The City Council debate over funding for Fort Worth’s public art program picked up again Tuesday, when council member Danny Scarth proposed to halve the public art, urban village, and transit-oriented development money in the city’s proposed 2014 bond program, and to scrub a few other proposed programs. The goal: to come up with $18 million that council members could redistribute to other projects in the bond program.
“Just so we can be reactionary to our constituents,” Scarth said, noting council members may have proposed projects in their districts that are not fully funded, or funded at all.
The delay of the TexRail commuter rail segment from downtown to southwest Tarrant County means the city may not need all of the money for transit-oriented and urban village development in the bond program, said Scarth, who made the proposal during the “requests for future agenda items” segment of the Tuesday afternoon pre-council meeting.
Councilman Jungus Jordan, who has proposed to eliminate the 2 percent set-aside for public art in the 2014 bond program, has also suggested TexRail’s delay could free up some money now in the bond program for transit-oriented development.
City Manager Tom Higgins told the council that the staff has scheduled a mid-October bond update to give the council feedback from public meetings that have been held thus far on the bond program and to update council members on the ongoing fiscal requirements that some of the projects in the bond program would carry. Higgins said the council could raise Scarth’s proposal then.
Councilman Sal Espino, a public art proponent, responded, “Danny had great ideas, except for the part about public art.”
“If we are going to talk about that, we need to have a separate discussion about public art and involve all the stakeholders,” Espino said.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter