This article was produced by Fort Worth Economic Development.

The Full-Strength Fort Worth Initiative Is Expanding Economic Mobility and Opportunity in America’s Fastest-Growing City

There is no question that the distinctive neighborhoods of Fort Worth, Texas, are a bedrock of culture, innovation, and economy for the city. With revitalization at the forefront of the city’s economic strategy, municipal leaders are focused on aligning the community and creating sustainable growth for all residents. 

Black Coffee is a prominent small business located in Fort Worth’s Polytechnic neighborhood.

Removing Barriers to Business for All Entrepreneurs

The initiative—called Full-Strength Fort Worth—is a “comprehensive revitalization strategy that prioritizes equity and preservation, celebrates diversity, and creates exciting communities where everyone can thrive,” the city announced. Full-Strength Fort Worth has helped identify development projects, support services, and strategic partnerships that will revive business corridors across the city.  

One of the most impactful initiatives has been the launch of CDFI Friendly Fort Worth. Established in January 2022, this nonprofit financial organization exists to match community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to specific financing needs in Fort Worth. CDFI Friendly Fort Worth provides small business financing and creates more equitable opportunities for historically under-financed communities and businesses to access affordable lending.  

This past year, CDFI Friendly Fort Worth distributed more than $10 million in loans across Fort Worth. Securing the right resources to launch and grow a business can be difficult for minority-owned businesses whose access to capital is often limited. CDFI Friendly Fort Worth helps minority owners better manage financial risk by providing the right resources and lower rates.  

CDFI Friendly Fort Worth has become a critical way to grow a diverse business ecosystem, for both business owners and the people they employ. Each new business financed represents a critical step and equitable driver in the revival of vibrant communities that make Fort Worth special. By removing one of the biggest barriers that stand in the way of small businesses, residents will see their favorite locally owned shops and restaurants continuously serve their community for generations to come. 

Evans & Rosedale Redevelopment Project. Image courtesy of Hoque Global.

Transforming the Urban Core for the Next Generation

Supporting small businesses goes hand in hand with developing high-quality communities to live and work. Under the Full-Strength Fort Worth framework, a transformative development project is breaking ground this year to revitalize the urban core of Fort Worth. The Evans & Rosedale Redevelopment Project will breathe new life into the Historic Southside of Fort Worth, bringing much needed multi-family housing, commercial office spaces, and traditional urban public spaces to the area.  

The redevelopment represents an investment of $70 million by both Hoque Global and the City of Fort Worth. Best of all, the public-private partnership is inclusive of local residents, positioning them as key decision makers in the design and outcome – a move that aligns neighborhood goals with the city’s priorities. 

In 2023, the project will break ground, and Fort Worth residents will soon notice how the overall development reflects both the design and architectural features of the area’s historic buildings. Community leaders have been deliberate in their revitalization efforts, prioritizing the rich historical and cultural contributions from the African American community within the remarkable neighborhood. 

Upon completion, the urban village project will provide the Historic Southside neighborhood with over 295 multi-family units, live-work units, townhomes, and retail. As Fort Worth continues to grow, this development will set the area up as a desirable destination for minority-owned businesses. 

Ivan Gutierrez and the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently kicked off their Main Street pilot program for the Historic Northside. Photo by Rachel DeLira.

Inspiring Future Growth

To encourage and support future revitalization projects, Fort Worth has kicked off a new pilot program in partnership with Main Street America. Fort Worth is the first city in Texas to partner with Main Street America on a program that spans multiple neighborhood business corridors across the city. The city’s two pilot communities are the Historic Northside and Polytechnic areas.  

As anticipated, growth between the Fort Worth Stockyards and Panther Island is sparking economic vitality for the area. The Historic Northside pilot program will focus on preserving the area’s character, community history and the Hispanic small business hub it’s best known for.  The Polytechnic pilot program will focus on preserving Southeast Fort Worth’s buildings and growing its existing small-business community along Rosedale Avenue and Vaughn Boulevard. Over the next three years, the Historic Northside and Polytechnic will be the two pilot corridors driving economic growth and influencing the future of their respective districts. 

The two districts will work closely with the community to develop a transformation strategy that will guide implementation, organize and train stakeholders, and move the districts toward their long-term goals. Each district will also receive funding for a dedicated program manager, as well as seed funding from the city to support implementation – yet another opportunity where the city and partnering organizations are bridging the gap between residents and leaders to envision the future of their respective districts, together. 

Rich in culture and history, the city is charging a path that revives key areas that have influenced who the city is today. As a result, leaders are moving Fort Worth towards a more equitable economy and working towards prosperity for all residents – a step toward the future with a reverence for the past.  

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