STOP SIX RENOVATION

The Stop Six neighborhood may be about to get a new look.

The latest step in the pending makeover for the impoverished area was taken Tuesday as the Fort Worth City Council voted to adopt a revised Transformation Plan and to incorporate it into the city's Comprehensive Plan. The decision allows Fort Worth officials to move forward in their quest for a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) Grant of $35 million toward the project.

The city and Fort Worth Housing Solutions are working together as co-applicants to utilize the funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), should it be approved.

In all, more than $339 million of improvements are planned throughout the neighborhood, implementing mixed-use. Potential sources of funding are outlined in the Transformation Plan.

The transformation plan includes the demolition and replacement of 300 units at Cavile Place Apartments, and the construction of approximately 600 additional rental units in six phases of housing developments spread throughout the neighborhood.

"When I look at the Stop Six, Cavile has always been a staple," District 5 Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, in whose district Stop Six lies, said. "It was built in 1954, the year I was born.

"You're going to have a completely different tone and view of Stop Six. Just the idea that you can have housing without the scarlet letter of poverty is great."

Bivens said once the project is complete, residents with little or no money could be living next to those earning six figures, and no one would be the wiser.

The Transformation Plan addresses and includes specific plans in the three areas which HUD deems critical to affecting lasting change: the Neighborhood Plan, Housing Plan, and People Plan.

*The Neighborhood Plan is designed to discover options for connecting existing community assets to proposed improvements to the neighborhood. It includes a state-of-the-art neighborhood “hub” to co-locate services for neighborhood and city residents;

increased public safety with improvements to streets, sidewalks and street lighting; improvements to Rosedale Park; and better access to transit by providing bike lanes, bike share stations and locating bus stops to better serve the neighborhood.

*The Housing Plan includes the demolition/replacement of Cavile Place, which was approved by HUD in April, and the construction of the other rental units throughout Stop Six.

The new developments will complement the historic nature of the neighborhood. They will feature different building types such as townhouses, walk-up garden buildings, and mixed-use buildings at key neighborhood nodes, with a mix of unit sizes, and market-quality interior and site amenities.

Each development will offer housing opportunities to households with varying levels of income and include replacement units supported with Project Based Vouchers (PBVs), permanent supportive housing units supported with PBVs, workforce housing units, and market rate units. All residents, regardless of income, will be offered the same quality of unit and community amenities.

*The People Plan addresses the needs of the residents of both Cavile Place and the surrounding neighborhood. Case managers will tailor supportive services to Cavile residents, both adults and children, in areas such as education, physical and mental health, housing stability, economic mobility, and resident engagement.

The plan includes key strategies used effectively in other CNI communities, including:

*Restoring neighborhood confidence – the belief on the part of neighbors and other stakeholders that conditions in Stop Six will improve, and instill confidence in their capacity to alter it.

*Re-positioning Stop Six in the market as a place of choice and making it competitive in attracting housing demand.

*Creating new symbols and a new narrative about the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood – one that replaces a story of decline with a story of transformation.

The project plans date to 2012 when the Fort Worth Housing Finance Corporation (FWHFC) agreed to partner with Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS) to develop a plan for the revitalization of FWHS’s Cavile Place Apartments and the surrounding neighborhood. The plan was needed for FWHS to apply for grants to assist in the revitalization of the area.

In May of this year, FWHS initiated and funded a neighborhood planning process to update the Transformation Plan, which includes the surrounding Historic Stop Six neighborhood. The revised Transformation Plan is needed in order to apply for the CNI Grant, which is specifically aimed at the redevelopment of public housing and surrounding neighborhoods.

As part of the planning process, FWHS hosted a series of community updates and listening sessions with the residents and neighbors of Cavile Place and various community stakeholders. The purpose was to seek input regarding community strengths and challenges, to solicit feedback on design options, and to update the shared community vision.

Bivens said she witnessed a similar situation in New Orleans following the rebuilding project after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

"I went there in 2013 and saw the benefits of mixed housing," she said. "The only complaint from seniors was their utility room was too big."

Initially a vibrant community of prosperous, primarily African American residents, Stop Six today is an area of contrasts. The neighborhood includes many churches and several schools, which can be indicators of a strong, stable community. However, it also has an extensive amount of abandoned structures and vacant land (almost half of all lots), a clear indicator of neighborhood stress and declining population.

Restoring the historic community into a vibrant, sustainable neighborhood, as it was decades ago, is the driving intent of today’s Stop Six residents and stakeholders, and is the foundation of the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan.

Implementation of the transformation plan includes approximately five to seven years of phased development. The first phase includes planned improvements to East Rosedale Street, construction of a new senior housing development at the corner of East Rosedale Street and Stalcup Road, and the demolition of Cavile Place.

“We are pleased to partner with FWHS on the transformation, investment and growth of Cavile Place and Southeast Fort Worth," Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said. "This opportunity is a catalyst for growth, and ultimately, positive change for the lives of residents in Cavile Place and Stop Six.”

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