Business owners are digging into their own profits to help revitalize a five-mile stretch of East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth – a road that became the first highway connecting Cowtown to Dallas but over the years lost its original spirit and energy.
Back in its heyday, it was bustling with businesses and neon signs and traffic.
Then, in the 1950s, the Dallas-Fort Worth turnpike was built which meant many drivers bypassed Lancaster. The turnpike later became Interstate 30.
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Faced with a general decline and a rise of homelessness and crime, business owners agreed in 2017 to form a tax district known as a Public Improvement District or PID.
It includes the area from Riverside Drive to Loop 820.
They decided to pay more taxes to invest in their street.
The PID now brings in about $250,000 a year, said organizer Dan Haase, a longtime East Fort Worth resident who helps run the district.
Most of the money goes to hire a private security company, Texas Industrial Security, which patrols Lancaster with armed officers from early morning to late night.
Since the company started in February, its interactions with vagrants and trespassers are down 60%, Haase said.
Crime is also down and trash no longer litters the street, he added.
Boosters said Lancaster Avenue is now on the verge of a big comeback.
"This is just waiting for that visionary developer to come along with a big idea that everybody can embrace,” Haase said.
The city plans to build a big new library.
And a light rail line could be built right down the middle of Lancaster in the next several years.
Logan Swords opened Swords Music in 1969 and it’s now the oldest music store in Fort Worth, he said.
Swords said he is pleased to pay more taxes to improve the street.
"Some property taxes you don't see much of a result,” he said. “With this, we do see a result."