Monday, December 20, 2010

Fort Worth's Desperate Search For A Visionary To Take The Town To Top-Tier Status

Sometimes my jaded view of the world makes it hard for me to detect if someone is being serious.

Or not.

One of those confusing moments came to me this morning as I was reading the letters to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

I'll copy the letter below and below that I'll comment on the letter.....

Seeking visionaries

Where are our visionaries? Those with big, bold ideas and the drive to see them through? Perhaps not on the City Council, which recently put the brakes on the modern streetcar initiative.

Where are the folks who approved the convention center hotel, supported the Trinity River Vision, Lancaster corridor improvements and new downtown park?

Our city is on a roll. We have momentum that other cities would kill for. But we still lack aesthetics and services that seem so natural to more cosmopolitan cities. Modern streetcars (i.e. efficient, light-rail mobility) are a perfect next step in our evolution to top-tier status.

Dallas has become a national leader in public light-rail transportation, and Denton, too, will soon launch its A train service. That leaves Fort Worth lagging in its vision for solving growing transportation issues, air-quality issues and the continuing vibrancy of our downtown.

We had the government seed money, the feasibility study and popular support. Now it's gone. On leadership one once said, "Search the parks in all your cities, you'll find no statues of committees." When will a visionary leader step up to deliver streetcars to our downtown?

-- Allen Wallach, Fort Worth

Fort Worth is on a roll? With momentum other cities would kill for? What momentum? What roll? The momentum to be on a roll to have the most boondoggles in a row?

Visionaries who approved the convention center hotel, the Trinity River Vision, Lancaster corridor improvements and a new downtown park?

What is this new downtown park the letter writer speaks of? Renovating the Heritage Park boarded up eyesore?

Lancaster corridor improvements? The weeds have been pulled, some lights installed, the Spring Palace is no longer surrounded by cyclone fence. But where are the restaurants and other developments that were supposedly going to occur on this restored corridor?

Fort Worth lacks aesthetics and services that more cosmopolitan cities have, like modern streetcars. And having streetcars are a perfect next step to evolving to top-tier status.


Okay, if streetcars are the next step to top-tier status, what in the world was the previous step? It can't be the Trinity River Vision. All that vision saw was copying what was being done in Dallas with its Trinity River Corridor Project. And then downscaling the Dallas Vision.

Was the previous step to top-tier status allowing one of the few unique things in downtown Fort Worth to become a boarded up eyesore, again referring to Heritage Park's  current status. Really, would any town with any pretensions to top-tier status allow a well-designed park to fall into such a state, what with that park being across the street from a county courthouse and adjacent to a jail?

I do agree with the letter writer that Fort Worth is in dire need of a visionary. A visionary with clear vision. Not the type visionary who copies what he or she sees elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

I believe the letter writer was referring to either the 9th Street corridor Hyde Park development, or possibly the renovations to Burnett Park. As for Trinity River Vision, its initiatives and ideas far predate the Dallas effort and is in no way copying them. The FW project is superior in scope and vision, IMO.

And as for streetcars? I believe the streetcar program, and its planned routes, do not go near far enough. We don't need the streetcars, we need true light-rail. So I am not upset that we have rejected thw limited streetcar program, but we DO need to quickly move toward a more comprehensive city-wide light-rail program.

Lastly, Lancaster corridor development will happen when the market improves.

FW Stinks said...

Before the word "visionary" comes to mind for this long-time FW citizen, other words like these did:illusionary", copy-cat, willy-nilly, and medium-tier-bound.

It's kinka hard to have a clear community-driven vision when corruption and rule by a select group of elitists shut down the input and creativity of the other citizens.

Throwing money, especially other people's hard-earned money, at so called visionary projects will not guarentee success nor class and taste. Cases in point are everything that have been mentioned in this discussion. Throwing away over 1/2 a million dollars for the handful of what my little kids call "the big old entennas" with cheap lights along Lancaster pretty much sums it all up. poor taste and lots of waste.

If the market condition is halting much touted development on the Lancaster Parking Corridor (that's what it's mostly used for now), why are the TRV (and this funky streetcar sideshow) going full speed ahead? I believe it is more due to the fact that "market" condition reflects people's WILLINGNESS TO USE/INVEST THEIR OWN MONEY TO FUND THINGS they believe in (and thus take great care every step of the way since failure means loss of their fortune and even reputation) vs. these "visionary" pursuits' using the taxpayers' hard-earned money (i.e. other people's money)without even getting their input or approval.

Stop playing games and gambling with other people's money (and their children's future). It is NOT a reflection of great courage or civic vision to spend our kids' future and tacking on fancy labels like visionary, world class, top-tier, yada-yada.

Would smart and tasteful people invest their energy and fortunes building something classy in a corrupt and inept city with increasingly dirty air and rising chances of catastrophes from all the gas pipelines and wells all over the city?

Let's not DELUDE ourselves because it's becoming an industrial town ruled by opportunists and predators. How's that for a clear VISION, Fort Worth?