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Wednesday, November 30, 2022
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Local City Revitalizing Distressed Neighborhood


Comprised of hundreds of bright blue steel and aluminum arrows, new public art is poised to become a bold and whimsical landmark for the re-emerging Las Vegas Trail community. | Image by City of Fort Worth

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The City of Fort Worth is beginning to turn around the Las Vegas Trail (LVT) neighborhood, which consists of a mile-long strip in one of Fort Worth’s most western sections.

The city’s website describes the project: “The neighborhood’s predominate (sic) land use is dense multiple-family housing with minimal amounts of commercial development, jobs, or community services.” The goals of the project are to: increase public safety, improve public infrastructure, expand community engagement, promote economic revitalization, and provide supportive services to reduce poverty and increase self-sufficiency.

“Over the past six years, funds have been allocated to neighborhoods as part of the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Program, whose goals include promoting economic revitalization and providing supportive services to reduce poverty and create paths to self-sufficiency,” the City’s website explains.

The LVT area has many historic relics of an older time when Lockheed-Martin employed most residents, but today is known mainly for its high crime and poverty rate. Along the LVT, it is estimated that the poverty rate is 33%, and one in ten residents is unemployed. “Las Vegas Trail is 1% of the city of Fort Worth, but it’s 4% of the crime,” according to District 3 Councilman Michael Crain.

However, with the City of Fort Worth’s investment of $3.5 million, many are hopeful that the area can be revitalized.

“It’s exciting and I can’t wait,” says resident Elida Rocha. First, the city began to clear debris and add more garbage cans to keep trash off the streets. Police activity has increased, and security cameras have been installed. About 14,000 people live within 32 apartment complexes along the strip, and the city has been working with apartment managers to take steps to reduce crime.

In 2017, Brian Byrd, a city council member, put together the revitalization council for the LVT. Talking with reporters, Byrd said he was motivated to change the area after hearing tragic stories of trafficking and violence. “Their kids have to cross a busy street, and they have a hard time doing it because they have to go by themselves because mom is working. They have a hard time getting to work because they don’t have transportation. The area has concentrated crime, prostitution, and human trafficking. We’ve got to do something about it.”

Since then, small steps have compounded to make a noticeable difference in the community. These differences were highlighted at Thursday’s annual RISE Luncheon fundraiser event. New sidewalks were recently completed along Calmont and Cherry Lane, and a roundabout with an art installation is planned at Normandale Street. Over the next few years, the work will continue to create a neighborhood more capable of supporting its residents with jobs and safe living spaces.

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