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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State updates fish consumption advisory for Lake Worth, portions of Trinity River

The Texas Department of State Health Services updated a fish consumption advisory for Lake Worth due to unsafe levels of pollutants, including dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in certain species of fish. The state is recommending people limit or avoid consumption of various species of fish.

Fish and shellfish can accumulate contaminants from the waters in which they live. The state monitors fish for the presence of environmental contaminants and alerts the public through bans and advisories when a threat to human health may occur from the consumption of contaminated fish.

Concentrations of the pollutants in blue catfish, common carp, flathead catfish, freshwater drum, smallmouth buffalo, striped bass and white bass exceed state health guidelines and pose a risk to people who consume them.

Specific recommendations include:

  • Don’t consume smallmouth buffalo from these waters.
  • For flathead catfish, adults are advised to limit consumption to one 8-ounce meal per month. Women of childbearing age and children under 12 should not consume flathead catfish.
  • For blue catfish, striped bass, white bass and common carp, adults should limit consumption to two 8-ounce meals per month. Women of childbearing age and children under 12 should limit consumption to one 4-ounce meal per month.
  • For freshwater drum, adults are advised to limit consumption to three 8-ounce meals per month. Children and women of childbearing age should not eat more than one 4-ounce meal per month.

This is an update to the 2010 advisory. Elevated levels of dioxins and PCBs in fish do not pose a health risk for people participating in recreational activities such as swimming or boating.

Learn more at the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

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Citywide town hall to discuss race and equity in Fort Worth

As part of a yearlong effort to study racial equity and bias in Fort Worth, a city-appointed task force will be listening to a diverse group of residents talk about issues related to race and culture in Fort Worth.

A citywide town hall is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 8 at the Tarrant County College South Campus, Student Center Dining Hall, 5301 Campus Drive.

Attendees are encouraged to make presentations (two minutes per speaker) on these questions:

  • To what extent do Fort Worth residents experience disparities — in criminal justice, economic development, education, health, housing and transportation — that are attributable to race and culture?
  • Can you provide us with a specific example of these disparities?
  • Why do our residents experience these disparities?
  • What should our community do to reduce or eliminate these disparities?

Residents may also submit comments via email.

About the task force

In 2017, the City Council appointed a 23-member task force to advise on issues related to race and culture in Fort Worth.

Co-chairs are Rosa Navejar (presiding co-chair), Lillie Biggins, Rabbi Andrew Bloom and Bob Ray Sanders. Task force members include Charles Boswell, Walter Dansby, Robert Fernandez, Miriam Frias, Robert Goldberg, Yolanda Harper, Bishop Mark Kirkland, Nima Malek, Rattana Mao, Arturo Martinez, Roxanne Martinez, Judy McDonald, Terry Mossige, Cory Session, Katie Sherrod, Ty Stimpson, Jennifer Trevino, Monica Vasquez and the Rev. Tim Woody.

The task force was asked to engage Fort Worth residents in a series of healthy conversations about race and culture, draw conclusions from these conversations and make recommendations to the City Council. The task force will also review findings of a study on disparities in how municipal services are provided, then advise councilmembers on a strategy to promote racial and cultural equity.

The task force will also advise City Manager David Cooke on an appropriate leadership training dealing with race and cultural issues.

For regular updates on the task force’s work, follow on social media:

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New name, record tourism, destination master plan announced by Visit Fort Worth

The Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau (FWCVB) announced new economic impact numbers for tourism, released a 10-year Destination Master Plan, debuted the “Fort Worth Stories” marketing video series and officially announced its new name, Visit Fort Worth, at its fifth annual meeting.

Visitors are coming to Fort Worth for more reasons than ever before — for conventions and meetings, for sports, music, film, family fun, amazing art and architecture, for weekends and of course for the city’s unique brand of western heritage. To reflect this growth, the FWCVB changed its name to Visit Fort Worth.

The name change keeps in line with the growing number of tourism offices that have moved away from longer names. The legal name will remain the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, but customers will know the organization as Visit Fort Worth.

