Monday, August 26, 2019

Thousands Of New Imaginary Downtown Fort Worth Residents By 2022

It seems like only yesterday, or the day before, we asked if you had Read Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Boondoggle Bridge Design Flaws Investigation?  in which mention was made of the fact that Fort Worth suffers from not having a real newspaper, and that the town's Fort Worth Star-Telegram acts more like the town's Chamber of Commerce mouthpiece than a normal newspaper of the practicing investigative journalism sort.

And then this morning, on the front page of the Star-Telegram, once again, a big Star-Telegram propaganda headline touting These projects will bring thousands of new residents to downtown Fort Worth by 2022,  leading to yet one more of those Chamber of Commerce type pieces which have long been so annoyingly ridiculous to anyone with an iota of common sense and a memory.

Those not familiar with Fort Worth, in the photo above, that is the stunning skyline of downtown Fort Worth, as seen from the west, looking across that wide ditch which is known as the Trinity River. On the left, in the photo, crossing over the ditch, that is Fort Worth's one and only actual signature bridge, the West 7th Street Bridge, which many locals thought should have been the design of the three simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction for years, trying to cross dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Let's take a tour through this latest article of Star-Telegram propaganda and ferret out some of the ridiculousness.

But, before we do that let's make mention of the fact that that downtown, where projects will supposedly bring in thousands of new residents, currently has zero grocery stores, zero department stores, not many restaurants, and few of the other amenities one might expect to see in the downtown of a town with a population over 800,000.

So, let's start with the first sentence of this latest Star-Telegram propaganda...

Tim and Donna Young are proud to be called “Mr. and Mrs. Downtown Fort Worth.”

Okay, that is just weird. Apparently this couple met in 2012, live in the downtown Texas & Pacific Lofts, can be seen walking around town, and for these obvious reasons their friends have given them this "Mr. and Mrs. Downtown Fort Worth" nickname.


Tim Young said he feels “like I live in Paris sometimes” because of their urban-centric lifestyle.

Oh yes, one can see how living in downtown Fort Worth would feel like living in Paris. what with downtown Paris being known for having no grocery stores or places to shop, and few restaurants or sidewalk bistros. And then there are those Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the Seine River. And that boarded up eyesore park at the heart of downtown Paris celebrating the storied history of Paris.

Yes, one can easily see how one could feel like one is living in Paris when living in downtown Fort Worth.

Let's leave the Youngs and their Parisian dream now and move on with the rest of this article...

As the city looks ahead to the next five to 10 years, much energy will be spent encouraging growth in the city’s core. Nearly a dozen new buildings are in the works downtown, according Downtown Fort Worth Inc. – some that will reshape the skyline as soon as 2022, when as many as 3,000 new residents could live downtown.

Wow! After all these years of the Fort Worth skyline seeming to be permanently stagnant, by 2022 the skyline will be reshaped! So excited to see that. And maybe as many as 3,000 new residents could maybe live downtown.

Nearly a dozen new buildings are in the works? What does that mean? Someone has thought of maybe building? The only other big city newspaper I pay much attention to seems to make mention of new buildings coming to downtown only after the building of such is a done deal, as in being built.. Not just a pipe dream. Like last week I read Google is building a new tower north of the downtown Seattle Amazon campus, along with residential towers to house the incoming new Google workers.

Then there is a paragraph about three new buildings which have received approval from the Fort Worth Downtown Design Board. No clue as to how close these three buildings are to actually being built, but the three paragraphs which follow the mention of these three possible new buildings are amusing...

The new buildings may not be as noticeable as the Omni Hotel Fort Worth or the City Center Towers, but they will be the first new residential high-rise structures built downtown in decades.

Ann Zadeh, the councilwoman representing downtown, said her hope is that downtown’s skyline will fill in with buildings that stand out.

“When I drive by other cities with prominent skylines, I think it’s a great visual,” she said. “That’s what I want for downtown.”

First new residential structures in downtown in decades? Is that not sort of a telling fact? And downtown's councilwoman hopes the Fort Worth skyline will fill in with stand out buildings, because when she drives by other town's skylines she longs for a similar visual for downtown Fort Worth?

I have long wondered what long time natives of Fort Worth, who have not recently visited towns in modern America, think when they see another big city for the first time in a long time. Like if they drive 30 miles east and see the world-wide recognizable skyline of Dallas, and see those hundreds of miles of Dallas light rail. Along with downtown shopping of the Neiman-Marcus sort.

Or see the downtown of a town like Seattle, with multiple vertical malls, multiple downtown grocery stores, multiple downtown department stores, transit tunnels under downtown, an ever changing skyline, and dozens of downtown highrises under construction, not just being talked about possibly being built.

And then there is this doozy of a pair of paragraphs...

City planners are confident in the residential growth, but commercial investment is less clear. The city’s long-term economic development plan relies heavily on attracting new corporate headquarters to Fort Worth with an aggressive goal of landing seven Fortune 1000 companies in the next five years.

As many as 80 companies are in talks with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce about moving or expanding in Fort Worth, said Chris Strayer, senior vice president of business attraction. About 40% of those would need office space, and downtown has been a target.

Really? As many as 80 companies are in talks about moving to Fort Worth? An aggressive goal of landing seven Fortune 1000 companies in the next five years?

