Fort Worth City Council passed a Stockyards economic development deal 8-to-1 Tuesday night, with amendments that will include public input.
Part of the proposed plan for development at the Stockyards wasn't sitting well with some of the businesses there ahead of Tuesday's vote, though. The anticipation of the issue brought a lot of anxiety to a lot of people, with thoughts of strip malls and chain stores in Stockyards.
At Tuesday night's city council meeting, Mayor Betsy Price wasted no time trying to clear the air, however.
“There's been a lot of misinformation out there on this project,” said Price. “We're committed to the historic character of the Stockyards. We would never stand for it to be turned into a warehouse or a strip mall or a big-box store.”
But there were still some skeptics.
"If you paint a Longhorn on the side of a Walmart, it's still a Walmart,” said Concho Minnick, President of Billy Bob’s Texas.
Minnick says the city needs to slow down any plan to give tax breaks to a developer with a history of big-box stores and national chain restaurants.
"Authenticating elements that give credence to our history: cattle-based businesses, equestrian art, music food…the kinds of things that we're doing right now,” said Minnick.
Tourists like Toni Barron love the western flare and aren’t sold on the idea of anything else.
"I wouldn't want that,” she said. “If it was me, I wouldn't want it. This is so neat, all the old streets.”
"That's why we're here, so I think changing it up that way would just change the image of it all together,” said tourist Mavid Lopez.
According to Councilman Sal Espino, there will be a separate process to address historic concerns and public input on new development, and anything new will mirror the western motif that's already there.
"We're looking for developments that are part of the Stockyards or that enhance the Stockyards flavor,” said Espino. “The Stockyards is to Fort Worth what folks want Texas to be, and that’s what makes Fort Worth so special. When people come to Fort Worth, they feel Texas, and nowhere do they feel Texas more than the Stockyards, and we want to preserve that.”
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