Fort Worth

Fort Worth Housing Solutions Picks Developer to Rework Massive Butler Place Site

There's change coming to the massive Butler Place public housing development near downtown Fort Worth. The Housing Solutions Board voted on a new master developer Monday to help rework the site into a vibrant part of the downtown area.

NBC 5 takes a look at what's next for the buildings and the roughly 900 people who live there.

For more than 52 years, Gloria Collier has called Butler Place public housing her home.

"I moved on Aug. 21, 1964," she said.

She knows every inch.

"I love the trees. They talk to me and I talk to the trees," Collier said.

But the familiar scene is about to change. The Fort Worth Housing Solutions Board chose a master developer Monday, Columbia Residential, to help chart a new future for the 44-acre Butler Place site.

"Something that's similar to a live-work-play space," said Terri Attaway, board chair for the Fort Worth Housing Solutions Board.

One idea includes starting an African-American museum on the redeveloped site. The remodeled housing will be mixed-income, with current residents given first choice to come back.

"Our residents are the most important thing to us. This is why we're here," said Attaway.

But while work is underway they'll have to go. To move everyone out, the city needs more affordable places to live. So Fort Worth Housing Solutions is working to recruit landlords who are willing to rent to folks on public housing, in mixed-income buildings.

Longtime Section 8 landlords talked to new prospects at a recent event about the benefits of guaranteed rent from Housing Solutions, while working with normal families, just on a lower income.

"The affordable housing community in Fort Worth own dozens of properties in this city that nobody knows are affordable housing," said one longtime landlord, Mike Clark.

Still, mixing incomes and neighbors won't always feel right.

"I don't want you moving somebody that I don't know. I know this lady," Collier said, pointing to the home next door. "I know her from a kid all the way, I've helped raise her."

Through every changing season, she said, "This is home and this is community."

Fort Worth Housing Solutions stresses this is just the beginning and residents will help decide what comes next.

There are similar plans for Cavile Place public housing, in Fort Worth's Stop Six neighborhood.

If you're a landlord who would like to rent one or more units to folks on public housing, contact Fort Worth Housing Solutions here.

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