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Northeast Times | January 17, 2022

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Fort Worth: Outstanding neighborhoods recognized for projects, service

Fort Worth: Outstanding neighborhoods recognized for projects, service

The 16th annual Fort Worth Neighborhood Awards honored a host of grass-roots groups and individuals who engage residents and build stronger communities.

The recognition was part of a full morning of seminars aimed at helping community leaders improve their outreach and service to their neighborhoods.

Here are the award winners:

2018 Neighborhood of the Year recognizes excellence in collaboration, health, beautification and social aspects. The Fort Worth 2018 Neighborhood of the Year is a group that tackled what they described as a “never-ending circle of red tape and bureaucracy.” And they wouldn’t take no for an answer. Berkeley residents say the train horns blow loud and long at all hours — even 3 a.m. The city has no jurisdiction over railroads. Even the Federal Railroad Administration could do little. So Berkeley Place began putting together a coalition. They started with six surrounding neighborhood associations, then contacted businesses and schools that were also bothered by the noise. They found that officials were more willing to listen and help because of the large number of people affected. In the end, Berkeley says it was the cooperation of other neighborhoods that pushed the project forward and will have residents sleeping better and enjoying being in their backyards again.

Neighbor of the Year. Darien George, nominated by Berkeley Place, for his work on several challenging neighborhood initiatives, as well as assisting senior citizens in the neighborhood.

Neighborhood Newsletter Awards. Newsletters are judged on content and appearance as well as how well they reach their intended audience. HOA winners: Crawford Farms HOA, Heritage HOA, Marine Creek Community Association, Marine Creek Meadows HOA and Quail Ridge Estates Phase II HOA. Voluntary NA winners: Crestwood Association, Eastern Hills NA, Mistletoe Heights NA and Ridglea North NA.

Fort Worth Pride Award. This award is given to an organization that improves the physical aspects of the neighborhood. HOA winner: The Trails of Fossil Creek HOA for its multifaceted beautification program. What started as a creek cleanup project grew to include tree plantings in a park, the addition of pet waste stations, trash and recycling cans and a community Earth Day celebration. NA winner: Tanglewood Neighborhood Association for its Tree Planting Project. After a strong storm felled limbs and uprooted entire trees throughout the neighborhood, an e-mail survey revealed more than 85 percent of residents had lost one or more trees in the last 10 years. The association negiotiated purchase discounts from a local plant nursery and took advantage of the city‘s free, five-gallon tree program. In all, Tanglewood neighbors planted 120 new trees.

Spirit of Fort Worth Award. The award recognizes groups that foster social revitalization, enhance cultural aspects of the neighborhood or simply make residents feel welcome. HOA winner: Quail Ridge Estates Phase II for its food truck socials. The idea was to try something new to encourage residents to get to know and watch out for each other. After two food truck events, the HOA reports increased community engagement, which has translated into more suggestions for neighborhood activities and a greater understanding of official board decisions. NA winner: Ridglea Hills Neighborhood Association for organizing its first-ever Fourth of July parade to honor local veterans. Months of planning included creating a parade route, getting a permit, recruiting business sponsors and lining up volunteers for traffic control.

Civic Engagement and Community Collaboration Award. The award honors significant, creative initiatives that define a challenge and recognizes an association that works with city staff, elected officials, schools, businesses or other neighborhoods and civic groups to find solutions that bring about positive change in the neighborhood or the city as a whole. HOA winner: Villages of Woodland Springs HOA for its expanded back-to-school celebration. Residents added a charity school supply drive and a free garage sale. Neighbors dropped off gently-used clothing and household items, volunteers sorted them and nearby neighbors could pick out what they needed for free. NA winner: Ridglea North Neighborhood Association for its Community Connection event. Neighborhood leaders lined up dozens of speakers and information tables where residents could talk one-on-one with staff from the city, nonprofits, school and business groups. Leaders say the event broke down perceived barriers to information access.

Mayor’s Health and Wellness Award. This award honors a significant local effort to promote exercise, better health, safety and recreation — and lead to a better quality of life for everyone. Winner: Eastgate Neighbors for its community garden. It not only feeds hungry neighbors with fresh produce but also serves as a YMCA teaching and learning space for Fort Worth ISD students.

Danny Scarth Trailblazer Award. Dorothy Hill is an advocate for high-quality, in-house care for persons who depend on a ventilator. She has brought together physicians, respiratory therapists and medical equipment providers to improve care, and even wrote a manual on services and support for people using a ventilator and those who care for them.

Neighborhood Patrol Officer of the Year. Bel Haddad of West District. Officer Haddad was nominated by several members of the Ridglea North Neighborhood Association who say he makes a personal investment in helping the association bring residents together. Officer Haddad:

  • Created a kids’ mini police academy for the National Night Out celebration.
  • Gives regular crime prevention tips in the monthly association newsletter.
  • Checks on construction projects in the area to prevent vandalism and theft.
  • Invites neighbors to join him for a bike ride or workout at a local gym.
  • Helped organize an NPO roundtable with other area neighborhoods.

Code Compliance Officer of the Year. Rey Salinas of Central District. Salinas has been a Code Compliance officer for two years. Neighbors say he does an outstanding job keeping the neighborhood clean and safe, dealing effectively with illegal dumping and junk vehicles. They say he also collaborates with other city departments to help fix problems that are outside Code Compliance responsibilities. Neighbors says he also brings compassion to the job. For example, helping an elderly neighbor who had accumulated fees and fines while he was away from home receiving medical care.