10/24/17 Update: Councilman Brian Byrd and United Way of Tarrant County President and CEO TD Smyers joined with the Las Vegas Trail community today at the Las Vegas Trail Revitalization Project Public Forum at Birchman Baptist Church, located on Fort Worth’s west side, only blocks away from Las Vegas Trail itself.
The purpose of the forum was to listen, discuss and identify as a community how to improve the lives of residents by increasing safety, education, quality housing, employment, wages, family stability, physical health and psychological well-being.
Attendees first heard from local leaders, including reformed former-gang leader Abdul Chappell, and focus group chairs on their plans and goals for igniting the flame of hope within this community where it’s nearly been snuffed out.
The stage was then given to the residents themselves so that they could express their own tales of life on the “Trail” and bring up the areas where they saw the most need.
“These kids are precious,” said one resident who volunteers at a local elementary school where resources are scarce, and volunteers are limited. “I’m going to keep volunteering as much as I can, but I’m just one person, and we need help.”
This issue of lack of educational resources was just one of many voiced at the forum. Others included were crime response, transit safety, youth and employment opportunities, the need for a community center, access to healthcare and nutrition resources and code compliance enforcement.
As the forum concluded, both residents and non-residents were given the opportunity to vote on which issues they believed to be most vital to revitalization.
Together, we believe that we can watch this community rise up from the ashes to be a thriving community of economic, educational and wellness success once again.
The melody of gun shots, sirens and shouting is a familiar lullaby to the children and youth growing up on Las Vegas Trail, the desolate four-lane strip on the west side of Fort Worth that stretches not even a mile, from I-30 south to Camp Bowie Boulevard.
The recipe of deteriorating, low-income apartments, cheap motels and years of community neglect has cultivated a poverty-stricken playground for violence, drug-use, sex-trafficking and crimes against children.
Thankfully, District 3 Councilman Brian Byrd has decided to end the cycle of neglect with his aggressive “Revitalization Project.”
“I’m so excited, because we’ve put together a team that is all high-level leaders who care about people,” Byrd said.
One such leader is our very own United Way of Tarrant County President and CEO TD Smyers, who will be spearheading the project.
“This community, like all communities, it’s a system, and the residents here are part of it, and they need to be part of the solution as well,” Smyers said.
Smyers will oversee six focus groups: public safety, education, housing, social services, economic development and health and wellness.
Through the United Way’s strategic partnerships with other local non-profits and agencies, we are confident we can work with the Las Vegas Trail community to revitalize the area and improve the quality of life for all who call it home.
To find out more about the Revitalization Project, check out the following stories by NBC5 and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: