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Residents Expected To Fight New Apartments & YMCA Moving

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Revitalization plans in southeast Fort Worth are expected to draw a crowd at City Hall Tuesday night.

As it stands, the YMCA on Berry Street could be moved and replaced with apartments.

Billy Dewberry and his neighbors live near the Christian association and he said, “It’s not a good idea.”

Dewberry, who sits around an old Hackberry tree everyday and talks politics with his neighbors, has lived in the area since 1969 and worries about an apartment complex becoming his new neighbor. “Apartments should be built somewhere else. This is no place for them,” he said.

The YMCA wants to consolidate two branches into a new one in Renaissance Square and sell the excess property to developer Hap Baggett.

Baggett and his group want to build 250 apartments in the Y’s current location. “People are going to say apartments that came in before they didn’t work well,” claimed Baggett, who helped launch revitalization efforts in Renaissance Square. “They are talking about stuff 40 years ago and has been torn down for 10 years.”

Baggett promises the new apartments won’t be low-income, but neighbors aren’t buying it. “If they put apartments in this area you know – I don’t care what they say – they will be they will become low-income apartments,” area resident Lamasio Washington said adamantly.  “They should just keep the Y here.”

The YMCA could renovate, but CBS 11 News has learned it would cost more than the price of the new construction.

Fort Worth City Council member Kelly Allen Gray represents the district and said she wants to consider everything before making a decision.

“We want to do what we can to support our local YMCA, but we also need to consider the possible impacts of adding hundreds of apartments to an area that already has a concentration of multifamily housing,” she said in a written statement. “Before we commit to anything, I want to hear both sides of the discussion at tonight’s meeting. In the end, our goal is to do what will best serve our community in the long-term.”

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