Promoting East Fort Worth since 1974
Finally we had blessed rain! A break from the heat didn’t hurt any either. I don’t know if it was just because we had not had a meeting in July and everyone was ready to get back to issues, or what, but we had a full house for the August meeting.
I hope the involvement holds for our monthly meetings. It’s good to network and get reacquainted with all that East Fort Worth has to offer. Our thanks to Paul for having really good food for us.
Deputy Chief Shedd brought guests with him to represent the new bike unit and he also had invited two of the “Back the Blue” representatives. Glen Hahn is the President of that group and had a brief presentation. The meat of the program came from Deputy Chief Shedd. He is now the overseer of East and South Divisions. He impressed on us that even though he is not our Commander anymore he is still a part of our police presence.
The East Division covers 50 square miles. Coupled with the South Division there are more calls for service in these two areas than in North Division combined with Central Division. The startling statistic he dropped was that even though we have more calls for service we have fewer officers. The bike unit is mostly centered on Southeast Fort Worth at this time, but we hope to see that patrol on East Lancaster and points north in the future. Shedd’s office is in a storefront on Hemphill and Magnolia, not too far from where he lives.
We are very proud of Deputy Chief Shedd on his upward move and appreciate all he has done for our community.
He has been very involved in efforts to make our commercial areas safe and clean and has been instrumental in efforts to get enough signers for the Public Improvement District petition. This effort has gone very well.
FWPD Commander Michael Shedd
Michael Shedd has provided the Fort Worth Police Department 22 years of service. He has worked in East Division for over 2 years now. He earned his BA in Chemistry and Russian, and continued to earn a Masters in Criminal Justice. Shedd is a graduate of both the Southern Police Institute and the FBI-National Academy.
Shedd has worked in patrol, criminal investigations, the Crimes Against Children Unit, Information Management, SWAT, the Training Academy and as a patrol division Commander.
His Top Priorities as a Commander: "Continue to spread the message that the East Division is flourishing and open for business. We need to continue to find creative ways to reduce the impact of the homeless population in the East Division and help the businesses along E. Lancaster and in our branching neighborhoods to flourish."
Michael A. Shedd, Commander
Fort Worth Police Department
Jocelyn Murphy is the Planning Manager for the Zoning and Land Use section in the Planning and Development Department of the City of Fort Worth. The Zoning Section includes working with customers on zoning changes and staffing the Zoning Commission, zoning plan review as part of the building permit process, and Urban Forestry for the retention and planting of trees. The section is also responsible for the update of the future land use map in the Comprehensive Plan.
Jocelyn is the city’s primary representative for implementation of the NAS Fort Worth JRB Joint Land Use study with the goal of encouraging land use decisions that are compatible with the base.
With the assistance of the Blue Zones staff and with the Tarrant County Food Policy Council Working Group on Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture serving as the steering committee and input from Metro Beekeepers, she secured approval of the Urban Agriculture ordinance in August 2016.
Jocelyn has worked in planning and development for almost 25 years at the municipal and regional levels of government as well as with a private firm that specialized in serving smaller local governments.
She received a Bachelor’s from Texas A&M in Geography and a Master’s in Applied Geography – Land Development and Management, from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and has her certification with the Congress of the New Urbanism.
She said “As for Urban Ag, our primary purpose was to ensure that the city was not a barrier to using vacant land, enabling the growing of healthy foods, and maybe creating jobs and job skills in the process. We also amended the mobile vendor ordinance to allow mobile vendor trucks that sell produce only to operate in residential districts, bringing the food to the residents who may not have access otherwise.
Just a few urban farms have begun and it’s unknown how many produce food trucks are operating, but hopefully a non profit will start the momentum and people will learn how to make the farms and vending successful.”
Our June meeting was more of a workshop with just a small number of our members there. Jocelyn Murphy, planning and development Manager for the city, explained the new proposed zoning category. This will be a temporary specific use for managing problem properties with uses not zoned for and not compatible with surrounding uses.
She strongly stated that the concrete crushing operation on East 1st Street was not the impetus for the new category, but this is what East Fort Worth faces and therefore we can only compare the issues there to what would be allowed if the new ordinance passes in Zoning and then Council.
