There will be two public workshops this week to discuss the future of Butler Place, a 42-acre public housing property adjacent to downtown Fort Worth.
When: Monday, Sept. 23 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The focus will be historic preservation.
Tuesday, Sept. 24 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The focus will be development.
Who: The City of Fort Worth will lead the workshops on behalf of Fort Worth Housing Solutions. Briefings will be given about Butler Place’s history, the relocation plan for its residents, and proposed transportation improvements to the site. City staff will facilitate small group discussions.
A cross-section of groups will be represented, including the NAACP, I.M. Terrell High School Alumni Association, Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., Southeast Fort Worth, Inc., Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society, Historic Fort Worth, Tarrant Transit Alliance and Fort Worth ISD.
Where: Auditorium, Fort Worth Housing Solutions, 1201 E. 13th Street in Fort Worth. (Side entrance from main courtyard.)
Why: The community’s input is important to Fort Worth Housing Solutions as it moves forward with decisions about Butler Place, the city’s oldest public housing property. For nearly two years Butler’s residents have been relocating to apartment communities of their choice in neighborhoods across the city with better access to jobs, grocery stores, schools, parks and other amenities. Once all residents are relocated, Fort Worth Housing Solutions will no longer receive HUD funds to manage the property. The disposition of all or part of the property would be used to support the agency’s efforts to develop new housing options for individuals and families in need.
For more information:
FACTS ABOUT BUTLER PLACE
• 42-acre public housing property with 412 aging units.
• Opened in 1940 and expanded in the early 1960’s.
• One of 52 Public Works Administration (WPA) projects for low-income housing under Franklin D.
Roosevelt’s New Deal.
• 17 acres are listed on the National Historic Register.
• Butler Place was named for Henry H. Butler, a Civil War veteran and the first African American teacher in the Fort Worth school system.
• Historical components include a red brick building that served as the original African American high school in Fort Worth, and later as Carver-Hamilton Elementary. Fort Worth Housing Solutions is located in the building.
• Through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD), Butler Place’s residents are gradually relocating to new homes in more than a dozen apartment communities across the city of Fort Worth.
• To date, 125 Butler households have relocated to nine apartment communities in FWHS’s portfolio. A total of 166 households remain at Butler Place. Another 49 households will relocate by the end of 2019. Relocations are expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
• In 2015 the Urban Land Institute conducted an extensive study of the Butler property in a process that included interviews with dozens of stakeholders and numerous community meetings.
• The ULI recommended establishing a Butler Advisory Committee (see attached for list of members), and preserving some part of the historic property to respect the legacy of the African American community.
• The ULI panel concluded that even with significant investment, the 412-unit Butler complex cannot be transformed into a viable, livable community due to the condition of the units and the freeway construction on all sides of the development that isolated the community. The panel proposed a “big idea” for connecting the property to the downtown through a massive investment of infrastructure, including decking over railroad tracks.
Butler Advisory Committee
A Butler Advisory Committee is providing input on the future uses of the Butler property, including
strategies for preserving some of its history. The committee first met in March 2016. Its members
• Terri Attaway, Board of Commissioners Fort Worth Housing Solutions
• Don Babers, urban development consultant
• Sonya Barnette, Fort Worth Housing Solutions
• Lillie Biggins, community leader
• Art Cavasos, Fort Worth ISD
• Fernando Costa, City of Fort Worth
• Jack Clark, R.O. Realty
• Brian Dennison, Fort Worth Housing Solutions
• Yvonne Garcia, Fort Worth ISD
• Kelly Allen Gray, City Councilmember, District 8
• Randall Harwood, City of Fort Worth
• Devoyd Jennings, Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce
• Mary-Margaret Lemons, Fort Worth Housing Solutions
• James Mallard, I.M. Terrell Alumni Association
• Brenda Sanders-Wise, Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society
• Sonia Singleton, City of Fort Worth
• Robert Sturns, City of Fort Worth
• Andy Taft, Downtown Fort Worth Inc.
• Sarah Walker, Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society
• Jimmy Walker, Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society
• Beverly Washington, I.M. Terrell Alumni Association