NORTH­SIDE PLAN SPARKS WOR­RIES

Star-Telegram (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY HANAA’ TAMEEZ [email protected]­gram.com

North­side res­i­dents ex­press con­cern that a $3 mil­lion re­vi­tal­iza­tion project even­tu­ally will lead to gen­tri­fi­ca­tion.

A last-minute meet­ing at the North­side Com­mu­nity Cen­ter on Fri­day turned heated dur­ing pre­sen­ta­tions of a $3 mil­lion re­vi­tal­iza­tion plan for the neigh­bor­hood that’s set to be ap­proved by City Coun­cil next week.

North­side res­i­dents who at- tended the meet­ing ex­pressed con­cern to City Coun­cil­man Car­los Flores that the project will even­tu­ally give way to fur­ther Pan­ther Is­land devel­op­ment and even­tual gen­tri­fi­ca­tion.

This is not the case, Flores said, and em­pha­sized that the Pan­ther Is­land project is com­pletely sep­a­rate and un­re­lated to the plan.

The meet­ing called af­ter mem­bers of the grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tions El Voto Es Latino and Co­mu­nidad 27 can­vassed around the neigh­bor­hood on Thurs­day ask­ing res­i­dents if they knew about the re­vi­tal­iza­tion project.

Tris­teza Ordex-Ramirez from El Voto es Latino said they were able to visit 200 homes within a few hours.

The plan was an­nounced in De­cem­ber and will be voted on by city coun­cil on Tues­day, Jan­uary 15. If ap­proved, the funds will be al­lo­cated to the North­side and city staff will start con­nect­ing with com­mu­nity mem­bers to un­der­stand which is­sues are most press­ing.

North­side res­i­dent Olga Ve­lasquez said the be­gin­ning of these re­pairs make her ner­vous. She said it sig­nals the be­gin­ning of the end for the fam­i­lies who one day will not be able to af­ford to live in the neigh­bor­hood as it’s de­vel­oped over time.

“It’s just that ev­ery­thing around us is com­ing up and im­prov­ing and then sud­denly this plan comes in to ‘re­vi­tal­ize’ this area,” Ve­lasquez said. “It’s just sus­pi­cious and a lot of peo­ple are scared.”

Flores and city staff pre­sented sev­eral in­di­ca­tors that they said are con­cerns for the city, build­ing a case for a need for “stabilization” in the neigh­bor­hood. Those in­di­ca­tors are poverty, crime, un­em­ploy­ment and edu-

cation.

The re­vi­tal­iza­tion project, how­ever, would ad­dress fix­ing side­walks, adding street lamps and more. Fur­ther spe­cific plan­ning will take place af­ter the funds are al­lo­cated.

Some res­i­dents came to the meet­ing be­cause they wanted more in­for­ma­tion about the mail­ers they’ve re­ceived from de­vel­op­ers of­fer­ing to buy their homes. Flores re­ferred them to the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice to re­port them.

Arnoldo Hur­tado of Co­mu­nidad 27 asked Flores to de­lay the vote so more com­mu­nity mem­bers can give their in­put and learn about what will hap­pen to their neigh- bor­hood. Flores said the vote has no bear­ing or neg­a­tive im­pact on com­mu­nity out­reach that needs to be done. In­stead, it au­tho­rizes the money to be­come avail­able for the in­di­cated part of the neigh­bor­hood.

On Satur­day, Jan. 12, El Voto es Latino and Co­mu­nidad 27 will host an event on Ar­ne­son Park at 9 a.m. to an­swer fur­ther ques­tions about the re­vi­tal­iza­tion project.

Car­los Flores

AMANDA MCCOY am­c­[email protected]­gram.com

Pend­ing Fort Worth City Coun­cil ap­proval in Jan­uary, North­side will be the third neigh­bor­hood tar­geted for cap­i­tal im­prove­ments, with nearly $3 mil­lion to be in­vested.

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