You recall that there was so much opposition to the operation on East 1st Street that Wallace Hall dropped the zoning application a couple of years ago.
Hall since has gone to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) which granted him their OK to move forward. Representatives from that state agency met with East Fort Worth citizens before and readily admitted they do no policing of these sites.
If the zoning ordinance passes and Hall moves forward with his plans to build a crushing operation there, the plan stated by former City Councilman Danny Scarth, would be for Hall to take the rubble which he has accumulated, crush it on site, and haul it off in trucks.
This could be done in a limited period of time as allowed by the ordinance.
When asked the question about time the answer was that if they couldn’t reach the completion date they could ask for an extension.
Lots of questions arose immediately.
Who polices the site for rules infractions?
How many times could they ask for extensions?
What punishment for breaking the rules?
We were told there would be fines, but we all know how that works.
How many thousands of dollars was D. R. Horton supposed to pay and how much did Fort Worth collect?
These are just a few of the questions. You probably have many more. The Zoning Commission will have a presentation on the ordinance at their meeting in July, then it goes to City Council. There needs to be a lot of citizen input on this as it is vitally important that we all be good stewards of our environment. This includes the businesses we welcome into our community.
Fort Worth’s new City Librarian, Manya Shorr, was the March speaker. The room was full of members and visitors who were interested in hearing what her thoughts were on our library system as a newcomer, seeing with new eyes. One of the observations we found interesting was that she was surprised at the small number of libraries compared to the size of our population. She suggested smaller but more libraries located in neighborhoods. As an aside, that is what we’ve been advocating for decades!
Our major interest, of course, was where are they in the progress of building the new library on East Lancaster. It is the tail end of the five year bond program we voted on in 2014. The land was purchased from Meadowbrook United Methodist Church. (It is the vacant lot fronting East Lancaster, and is located between Oakland Boulevard and Ayers Avenue, in the heart of the Oakland Corners Urban Village.
We have more money than was originally planned for the building. It went from three million plus to five million plus. The art money is considerably more than we usually have for public art pieces, with close to three hundred fifty thousand for art which is slated to be inside and outside of the building. To compare, the budget for the installation on the Stripling and Cox building tower was in the fifty thousand dollar range. An architect has been chosen for the building design, KAI in Dallas. They have had one meeting with the community for design ideas.
The next public meeting is on Monday April 2, 6:30pm at the Ella Mae Shamblee Branch Library on 1062 Evans Ave. and we need as many members as possible to attend and support this meeting.
An artist has also been chosen. Elena Manfridini is an internationally known artist and Architect with works installed in a number of countries. She met with a community committee and impressed all of us with her passion and vision. She only takes one commission at a time so she can concentrate on that one project. Elena had met with the KAI group and their representative on the committee said they felt confident that she would work well with them.
Our goal is to have the art in place when we dedicate the building.
It has been some time since we had an update on real estate in East Fort Worth. Our Program Chairman, Don Boren, has asked Will Northern, President of the Northern Group based on Magnolia, to present findings of inventory, sales, prices, and demographics for our April meeting. Northern is Vice Chairman of the City Zoning Commission and one of the Forty under Forty group recognized as young leaders from a couple of years back. It should be interesting to hear what he has to report on the state of real estate in East Fort Worth.
Our community is being asked to approve a permit by Wallace Hall to be allowed to crush the rubble he piled illegally on the property he owns next to the river on East 1st Street. According to the letter received from former Councilman Danny Scarth, who has been employed by Hall, the crushing would take from two to three years.
The rubble was trucked-in in chunks and the question is would the trucks weigh more filled with crushed rubble or concrete in chunks? The concern here is that the new Randol Mill/East 1st Street bridge is being forced to bear the load. If the crushed material is to be moved off site, it will go in trucks one way or another. Is it fair to ask the communities adjoining the site to bear the crushing operation for two to three years as well as all the trucks, or would it be best to take the stuff to a permitted facility in chunks the same way it came in?
This is just one of the questions which faces East Fort Worth citizens who rose up as one body to fight the crushing operation when Hall asked for it before.
