United Methodist Church, 3900 Meadowbrook Drive.

The new public library at 3851 E. Lancaster Ave. will feature services, programs, books, movies and music that meet the needs of children, teenagers and their families.

To learn more, contact Marilyn Marvin at 817-392-7708.

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MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival street closures

The MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival, the largest fine arts event in Texas, is returning to downtown Fort Worth for its 34th year April 11-14.

With all the art, music and savory cuisine come a few traffic closures beginning in the days leading up to the festival. Here are the scheduled closures:

Midnight April 8- 6 a.m. April 15

  • Main Street from Second Street to Third Street.
  • Main Street from Fifth Street to Ninth Street.

Midnight April 9-6 a.m. April 15

  • Main Street from Weatherford Street to Second Street.
  • First Street from Houston Street to Commerce Street.
  • Second Street from Houston Street to Throckmorton Street, north loading lane.
  • Fourth Street from Throckmorton Street to Houston Street, south curb and traffic lanes. Two north lanes remain open.
  • Fifth Street from Houston Street to Throckmorton Street. South lanes remain open.

6 p.m. April 9-6 a.m. April 15

  • Third Street between Houston Street and Commerce Street. Haltom’s store access remains open.
  • Fourth Street from Houston to Commerce. Access to garage will be maintained.
  • Commerce Street (west parking/loading lane) from Weatherford Street to Ninth Street.
  • Houston Street (east curb lane and recessed areas) from Weatherford Street to Ninth Street.

Midnight April 10-6 a.m. April 15

  • First Street from Commerce Street to Calhoun Street.
  • Second Street from Houston Street to Commerce Street. Access to Renaissance Worthington Hotel will be maintained from the Houston Street entrance and east-west access will be maintained from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Commerce Street from Second Street to Fourth Street. This closure will be in effect as necessary.

Midnight April 11-6 p.m. April 12

  • Fifth Street from Houston Street to Commerce Street. Two north lanes will be open during peak traffic hours, 6 -9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.

6 p.m. April 12-6 a.m. April 15

  • Main Street from Weatherford Street to Ninth Street.
  • First Street from Commerce Street to Houston Street.
  • Second Street from Commerce Street to Houston Street.
  • Third Street from Commerce Street to Houston Street.
  • Fourth Street from Commerce Street to Houston Street.
  • Fifth Street from Commerce Street to Houston Street.
  • Parking lanes on Weatherford, Commerce, Houston, First, Fourth and Eighth streets as mentioned above.

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Download the Trinity Trails app

Now you can explore the Trinity Trails with the help of an interactive tour guide from the Tarrant Regional Water District.

The Trinity Trails app offers up-to-date information on amenities, events and other happenings along the 70-plus-mile trail network. The app provides information on trailhead locations, a complete trail map, amenity information and more.

Download the app on iTunes or Google Play.

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Work continues on Northside neighborhood improvements

Work continues this spring to make the Northside neighborhood cleaner and safer as part of a $3.05 million program funded by the City Council.

Residents likely have already noticed city crews mowing and clearing brush from foreclosed and vacant properties, removing damaged trees, trash and debris from roadways, and cleaning up litter in the neighborhood.

This is part of a yearlong strategy to increase public safety, improve public infrastructure, expand community engagement, promote economic revitalization and provide supportive services to reduce poverty and increase self-sufficiency.

Upcoming opportunities

A series of workshops and meetings will allow residents in the Northside neighborhood to learn more about how to improve their property and the community:
Park & Recreation-Forestry workshop, April 4, 6:30 p.m. Learn about free trees available through the Neighborhood Tree Planting Program and tree grant programs, hazard abatement, tree permitting process and how to volunteer at the Fort Worth Tree Farm.
Disaster preparedness and fire safety workshop, April 11, 6:30 p.m. Learn about fire safety, common fire hazards and barriers, smoke alarms, home safety plans and effective ways to prepare for a disaster.
Northside area community meeting, April 22, 6:30 p.m. In February, many residents shared valuable feedback during a community meeting. Based on those suggestions from more than 200 residents, city staff is ready to share more information about the types of improvements expected in the area.

All of these meetings and workshops will be held at the Northside Community Center, 1100 N.W. 18th St.

About the program

Funding for the neighborhood improvement program comes from a ½-cent allocation of the municipal property tax rate to provide capital projects, improve public safety and attract private investment in underserved neighborhoods.

In 2017, the city provided $2.56 million to implement capital projects aimed specifically at improving the Stop Six neighborhood. The next year, the Ash Crescent neighborhood in southeast Fort Worth received $2.77 million for improvements.

The targeted Northside area is bounded on the south by Jacksboro Highway, on the west by Roosevelt Avenue, on the east by Ellis Avenue and on the north by Northeast 25th Street. It will be the city’s largest area targeted for revitalization by this program.

Learn more.

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Bike lanes planned along Southwest Boulevard access road

Bicycle lanes are planned along Southwest Boulevard access road from the Trinity River to Vickery Boulevard. The city will meet with residents to discuss the current plan and receive feedback.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, April 18, at the Como Community Center, 4900 Horne St. Make plans to attend and let your voice be heard.

To learn more, contact Project Manager Shweta Rao at 817-392-8022.

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