New research shows record growth in visitation, spending and jobs directly related to the Fort Worth tourism and hospitality industry:

  • 9.1 million visitors.
  • $2.4 billion in economic impact.
  • 23,000-plus jobs supported by tourism.
  • $116 million in local tax revenue.
  • $598 tax savings per household saved per year in taxes generated by tourism.

The new 10-year plan is a blueprint for ensuring Fort Worth is a must-visit city. The goal of the plan is to increase economic impact for tourism, create more jobs and raise the city’s profile to make Fort Worth even more competitive. The plan calls for action in five key areas:

  • Enhance visitor experiences.
  • Strengthen messaging about Fort Worth.
  • Grow visitor facility needs, a headquarter hotel and the Fort Worth Convention Center.
  • Support transportation to increase connectivity.
  • Collaboration with the City of Fort Worth, chambers of commerce and other strategic partners.

The Fort Worth Story

The meeting’s theme, “The Fort Worth Story,” paid homage to the rich history of the city and its future. Attendees were encouraged to take selfies in scenes representing districts across the city as they entered.

A video series commissioned by Visit Fort Worth, called “Fort Worth Stories,” featuring locals from various industries and organizations debuted at the meeting. The series highlights some of the unique individuals who make Fort Worth a diverse, creative and unique community to visit, work and live.

The videos will be used in Visit Fort Worth advertising, presentations and promotional efforts in domestic and international markets. View the full series.

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Fort Worth transit agency rolls out new look, new name

If you’re used to thinking of local public transportation as “The T,” think again. The T has a new name and a new look. Now known as Trinity Metro, the agency will be rolling out its new look this spring in advertising, social media and community outreach.

“Locals have known us for 33 years as ‘The T,’ but that name doesn’t fully encompass what we do,” said Trinity Metro CEO/President Paul Ballard. “Our new name and look will provide a fresh, modern approach to represent all of our services, which include the Trinity Railway Express, buses, Molly the Trolley, TEXRail and MITS paratransit. The name also reflects our current and future expansion into other nearby cities.”

The transition comes as Trinity Metro continues to implement its Transit Master Plan, which specifically calls for improved branding.

Scott Mahaffey, Trinity Metro board chair, said the long-anticipated name and logo are coming at the right time.

“Our board and the senior leadership have been working closely together to make major improvements over the last few years,” Mahaffey said. “The timing for this initiative is ideal. We are happy to see it rolled out the same year that we are completing TEXRail.”

Extensive research went into the rebranding and design process — focus groups, surveys and in-person interviews with current riders and non-riders. The rebranding effort was led by J.O. Design, the marketing and design firm for Trinity Metro.

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AllianceTexas continues to be an economic boon for far north Fort Worth

AllianceTexas is estimated to have a $4.73 billion economic impact for 2017, Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Properties, told the City Council.

The 2017 figure brings the total for the 28-year-old development in far north Fort Worth to $69.08 billion. Insight Research Corp. of Dallas compiled a report that totaled investments and the value of jobs at the development.

Berry said more than 1,300 new jobs were added at Alliance in 2017. Over the life of the project, Alliance has created nearly 48,800 jobs.

“We expect growth to become even more robust with the progression of projects such as the new UPS parcel sorting facility, the T5@Alliance Data Center, the Charles Schwab campus and the new Mercedes-Benz Financial Services building, combined with the completion of the airport runway project, increased programming at Alliance Town Center and movement on our mixed-use project at Circle T Ranch,” Berry said.

Hillwood Properties, developer of Alliance, pays property taxes to Fort Worth, Roanoke, Haslet, Westlake, Tarrant County and Denton County, in addition to the Keller and Northwest school districts. Alliance paid $29.1 million in taxes to Fort Worth in 2016. To date, Hillwood has paid $1.9 billion in property taxes. This includes the $173.6 million in property taxes paid to local public entities in 2017.