Our May program will be an update from the Parks & Community Services Department.
In June, East Division Commander Captain Shedd will fill us in on issues our side of town faces and what measures he has implemented to deal with these.
See you on April 5th.
View the April presentation book put together by Will Northern and his staff for our meeting.
Will is the Zoning Commissioner for District 1, a position to which he was appointed by Mayor Betsy Price.
Will is the owner and broker of Northern Realty Group. He has over ten years of experience as a REALTOR®. He holds a B.B.A. from TCU’s Neely School of Business.
He is involved with a number of organizations and causes around the city, including (but not all): the Development Committee for FW South, Inc.; the Urban Development Task Force for Steer FW; the FW Chamber of Commerce’s Vision FW group; Historic FW, Inc.; The Real Estate Council of Greater FW; and the Mistletoe Heights Neighborhood Association.
Additionally, he volunteers through the Music is Medicine Foundation at Cook Children’s Hospital. Will’s passion is playing the drums.
He enjoys traveling, as well as camping in state and national parks. He likes Mexican food, especially Fort Worth favorites like El Asadero and Benito’s. He lives in Fort Worth with his wife, Elizabeth.
Fort Worth Library Director
On September 5, 2017, Manya Shorr began her position as the Fort Worth Library Director. Before becoming a part of the City of Fort Worth team, she was the Director of Public Services at the Washington, D.C. Public Library. There she managed all aspects of public service delivery and was responsible for the experience offered in 25 branches and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
She has extensive library experience, holding positions at Multnomah County Library, Omaha Public Library and Sacramento Public Library. Shorr holds a Masters of (Library) Science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Oregon.
Shorr is excited to be a citizen of Fort Worth and a resident of the Ryan Place neighborhood. Besides her love of reading, Manya enjoys spending time with her husband, their 2 dogs, 3 cats and practicing yoga.
The February meeting was very interesting. We had a lot of visitors who wanted to hear from Brandon Bennett, who is the head of the Code Compliance Department. I’m not sure that’s the name of this department any longer as we learned it encompasses much more than Code violations. Animal Control has been added as well as several other regulatory areas. The best news was the success the Animal Control Division has had in adoption rates. Very few of the animals the city picks up have to be euthanized. Education and partnership with corporations has brought the adoption rate into the 90 plus percentile. Good news indeed!
Bennett is an engaging speaker and very forthright in answers to questions. He is a native Texan and is popular with Fort Worth citizens. His areas of responsibility are broad and even though we sometimes hear that the Code Officers are lax in their jobs, they actually cover a great deal of territory and some of the things they are held responsible for are a police matter.
Code Compliance and Fort Worth Police officers work hand in hand to keep our city clean and safe.
Plans for the East Lancaster Library are moving forward. The site has been bought, the architect has been selected, and artists are to be interviewed for the public art portion.
Our Librarian, Manya Shorr, will be the speaker for the March 1st meeting to bring us up to date on where we are with the library. The first public meeting with the architect design team was held on February 5th. An estimated 40 citizens were there to give comment. We were shown very preliminary site plans by the team from KAI, a Dallas firm. The team is enthusiastic and proud to have been chosen for the project. A lot of questions and comments were made and noted.
Your board is considering a five year plan for East Fort Worth Business Association and we’d like to hear from you. Where do you think our focus needs to be? What goals for economic development and retention of existing businesses need to be implemented? We need to hear from you.
I’ll see you on March 1st. Same time, same place. As always we love your door prize offerings.
We had a good crowd for the January meeting. The Mayor was her charming self and had an interesting update for us. She dealt with the “good, the bad, and the ugly”, which they got from the consultants working on the Economic Development report, some of which the city governors would have rather not heard.
Most disturbing is the fact that lots of people who live in Fort Worth go out of the city to work every day. This tells us that more needs to be done to market Fort Worth as more than a tourist destination. Molly does not bring high paying jobs and depends on a transient population which comes and goes. Maybe Molly needs to sprout wings in deference to our wonderful aviation industry. The Mayor recognized that we are not known in the world as anything other than a neighbor of Dallas. Price did not dwell on the parts of the study dealing with East Lancaster, but thanks to your President’s insistence that we be included as one of the five areas of interest, we are a part of that emphasis.
