Gateway Monument on Track

Proposed Fort Worth highway beautification project progressing

The generic sign saying "Fort Worth city limit" seen as you drive west on Interstate 30 into the city could change by as early as next spring.

City leaders and public art officials held a community meeting Wednesday night in east Fort Worth for updates on the Interstate 30 Gateway Monument, a beautification project seven years in the making.

"The Metroplex is a big place, and you sort of meld one city into the next, and this let's you know you're entering Fort Worth," Councilman Danny Scarth said.

Scarth has been involved with the project since he was elected to the council. The city received a grant for the project by winning the 2004 Governor's Community Achievement Award.

But the monument's original design and location was scrapped after residents didn't like the look and the impact to the skyline view near Gateway Park.

Earlier this year, the project's steering committee boarded a bus and drove up and down I-30 between Loop 820 and the city limit east of Eastchase Parkway. The committee found an ideal spot, between Eastchase and Cooks Lane, just west of the Pantego Bible Church sign. However, the project will be closer to the highway than up on the hill.

The Texas Department of Transportation has to approve the design plans before its crews can start construction.

After Wednesday night's public meeting, Fort Worth Public Art officials will start the process to find a new designer, likely an artist or architect with landscaping knowledge because the project includes landscaping.

Several east Fort Worth business and community leaders who attended Wednesday's meeting say they are much happier with the project's new location.

Those involved say they don't want it to be a typical city entrance project.

"We'd like to be a little bit different, after all we are 'Cowboys and Culture,'" said Scarth, referring to the city's slogan.

Don't expect the design to be something that will encourage drivers to stop and take a picture.

"It sort of has to be aesthetically pleasing at 60 mph but very gratifying at 60 mph," said Anne Allen, public art project manager for the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County. "It won't have a logo on it. It won't say 'welcome to,' but we don't know exactly what it's going to look like yet."

The final designs could be done by the end of the year, she said.

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