Fort Worth to spend $500,000 to improve safety in entertainment districts like West 7th

The city of Fort Worth agreed Tuesday to spend $500,000 for safety initiatives in entertainment districts like West 7th.

It is the first in a series of steps taken by the city following the murder of TCU-Junior Wes Smith, who shot outside a bar on Bledsoe Street shortly after 1 a.m. on Sept. 1.

The city promised changes after Smith’s death, including an ambassador program, which the city’s Crime Control and Prevention Board voted unanimously to fund Tuesday. The board is made up of city council members.

Funding for the programs will come directly from the CCPD budget, which is supported by a half cent sales tax.

The city will spend roughly $315,000 on a three-person team modeled on a program used in downtown Fort Worth.

The funding is a stop-gap measure until the West 7th area can establish a special taxing district similar to downtown that would fund the ambassador program, said Fort Worth assistant police chielf Robert Alldredge, speaking at the board meeting Tuesday.

The city also plans to spend $140,000 on mechanical traffic bollards in area surrounding Artisan Circle, formerly known as Crockett Row. These would be metal poles built into various intersections that police would be able to deploy to control traffic during the busy weekend hours, Alldredge said.

Right now, Fort Worth police use road blocks and squad cars to block those intersections, which require a patrol officer to be present. The mechanical bollards will free police to address incidents that may crop up in the district, Alldredge said

The city will also contribute $50,000 toward a $150,000 safety study looking at the city’s entertainment districts. The study will cover West 7th, the Stockyards, downtown and the Near Southside to look at ways to improve safety in those areas.

Groups representing each of those districts plan to contribute $10,000 to the study with and additional $50,000 coming from the city’s culture and tourism fund, and the rest being paid by Artisan Circle owners, Younger Partners.