Another topic discussed was the spotlight on reading for our children. We reminded her that the idea and execution of buying books for the school libraries came from East Fort Worth Business Association. We were the first to spend volunteer dollars on nine elementary school libraries which feed into Eastern Hills High School. Price apologized for her oversight in mentioning this.
Our memberships are up and we have a few dollars in our treasury for other needed projects to make East Fort Worth better.
We’re helping Haydn Cutler to gather signatures for an East Lancaster Avenue PID. If you are friends with any of the property owners along the corridor and would like to contact them about joining the Public Improvement District with a slight rise in tax dollars let me know. I have the list and can tell you who has signed so far and what we still need.
We have Brandon Bennett, who is the department head responsible for Code Enforcement, as our speaker this month. I’m sure everyone has complaints or questions for Brandon and we expect a good sized crowd.
In March we have the new librarian, Manya Schorr who will have updates on our East Lancaster library. For April we’re hoping to have an overview of real estate in East Fort Worth.
Brandon Scott Bennett,
Code Compliance Director
Brandon Graduated from University of Texas at Arlington with a Masters of Public Administration. He has worked for the City of Fort Worth since 2004.
The Code Compliance Department is made up of four broad area commands that include:
Code Enforcement including property maintenance, substandard buildings and residential zoning enforcement
Solid Waste including residential collections, drop off stations, household hazardous waste, illegal dumping & litter abatement and illegal dumping enforcement
Animal Care and Control
Environment and Health including restaurant/food health, commercial zoning enforcement, vectors/mosquitos and air, water and land pollution.
Mayor Betsy Price
Betsy Price, a Fort Worth native, was elected in 2011 as the 44th mayor of the City of Fort Worth. In 2017, Price was re-elected for her fourth two-year term.
Along with her focus on promoting jobs, strengthening education, fighting crime and improving mobility, Price has made significant strides along the path toward her vision of a healthy, engaged and fiscally responsible city.
Instead of sitting in cars, on the couch or in the office, Price believes in a community that naturally promotes physical activity throughout the day.
Under her leadership, Fort Worth has become a foremost cycling community, adding miles of new bike lanes and trails. Promoting pedestrian-friendly urban villages has also remained a staple of Price’s vision for rebuilding the city’s urban core. Moreover, she continues to push her long-term goal of linking neighborhoods and job centers with a comprehensive and convenient commuter rail system.
Price found several ways to promote grassroots government. Most notably, her Walking and Rolling Town Halls have broken the mold of that tired town hall meeting with a casual—and healthy—way for citizens to connect with city leaders. Price also understands the power of the Internet to bring communities together to seize opportunities and address challenges. In 2013, Price led the charge to launch YourFortWorth.org, the city’s first 24/7 online public forum allowing citizens to share and vote on new ideas to improve their city.
December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, was special for East Fort Worth Business Association. Forty plus members and guests gathered for our regular meeting at Smokey’s to hear from our guest speaker relate his experiences from another “day of infamy” in U. S. history.
Former Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, was in the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 when it was struck by a terrorist plane. He was working for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield at the time and was in his office for a routine working day. His office was on the other end of the huge complex, but when the plane hit, the impact was feltthroughout the Pentagon. In the confusion that followed, Geren told us that when everyone was taking stock of who was where, they found Secretary Rumsfield at the impact scene helping load the wounded onto stretchers. When Rumsfield was asked if he had called his wife, his answer was “no” and when pressed to do so, Rumsfield told the questioners to call her themselves. Geren’s stories of 9/11/01 were sobering and a reminder that we don’t live in the same world we lived in before that date.
He complimented our organization on the work we have done to encourage students and for buying the books for the school libraries.
Bill Schwennsen made the announcements, and the good news is that one of our Outstanding Students had received a four year scholarship to Rice University, and that she would use our financial aid to outfit her dorm room.
There has been some positive movement on the effort to get a PID (Public Improvement District) for East Lancaster. There is still a long way to go, but some signatures have been collected from property owners who will tax themselves extra for improvements along the corridor.