FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Thursday afternoon Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced that a new task force has been created to focus on the recovery of the city’s economy out of the coronavirus pandemic.

The program, called ‘Fort Worth Now’, isn’t be a short term plan, but a 12-month effort focusing on restoring the city’s economy.

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“This COVID-19 panic has been unlike anything any of us have ever seen,” Mayor Price said during the press conference. “Just as any crisis and disaster comes there’s a time when you roll your sleeves up, pick up the pieces and you begin again.”

Price said citizens need to be responsible in their behavior because the fight against the coronavirus is not over and stressed that there are still sick people and residents hospitalized. “Our priority remains the safety of our citizens, but the obligation to keep an economic challenge alive and well is there also,” she said.

The Mayor said the Fort Worth Now initiative will lead a strategic effort to not only recover Fort Worth businesses, but to take the city to new economic heights. “To the businesses who’ve been the backbone of Fort Worth’s economy – we’re gong to help you get back on your feet. But we’re not stopping there, we want Fort Worth to enter a new era of economic growth and prosperity that will benefit the entire city.”

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Elaine Agather, John Goff and Mayor Betsy Price at the announcement of the Fort Worth Now Initiative Task Force. (credit CBSDFW.COM)

The task force is co-chaired by local business leaders John Goff and Elaine Agather. Goff said he realizes that an effort of this magnitude takes money, so he and his wife donated $100,000, in a matching form, to kick start and fund the task force committee.

The creation of task force comes at a time when not only private businesses, but city employees are also facing job cuts.

Fort Worth will furlough at least 79 employees at the end of next week. All of them are part of the Public Events Department, which oversees the Will Rogers and Fort Worth convention centers. They’ll remain on furlough through at least July 31.

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The goal of Fort Worth Now, a public-private partnership, is to come up with a plan to stabilize and restore local businesses and advance the economy coming out of the pandemic.