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Fort Worth Botanic Garden, BRIT form new collaboration

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden have joined forces, combining their education and volunteer efforts to launch a new, innovative partnership called GROW. Both organizations will introduce the GROW collaborative to the public during Growing in the Garden Day, a free event at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden campus from 1-4 p.m. March 3.

During the come-and-go event, families will have the opportunity to experience programs the new collaborative will offer and to enjoy activities for all ages, such as art in the garden, a scavenger hunt, story time with nature and composting activities.

“Our GROW team is eager to reveal the spring education and volunteer opportunities designed for the kind of high-quality active learning distinctive to BRIT and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden,” said Pat Harrison, BRIT senior vice president and director of education. “Here you can experience nature and science in a uniquely natural, but nearby location in the heart of the city.”

In addition to the current workshops, classes and programs already in place through BRIT and Fort Worth Botanic Garden, GROW will offer new opportunities to students and families, including Family Exploration Saturdays, Spring Break Family Camps, Come & Grow Field Study Trips for schools and botanical art for children and adults.

“We have this wonderful space where children and adults can experience nature,” said Botanic Garden director Bob Byers. “We’re leveraging the strengths of both institutions to better serve the residents of Fort Worth.”

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Volunteer and help keep Fort Worth safe

The Fort Worth Police Department is looking for a few good volunteers to join the nationally-acclaimed Citizens on Patrol program.

As part of the larger Code Blue, the Fort Worth Citizens on Patrol (COP) program was started in 1991 as a reaction to the high crime levels in Fort Worth communities. Members help to deter crime by patrolling in their cars, on bicycles and on foot patrol. Since the creation of the program, it has been shown that the volunteers of Citizens on Patrol have helped to lower crime by as much as 40 percent.

Upcoming COP training dates:

Feb. 10, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
March 15, 6-10 p.m.
April 14, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
May 12, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
June 9, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Interested residents can apply online.

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Facebook’s Fort Worth data center awards inaugural grants

Two city-affiliated programs were among 16 recipients of the inaugural Facebook Fort Worth Community Action Grants program. Grants totaled $202,870.

“In the last few years, Fort Worth has welcomed Facebook with open arms, and today we are happy to give back to our community with the announcement of our first-ever Fort Worth Community Action Grants,” said Ed Ames, Facebook site manager. “There are many innovative nonprofit organizations doing amazing work in our community, investing in STEM education, connecting people online and off, and putting the power of technology in people’s hands. We’re excited to be able to assist some of them with our grant program.”

More than 50 organizations applied for grants. Among the winners:

Fort Worth Public Library Foundation ($5,500). The goal of the grant is to expand the library’s STEM programming with the popular Panther Lab Mobile Cat Makerspace to four additional library locations. Each Mobile Cat will house a 3D printer and use state-of-the-art software to produce high-quality 3D objects.

Read Fort Worth ($33,000). This citywide initiative promotes early literacy with the goal of attaining 100 percent literacy for all third-graders. The grant will be used to purchase books for one low performing school in the Fort Worth Independent School District. The FWISD developed a list of high-interest and culturally-relevant classroom books sorted by grade and reading level for the project. Read Fort Worth is also developing a metrics dashboard to gauge progress on the initiative.

Facebook broke ground on the data center project on State Highway 170 in Fort Worth’s AllianceTexas development in 2015. The social media giant is currently building a $267 million addition to the more than 100-acre data center project.

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Saturday closures set for I-35W in north Fort Worth

All southbound lanes of I-35W will be closed just south of North I-820 from 4 a.m.-9 p.m. Feb 3. Traffic will be redirected to the frontage road.

In addition, all lanes of eastbound and westbound Meacham Boulevard at I-35 will be closed. Eastbound traffic will be redirected to Northeast 28th Street and westbound traffic will be redirected to Western Center Boulevard.

Drivers should seek alternate routes and expect delays in the area. Visit the North Tarrant Express website for current and upcoming lane closures on I-35W.

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