Near East Side Neighborhood Association Accomplishments

We are the Near East Side Neighborhood Association (NESNA), a registered neighborhood association with the City of Fort Worth since February, 2002.  The purpose of our organization is to “provide an organized framework to promote, preserve, and enhance the quality of life and increase property values in the Near East Side neighborhood”.  The Near East Side Neighborhood Association has a long history of engagement and collaboration in order to promote and enhance our area and the City of Fort Worth (CFW).  Over the last 15 years we have made great strides in the beautification, sanitation, and safety of our neighborhood and its residents.

Please see the below for a detailed description of accomplishments we have achieved since our inception in 2002:

  • Established neighborhood association with defined identity, logo, and membership embracing social service providers and business/property owners to improve quality of life for all.  Installed street sign toppers and flags throughout neighborhood.
  • Street Trees – 10 installed on East Lancaster.  Trees donated by CFW.  Installation, maintenance and replacement trees funded by property owners.
  • Trash Cans (20) – Acquired permission to install trash cans throughout neighborhood.  Initially, colorful painted trashcans by Jo Dufault and the children of M. L. Phillips Elementary School, Fort Worth ISD.  Later replaced by permanent used trashcans with help of City of Fort Worth Code Enforcement.
  • Public Art installed on East Lancaster through NESNA collaboration and design –
    •  “A Community in Harmony” at 1316 E. Lancaster, now housing Texans CAN Academy, with collaboration from SEFW Inc.,  and artists from Texas Women’s University, Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College, Terrell Elementary, Tarrant County Youth Collaboration.
    • Mural on south side of 1350 E. Lancaster on Union Gospel Mission (UGM) building bordering Unity Park.  Designed as part of a Safe Cities project.  The mural, entitled “Imagine No Violence” was painted on a Saturday by over 400 members of the community of FW.
    • Sister Cities mural at Near East Side (NES) western gateway; 1111 E. Lancaster, funded in partnership on UGM-TC building.
    • Selected artist for installation of 24 metal street light banners with images selected by  NESNA, to be installed June 2014
  • Bottle Bounty Program in collaboration with east side neighborhood associations eliminated decades of glass bottles littering public and vacant private land.
  • “No Parking” Traffic Control Plan – With the help of Neighborhood Police Officer and Traffic Engineering, maps were prepared showing strategic location of “No Parking-Tow Away Zone” signage around the Presbyterian Night Shelter (PNS), the UGM and other properties.  Street closures, alley vacations, and a flashing warning light to slow traffic on E. Lancaster were also included.  Strategies intended to help control drug trafficking and traffic accidents.
  • Rezoning of NES to MU-2, High Intensity Mixed Use, including new zoning rules for shelters;
  • Loft Development – Lancaster Lofts, including 12 market rate live-work apartments for rent, were constructed, returning a 4 story historic warehouse to productive service in the community.  10 professional artist studios leased on ground floor plus common area for workshops and events.
  • Christmas Gifts – For 3 years, purchased personalized Christmas gifts for over 100 men, residents of the Union Gospel Mission program with 7 new businesses, organizations and individuals participating.
  • Trash Collection Program – Program with services purchased by competitive bid from neighborhood social service providers begun 2003, has continued on a fully solvent basis, paid  by property owners.  This program is being considered for adoption and funding by City of Fort Worth general funds.
  • Designated as CFW Urban Village, presented to City Council to win grant of $800k in master planning and pedestrian oriented street improvements including new lighting, curb-sidewalk-gutter repair and replacement, striping for traffic control.  Master Plan adopted in CFW Comprehensive plan.
  • Vacant Property Reclaimed – A number of lots on the 1300 block of Presidio were acquired, fenced, and brought into constructive use by a partnership of the PNS, UGM, Paulos Properties and Feed by Grace.  The fence ended years of public drinking, trash, drug trafficking and camping that had taken over the area.  Property developed as Unity Park, a private park for the benefit of the NES neighborhood.  Dozens of faith groups participate in programs on Saturdays to discourage distribution of items and food on E. Lancaster where traffic is hazardous and sanitation unavailable.  Added furniture, basketball court, gardens, memorial for homeless people who have died.  Initial beautification funding from CFW community development block grant funds.
