Fort Worth city leaders have been dealing with major issues in the far west Fort Worth community known as the Las Vegas Trail for years.
To this point, there have been efforts to get the area on the right track. Councilman Brian Byrd said the solution unveiled Wednesday afternoon is the key to real change. Fort Worth City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the Westside YMCA on Calmont Avenue for $250,000. The building will be used as the area’s new community center.
Councilman Byrd said hopefully this will be the answer many people living in the neighborhood have been asking for. There were two specific things they have asked for.
"The first, 'can you make it safer?' And the second was, 'can you provide a community center where our kids can go when they are not in school anymore'," said Councilman Byrd.
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Councilman Byrd, with the help of an assembled committee, has been working for months to find a way to meet the needs of the under served community that calls the Las Vegas Trail home.
There are thousands of families in more than 30 apartment complexes and many of them house school-aged children. The new community center will provide a place for kids to go before and after school, during the summer and spring break. It's also conveniently located in walking distance of two schools in the area.
A welcome change for Barbara Rice and her grandchildren.
"I feel like anything to keep them occupied and keep their minds on something positive, I think is a positive for a community," said Rice. "I just think it would be wonderful for the neighborhood. Anything for the children, I feel like is a plus."
The community center won't just be a place to keep kids engaged mentally, but also one for nourishment.
"One of the things that we found is that food is a big deal," said Councilman Byrd. "There are a lot of people not getting enough food. There were kids showing up to play football and they were hungry. So food distribution has been a big deal."
Councilman Byrd made it abundantly clear that this community center would not be possible without public and private partnerships.