FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A revitalization of Race Street in the Riverside District began slowly with the vision of several residents.
But Saturday, their efforts hit a snag when thieves stole several homemade garden beds, which were built to start a community garden.
Debby Stein discovered the garden beds missing Saturday afternoon.
Along with a community garden, Stein, along with volunteers and residents had been preparing for an upcoming block party event, to unveil the improvements they have made to the neighborhood.
Several buildings on the street were vacant. Fort Worth resident Debby Stein thought the neighborhood had “good bones” and would be a perfect place for artists and businesses to come together to revive the struggling neighborhood.
Using the Better Block concept started in Dallas, Stein had a vision of what she wanted Race Street to look like.
“What we are looking at for the long term is to make this the Riverside Arts District,” said Stein.
Volunteers are taking the Do-It-Yourself approach and plan to bring pop-up shots, vendors, and art galleries to the neighborhood.
“It’s a really great way to dress up the street and show people, developers, neighbors, and possible tenants what the street could be like as a vibrant commercial corridor,” Stein said.
But along with those amenities, residents requested a community garden be built, hoping that might lead to a farmer’s market.
Residents like Dana Harper built, primed and personalized their garden beds with donated wood and supplies.
“Some of the beds were actually bought by individuals or families. They wanted that to be their bed and they would do a design that was their own,” Stein said.
But thieves stole all 10 beds Saturday. Police believe removing the beds had to have taken some serious effort by thieves, who would have either had to take them apart or use more than one person to carry them into a vehicle.
“They are priceless to us because they have everybody’s hard work, blood, sweat and tears,” Stein said.
“We are not just doing it for ourselves, we are doing it for the community because we want to build the neighborhood up and so it was really heartbreaking ,” said Dana Harper, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 12 years.
Despite the setback, Stein and the residents say they’ll be ready to unveil a revitalized Race Street for their September 8th and 9th events.
“We are going to do a street scape and parking and trees out on the street and lots of seating and it will be a great walkable district,” Stein said.
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