Sunday, August 9, 2015

No Initiative Is Underway Fixing Fort Worth's Heritage Park

A few days ago I came upon that which you see here, in the Seattle Times. Making this the latest entry in our popular series of articles I read in west coast news sources, online, usually the Seattle Times, which I would never read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something taking place in Fort Worth, or other locations in Texas.

Or maybe I am wrong. Are Texans allowed to put an issue to a vote by getting enough petition signatures to put a measure on a ballot? If Texans do have this basic democratic right what is the reason it is so seldom used that I am not aware of it?

Below is an excerpt from the Seattle Times' Initiative for elevated park along waterfront qualifies for ballot article...

Campaigners for Initiative 123 filed enough petition signatures to qualify a ballot measure that would create a public-development authority to begin work on a new elevated park along the waterfront using a piece of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This is an alternative to plans already in progress.

Campaigners filed enough petition signatures last month to put Initiative 123, to create an autonomous public-development authority, on the ballot. On Monday, the Seattle City Council received certification of the initiative.

Supporters are promising a 1-mile, 6-acre “garden bridge,” incorporating a reinforced block of the old viaduct into a new, 45-foot-wide structure.

Corner’s designs show at least three pedestrian bridges, including a verdant overlook walk from the waterfront to the Marketfront plaza, a $73 million expansion of the Pike Place Market that began in June.

The viaduct is likely to stay up until as late as 2019, after the Highway 99 tunnel is completed. For now, reality offers a noisy viaduct, seawall-construction barricades, traffic detours — and crowds of visitors at the waterfront last weekend.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram readers, how many items in the above six paragraphs can you spot which you would not read in the Star-Telegram  about a Fort Worth project?

In Fort Worth a public works project gets foisted on the public, with no public vote. Such as that entity which calls itself the Trinity River Vision Authority. The Seattle initiative in the above article creates an autonomous public-development authority, that is if the voters vote to give the authority.

What a  concept.

I wonder if having the public back public works projects by voting on them is the reason why Seattle and Western Washington have so many such  projects under way? With project timelines. I wonder if this type thing is part of the reason the Seattle and Western Washington economy is booming?

I have lost track of how long Fort Worth's Heritage Park has been a boarded up eyesore.

Heritage Park used to celebrate Fort Worth's heritage at its location in downtown Fort Worth, across the street from the Tarrant County Courthouse, overlooking the confluence of the West and Clear Forks of the Trinity River and the imaginary island and imaginary pavilion where the aforementioned Trinity River Vision Authority authorizes locals to float with the feces.

Heritage Park had no problem that justified it being turned into a ruin. The park was closed after the tragic drownings in the Water Garden in the south end of downtown Fort Worth. The city feared another lawsuit due to another drowning. And since Heritage Park had multiple water features it was deemed a danger.

Trouble was, I don't think any of those responsible for turning Heritage Park into a ruin actually walked through the park. If they had they would have seen that none of the water features presented any drowning danger, due to all the water being very shallow. Heritage Park had no swirling sinkholes presenting a drowning danger.

So, with little thought Heritage Park was closed and left to fall into ruin. Why would any self respecting city let this remain the status quo year after year after year?

How can American towns operate so totally different? In Seattle a citizen initiative is trying to build a new park in coordination with ongoing waterfront projects, all of which have a project timeline. While in Fort Worth a park is allowed to fall into ruin, surrounded by cyclone fencing and no trespassing signs, with no apparent effort to fix the problem, either by elected officials or citizen activists.

Pitiful is the word which comes to mind. And sad, real sad.

1 comment:

Steve A said...

Texas has no statewide initiative process. Fort Worth DOES, technically allow initiative, but requires 20% of registered votors to sign before an initiative qualifies. This is an almost impossible requirement to achieve.