All the time I have been in Texas, Fort Worth has been trying to lure companies to Fort Worth, using all sorts of incentives. Never successfully. How about sending a task force to towns which do successfully lure the companies Fort Worth fails to lure to find out why? Like why would a company choose, I don't know, Plano, over Fort Worth? Or Irving? Or Austin? Or Tempe, Arizona? Or any other town in America which do land a new company coming to town.

Fort Worth even managed to fail at having hometown Radio Shack succeed at locating a new corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Worth. This resulted in a typical Fort Worth boondoggle disaster, with the Radio Shack new headquarters being taken over by Tarrant County College, after the debacle managed to rob downtown Fort Worth of acres of free parking and the world's shortest subway, which gave easy access to downtown Fort Worth.

This delusional pie in the sky propaganda article just goes on and on. Mentioning the need for more commercial space, you know for offices, you know, for all those companies coming to town where all those new people living in downtown Fort Worth will work.

Why, they are even giving tax incentives to the owners of the dozens of downtown parking lots if they will vertically build.

Any downtown with dozens of parking lots taking up acres of downtown building space is not a healthy downtown.

And then there is mention made of something called Neighbor's House Grocery, opening in October on the ground floor of a downtown building. Imagine that, yet one more attempt at a downtown Fort Worth grocery store.

Maybe some thought should be given to fixing Heritage Park. That really can not be a good selling point for any corporation looking to come to town, a boarded up eyesore celebrating the town's heritage, located at a key location across from the county courthouse.

Maybe some thought should be given to how dumb it looks for a downtown of a big city to have something called Molly the Trolley as part of the town's limited, primitive, downtown transit system.

And also, why in this article about the soon to be booming downtown Fort Worth is no mention made of that HUGE development immediately north of downtown, you know, that development known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision?

A troubled vision which has been trying to see progress for most of this century, which touts an imaginary island with multiple residential towers, retail establishments, and canals to travel between attractions.

What do those corporations think about that BIG mess due north of downtown when they visit to consider moving to town? Those simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction can not be a good selling point of the town's viability. Let alone the absurd fact that those simple bridges are being built in slow motion over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Will this supposedly newly booming downtown Fort Worth be the final death knell of the Trinity River Vision and its long ill-fated economic development scheme and imaginary flood control?

Time will likely tell...

1 comment:

Stenotrophomonas said...

This is not by any means Fort Worth's only difficulty with bridges. As you probably recall, part of the underlying support for the foot bridge at the northern end of Lake Fosdic was damaged by runoff from heavy rains several tears ago. The city erected some fencing which makes it highly inconvenient, if not impossible to walk around the lake.
Some excerpts from the local Nextdoor group:

Oakland Park - Update

I received an email from Bryan Lyness, the project manager for Oakland Lake Park updating where we stand on repairs. In brief, don't expect the trail to be opened until sometime in late 2021 at the earliest, and maybe as late as 2022. Approx $300k has been budgeted for the including: $50,000 – assessment $50,000 – for design $50,000 – for administration $150,000 – for construction The timeline is as follows: May 2019 - Begin Project - I remember seeing the initial Request for Proposal (RFP) go out. It is scheduled to go before the city council this month for approval. September 2019 - Assess and evaluate the site including federal regulations and standards. "We cannot rebuild the spillway as is." (6-9 months) April 2020 - Determine options and begin design (time unknown. "It is very difficult to estimate design time without the assessment. We anticipate 9 months" 2021 - After the design is completed, construction can begin. (6-9 months)

·11 Aug
It is important to recall the history of the lake. No lakes in Texas are natural. Every one is the result of human's efforts to create them, except for Caddo Lake in east Texas (which is a large swamp formed by a natural dam). It is entirely possible (I would say likely) that Oakland Lake as it exists today is still based on the damming of the creek that feeds it by Edwin E. Fosdick when he opened the park as a private club called the Inverness Club in 1909. It became a city park in 1927. At that time, there were few rules about such things. However, in the 21st century, it is not legal to just take it upon yourself to do something like that. There are water rights to consider, and what impact you might have on the floodplain if your dam failed.......
·11 Aug
·11 Aug
300,000 dollars for a 20 foot long walk bridge. Somebody needs to be in jail for fraud.

·11 Aug
xxxxxx, please re-read my post. They have to start completely over, and that may involve temporarily draining the lake. This is a substantial engineering effort and physical installation, not just a 20 foot walk bridge. That is the part we are all looking forward to, but that is just a small portion of the project. Again, the trigger was the failure of the existing arrangement after it was compromise. Once that happened, then they have to follow state and federal guidelines in constructing a replacement. These guidelines are to protect the public.
·11 Aug
The bridge itself is not the issue, the spillway is. That means EPA and TCEQ getting involved with runoff and water flow. We won't know until the Engineering Dept gives us information, but I suspect the issue could be environmental more than the dam itself. I've asked about plans to dredge the lake as it looks like it is getting silted up and was told that would not happen. Anything that disturbs the sediment in the lake could be an issue because of the decades of street runoff into the lake carrying who knows what in the way of pollutants. If repairs to the spillway requires draining down the lake, a containment or clean-up plan for the outflow might be required. As it was described to me, cleaning up the first 90% is usually fairly straightforward and not all that expensive, it is the last 10% that drives all the cost.......