A far west Fort Worth neighborhood has been selected to receive the next round of the city’s neighborhood improvement grants.
This week, members of the Fort Worth City Council approved $3.5 million to be designated to Las Vegas Trail. Funds are expected to be used toward investments that will improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents.
“Las Vegas Trail is 1% of the city of Fort Worth, but it’s 4% of the crime,” District 3 Councilman Michael Crain said. “So, the people that live here, and there are some really good people who live here and call Las Vegas Trail home, but they’re surrounded by crime and other things you shouldn’t have in a neighborhood.”
According to the city of Fort Worth, the Las Vegas Trail area is home to more than 13,700 residents in a 1.69-square-mile area. Other data that factored into choosing Las Vegas Trail for improvements in 2022 include its 33% poverty rate, 10% unemployment rate and higher than average crime rate. The area is also considered a food desert, with 82% of area residents living at least one mile from access to fresh food.
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Willie Rankin, executive director of the nonprofit LVTRise, said the funding could play a significant role in addressing immediate needs.
“First is just basic infrastructure things. Sidewalks and street lights and basic infrastructure things that could slow the cars. We have a lot of kids who walk across the street playing frogger because of some of the speed of the cars,” Rankin said. “From community needs, maybe just more open spaces like splashpads. A lot of apartment complexes shut down their pool because of the drowning rates that are so high in Fort Worth, but families still want to keep cool during the summer time.”
While the Las Vegas Trail area has a lot of potential, Rankin said the population is underserved.
“You see a lot of different neighborhoods throughout Fort Worth who have a lot of amenities that can help them out,” he said. “This money is a good step forward, because there are some items that could be addressed right away.”
So far, Fort Worth has invested $14.7 million in five previous target areas: Stop Six, Ash Crescent, Northside, Rosemont and Como.
“Last year’s neighborhood was Como, which is also in District 3. They’ve put additional cameras in there as well. A lot of that is for code enforcement to go around and make sure properties are clean and follow up with code,” Crain said.
Regarding Las Vegas Trail specifically, he added change won’t happen overnight.
“The neighborhood itself, it took 30 years for it to get to the state that is. In the 80’s, this was a cool place to be. People lived here. It was a lot of families that were attached at the base closure before it was reopened, you saw a decline,” he said. “This has been a multi-year effort already, but this will give us the injection and the momentum to keep everything going.”
Next month, the city’s Neighborhood Services Department will meet with leaders of the Western Hills North Neighborhood Association and LVTRise to begin planning. It is expected to be followed by a public meeting in February, when residents will vote on the types of improvements they want to see in their neighborhood. Work will begin in April.