Community organization steps up to achieve enhancement goals for two city parks.

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Since uniting, the Friends of Overton and Foster Park Association have attracted the mayor’s attention and planned its second meeting.

The neighborhood associations of Foster Park, Overton Park, Tanglewood, and Westcliff West as well as OP is a Friend to Me and the Mockingbird Garden Club, two non-profit organizations, are partnering with the City of Fort Worth to improve the appearance of Overton Park and Foster Park, FOFPA president Tom Hutchinson said.

The group is scheduled to meet 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Tanglewood Elementary School. Its initial meeting attracted 63 homeowners who voted for priorities of interest regarding enhancements.

The organization, which represents about 3,200 households, was recently named finalist for the City of Fort Worth Mayor’s 2013 Civic Engagement and Community Collaboration Award, Hutchinson said.

The group hopes to achieve four goals: visual enhancement of the creek system, management of both parks’ natural resources, evaluation of manmade systems and of neighborhood concerns, he said.

“Meeting results show a strong focus to preserve the natural environment by taking care of the mature trees with consideration for enhancing the beauty of the park and native plants, controlling the trash in the creek and restoring the Foster Park duck pond,” said Tim Taylor, president of the Overton Park Neighborhood Association. “Other elements ranking high on the priorities list of attendees were focused on building overall safety by addressing lighting, bike lanes, walkability and access issues.”

The first meeting’s goal, Hutchinson said, was to raise awareness of the initiative and start getting people involved in the project, which he expects will span a decade. The second meeting will focus on gathering input, increasing participation and specifying which projects to develop for the master plan.

Fort Worth landscape architect, Tom Alves, a homeowner in one of the neighborhoods, has been hired to develop the plan, Hutchinson said. The neighborhood associations provided seed money for the project and additional funds are expected to come from future donations and grants. Hutchinson said the group plans to work with city coordinators and expects the City of Fort Worth to approve all plans through its Adopt-a-Park program.

“These parks are an integral part of our neighborhoods and they deserve additional attention, especially at a time when the City of Fort Worth’s resources are declining to meet their needs,” he said.

Hutchinson said the group continues to seek neighborhood involvement and ideas for the parks as well as networking of resources and participation in future community work parties.

“It’s not a matter of change, but a matter of improvement,” Tanglewood Neighborhood Association vice president Albert Garza said. “We want to make a special place better.”

For those wanting to contribute to the discussion, share ideas or learn more about FOFPA or plans for the parks, contact Hutchinson at tomhutch3rd@gmail.com.

 

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