Fort Worth

Fort Worth Council Member: Removing Stop Six Historic District Would Spur Redevelopment

The Stop Six neighborhood of Fort Worth is unfortunately known for crime and patches of blight. But it's also considered an historic area, and one City Council member says that's part of the problem.

James Debose has lived in Stop Six for 70 years and he's always been a self-starter.

"I always push," he said, while pushing a lawnmower across his back yard.

Debose believes when he takes care of his lawn, the neighbors will do the same.

"The place doesn't make the person. The person makes the place," said Debose.

The place is Stop Six Sunrise Edition, designated a historic district in 2007. But mixed with well-kept homes, there are eyesores that are hard to update – or tear down – under added historic regulations.

"It wouldn't be easy. There are guidelines, there are permits," said Councilwoman Gyna Bivens.

Bivens thinks that's preventing new development in the area. She wants to remove the historic district, while letting individual homes keep their designation.

"If they want to continue saying, 'I live in the historic district overlay,' they can do that," Bivens said. "But for those who want to come back home, like I did, and build a home that's big enough to accommodate whatever your needs are, I want them to have that freedom."

That's not good enough for neighborhood leader Regina Blair.

"It's important for our younger generations to understand their history," said Blair.

She says the designation honors and preserves the area's historically black culture, and she doesn't think the lack of development has anything to do with some added regulations.

"If I fix up my house, what about the vacant lot next to me that grows overgrown grass? What about the person that's selling drugs? There's prostitution, there's a homicide," said Blair.

She wants the city's help there, preventing crime.

But, according to Debose, "Stop Six is super."

He's seen the place change over the years and says many historic houses were lost long ago.

He's for removing the historic district and letting neighbors lead by example, to build a new history together.

"Just leave us alone," said Debose. "Just leave us alone."

The city will hold a series of public meetings, starting later this month before the City Council votes on whether to remove the historic district.

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