5/30/2024 6:07:29 AM
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Study aims to reconnect, redevelop Fort Worth's Butler Place


Study aims to reconnect, redevelop Fort Worth's Butler Place


Restricted on all three sides by a six-lane highway, Butler Place's place has long confined the city island to seclusion. A new study is underway to much better access the site and unlock its future capacity.

The Access Butler Place Plan, spearheaded by the city's Transportation and Public Works Department together with Fort Worth Housing Solutions, which owns the website, will check out methods to reconnect the previous African American public housing site to the rest of downtown.

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The very first public open house is from 4:30 -7:30 p.m. May 9 at Fort Worth Central Station, 1001 Jones St.

Kelly Porter, assistant director of Fort Worth's Transportation and Public Works, said any future redevelopment of the site will need good accessibility, which is a vital primary step.

Getting feedback on how people view gain access to and what they see as solutions and barriers moving forward is crucial to creating what he calls "connection in the core of the city."

Reconnecting a formerly segregated site


The 42 acres are among the last remaining land available for redevelopment in the downtown area. For years, the residential or commercial property was sculpted out of the rest of Fort Worth's growing and expanding downtown by numerous highways, Interstate 35W, Interstate 30 and U.S. Highway 287..

Opened in 1940 as one of 52 Public Works Administration jobs for low-income real estate as part of the New Deal, Butler Place mainly served an African American population. Beside it is the as soon as racially segregated and historic I.M. Terrell High School, the city's very first Black school, opened in 1882.

The school is now the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and Visual Performing Arts, part of the Fort Worth ISD Schools of Choice program.

" Being so close to (I.M. Terrell), named after the very first black principal in Fort Worth ISD, there's excellent meaning there," stated Ernie Moran, a Fort Worth ISD teacher and moms and dad of a trainee at the high school. "There's a possibility to do something really fantastic with that history and that symbolism. Exterior view of Butler Place, a government real estate job constructed in the 1940s for African American residents in the Chambers Hill district of Fort Worth.

The final occupants moved out of Butler Place in 2020 and were transferred to apartment homes in what the real estate authority referred to as high-opportunity areas across the city.

Butler Place is a vestige of a time when housing authorities used to concentrate poverty in specific areas of a city. Fort Worth Housing Solutions President Mary-Margaret Lemons said the city has progressed from this method and is now focused on developing dynamic mixed-income neighborhoods expanded across the city.

After the last renters moved out in 2020, all windows and doors were boarded up. (Sandra Sadek

The city held a series of workshops in September 2019 and meetings with the Butler Advisory Committee continued into 2022. While absolutely nothing has actually been settled in terms of what Butler Place will eventually become, producing something that respects the history of the website while developing economic advancement is key, Lemons said.

" We truly base on the shoulders of giants that came before us with substantial visions for Fort Worth to deconcentrate poverty," Lemons stated. "We no longer believe that warehousing poor individuals in one part of the city is the proper way to do cost effective real estate, and Fort Worth has been incredibly progressive in embracing that and seeing the future.".

The upcoming study is a continuation of previous work and research study done about Butler Place, Porter said. Federal financing for the research study was secured through the North Central Texas Council of Governments and supplemented by local dollars.

" There's no time like today to go ahead and begin finding out what we require to do," Porter said.

As part of the study, the city and its partners will solicit feedback on how to enhance the surrounding infrastructure, encourage diverse development, and bring brand-new leisure opportunities.

The time is also right to address the ease of access issues of Butler Place at a moment when there is plenty of federal financing available for transportation jobs. It is too early to identify what kind of moneying the future Butler Place might qualify for.

That's why getting this research study done is necessary, Porter said.

" You have to let individuals know what they're buying," he said.

In overall, the city plans on hosting three to 4 rounds of open houses, including the upcoming May 9 meeting. There will likewise be studies on the task website for citizens to share feedback.

" I would hope that someone whose heart is in the right place, primary and very first, is in the room when those decisions are made and it's not simply people who are taking a look at dollar indications and dollar figures," Moran stated.

Maintaining Fort Worth's history


While the future of Butler Place is not yet set in stone, housing authorities state this is specific: The historical significance of the website will be preserved..

Some historical structures will be maintained and integrated into the redevelopment of Butler Place, said Mary-Margaret Lemons, president of Fort Worth Housing Solutions. (Sandra Sadek

Fort Worth Housing Solutions is working on obtaining a local historical designation for the old firm's administration structure, which was Carver-Hamilton Elementary School. About 17 of the 42 acres were put on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 2000s.

Since getting that designation, the real estate authority, and the city have actually been dealing with the state to outline what parts of the property will be maintained in its originality. The contract includes preserving 2 of the domestic structures, some of the historical resources on-site along with some of the bricks.

There will also be signage highlighting Butler Place's history and an amphitheater.

Lemons informed the Fort Worth Report the firm is dealing with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to phase out the staying Butler Place units still in HUD's system therefore is supervised by the federal firm.

Applications for that procedure were simply authorized, she said, and the last remaining real estate help connected to the residential or commercial property will be transferred to other parts of the city. That procedure might take anywhere from 18 months to two years.

" This is the last big parcel that's nearby to downtown. We're being really systematic in the steps that we're taking to make sure that we're doing the best thing, not only for the housing authority but for the neighborhoods that actually are of the utmost significance to us," Lemons said.

The renewal of Butler Place has actually been in the works for nearly a decade as officials work to provide this once-segregated and isolated urban island a second chance at life. As the last big staying parcel of land nearby to downtown, all eyes are on the residential or commercial property and what it could give Fort Worth.

" We want to ensure that whatever it ends up being is something that is a catalyst for the city and for the neighborhood, and potentially a long-term earnings stream for the real estate authority," Lemons said. "One of our goals is to make sure that it's not simply a one-time shot in the arm of capital, however something that's reoccurring and sustainable for the real estate authority to be able to run well into the future.".

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering development for the Fort Worth Report. You can call her at sandra.sadek@fortworthreport.org or @ssadek19.

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The Fort Worth Report maintains the copyright for all of its released material. If you have any other concerns, contact Managing Editor Thomas Martinez.Study seeks to reconnect, redevelop Fort Worth's Butler Place.
by Sandra Sadek, Fort Worth Report.
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Elwood Hill

Elwood Hill is an award-winning journalist with more than 18 years' of experience in the industry. Throughout his career, John has worked on a variety of different stories and assignments including national politics, local sports, and international business news. Elwood graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and immediately began working for Breaking Now News as lead journalist.

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