Council approves Open Space Conservation Program Strategy Report
Published on April 26, 2022
The City Council adopted the Fort Worth Open Space Conservation Program Strategy Report on Tuesday. Developed over the last 18 months by city staff and Trust for Public Land, the report provides a comprehensive framework to guide the conservation of high-quality natural areas throughout the city, providing environmental benefits and recreational opportunities that support economic development and enhance the livability and desirability of Fort Worth.
The effort includes a state-of-the-art online mapping tool that uses a data-driven approach to prioritize areas for conservation. The strategy report provides recommendations for funding, maintenance and long-term stewardship of the city’s green spaces. The program draws upon TPL’s experience in land conservation and park creation for how the city can develop a successful open space program.
“Through our work on this report, we saw firsthand how eager Fort Worth residents are to protect and conserve the city’s beautiful open spaces and natural areas,” said Robert Kent, Texas state director for Trust for Public Land. “By adopting the Open Space Conservation Strategy Report, Fort Worth City Council took bold action which will lay the foundation for the comprehensive protection of the city’s open space for the benefit and enjoyment of generations to come.”
TPL conducted a public survey of Fort Worth residents and found that nearly 96% of respondents said conserving natural areas in Fort Worth is “very important” and almost 99% said that the city should establish a permanent program to conserve natural areas for future generations.
Adopting the report is a critical step in ensuring that the voices of residents are heard and that open space protection and access is prioritized.
The report will serve as a roadmap for the future of the Open Space Conservation Program and lays out how preserving open space across the city can improve ecosystem health, community well-being, recreation access and economic development, among other areas. Recommendations from TPL and others involved in the report’s creation include securing local funding for open space, directions on policy approaches and incorporating input from the community and elected officials into conservation efforts.
“Residents are always surprised to hear that every single week in Fort Worth an average of about 50 acres of open space is developed,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker. “We’re the fastest-growing big city in the nation, which creates tremendous opportunity for our community, but we also know that this growth poses the risk of overdevelopment of our beautiful open spaces across the city. I appreciate the foresight of our city leadership and staff in the commitment to work with Trust for Public Land on an Open Space Conservation Program that puts us on the right track to balance growth and conservation now and in the future.”
More than 1,500 people were involved in the creation of the open space report, from community members who participated in the online survey to local public sector and nonprofit employees who guided the mapping effort and community engagement as stakeholder group members.
Learn more about the Open Space Conservation Program.
Photo: In 2020, Fort Worth purchased 50 acres of prairieland in east Fort Worth known as Broadcast Hill for $610,000. The land will be preserved as open space and maintained consistent with the way in which adjacent Tandy Hills Nature Area is maintained.
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