A breath of fresh air came from the Historic and Cultural Landmark Commission Feb. 8 when it voted unanimously to approve an expanded version of the Stockyards historic district. The expanded boundary is a result of updated research from both Historic Fort Worth Inc. and the Landmark Commission.
Since the Landmark Commission includes members with specific expertise and experience in preserving Fort Worth's heritage, their recommendation of a larger boundary should receive special attention. The City Council has proposed a smaller historic district and makes the ultimate decision on April 5.
Contrary to misperceptions, an expanded boundary does not stop, nor hinder, development. It does mean that there will be historic design review by the Landmark Commission to ensure that Majestic Realty, given $67 million in public tax dollars for preserving the Stockyards, is respectful of the historic significance, and that new development does not overwhelm the historic context and unique sense of place of the Stockyards.
In addition to the expanded boundary, the Landmark Commission unanimously voted to send forward a list of 14 individual structures for historic designation outside the boundaries proposed by the council. This does not preclude demolitions; it ensures that consultation and alternatives are exhausted prior to irreversible action. The Landmark Commission has executed its job with precision. We now look to the Zoning Commission and ultimately the City Council to do the same.