  • Control of alcohol sales – successfully protested illegal and excessive alcohol sales at convenience stores at Riverside and E. Lancaster; established positive relationships and consents with owners to eliminate sales of singles and fortified alcohol.
  • New Businesses attracted –
    • Got You Covered, retail venue for police and transportation employee uniforms and accessories, at 1200 E. Lancaster, rehabbed historic Acme Coffee Building
    • Spaceway Studios, 1110 E. Lancaster, recording studios, production and rehearsal space for local emerging bands, rehabbed vacant building.
    • UGM-TC thrift shop warehouse at 1111 E. Lancaster Ave. rehabbed historic warehouse.
    • Cheyenne Construction Company corporate offices in rehabbed historic warehouse 1212 E. Lancaster.
  • Façade Improvement and Renovation–
    • East Side Marble and Granite, improve stucco exterior and establishment of gateway to NES at NES Urban Village center at Pine Street and East Lancaster
    • Multiple façade improvements – Buildings repainted and secured, new windows, etc.
    • Parking lots on E. Lancaster, with neighborhood approved wrought-iron gates and fencing replacing old chain link,
    • Presbyterian Night Shelter added new restroom facilities and moved the entrance to the shelter for greater security.  Demolished buildings at Cypress and E Lancaster and installed parking.
    • New $6.5M construction and renovation of UGM facilities on north side of E Lancaster
    • New $8.4M construction and renovation of PNS facilities women and children shelter on the south side of E Lancaster
    • Rehabbed vacant buildings at 1518 and 1502 E. Lancaster for Veterans Administration Compensated Work Therapy/Addiction programs and Community Addiction Treatment Services for MHMR (local mental health authority).
  • Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Homelessness – Flora Brewer, Don Shisler (UGM), John Suggs (PNS), Mike Zelanko (VA CWT), Steve Braun (Tarrant County Access) and other NESNA members served on the mayor’s committee to develop CFW 10 year plan.  The NESNA contributed recommendations to improve public safety in areas frequented by homeless citizens.  Accomplishments from recommendations include:
    • New city ordinance – no public consumption of alcohol with 1000 ft of shelter or treatment center
    • Additional, dedicated police officers for the NES
    • New police station on East Lancaster with community room
    • Central Resource and Assistance Center for CFW – $13.5m new construction. Approval and construction of a new 25,000 sq. ft. homeless resource center, a private-public partnership that houses an adult community health center.
    • Public camping and clean-up of abandoned belongings protocol for FWPD and Code Compliance
    • With Southeast Weed and Seed, Community Prosecutor project to help divert homeless offenders to services
    • Reduction and relocation of casual day labor from E Lancaster
  • Major Streetscape improvement – sidewalks redone and widened with addition of curbs and gutters and installation of pedestrian lights between the roadway lights which were updated as well.  Enhanced the bus corridor with new bench bus-stop structures added to neighborhood.
  • Addition of 2 new Veterans Administration transitional housing programs for 60 Veterans.
  • New mural added to E. Lancaster, sponsored by property owner.  Focus is on improvements and unity of businesses and mark community gateway.
  • Security Patrol using private security force, both additional officers and cars during afternoon and evening hours.  This added patrol dropped criminal offenses in the neighborhood by 44% and 17% reduction in calls for service compared to earlier year. Program was accepted for ongoing funding by CFW.
  • Blue phones added to the neighborhood to enhance safety and security for consumers and property owners.
  • 2015 Fort Worth Neighborhood Association of the Year Award!

As you can see from the above list, our organization is solely dedicated to promoting the public interest of our surrounding neighborhood, closely located to the downtown Fort Worth area.  We strive to have a balance of activities that promote not only our area businesses, but employees, residents and consumers as well.  Our accomplishments focus on making our neighborhood cleaner, safer and more productive for all of our stakeholders. We have made great strides and marked improvements in cleaning and enhancing our neighborhood, creating public art works, expanding businesses in both public and private corporations and with the addition of a private security force and blue phones, we have made a pronounced difference in the safety of our community.

All of our efforts since the inception of our association resulted in the 2015 Fort Worth Neighborhood Association of the Year Award, reflecting our sole purpose in promoting the public interest of our beloved community.