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Out of Dallas’s Shadow: Fort Worth is Coming into its Own

Sun setting in downtown Fort Worth, Texas USA viewed from Trinity Park

For decades, Fort Worth has languished in neighboring Dallas’s shadow, reluctantly taking on the tag as Big D’s little brother. But all this could change in the near future. Working collectively, the city government and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce are taking bold steps to finally bring their beloved city up to par with its wealthier neighbor.

The Road to Reforms

In 2017, a 500-page economic development plan commissioned by the Fort Worth government made what many considered as a brutally honest assessment of the city. The consensus was, Fort Worth has great potential but also has a lot of work to do to fulfill this potential.

In addition, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce had its own self-assessment and found itself lacking in its contribution to the city’s economic development.

What Fort Worth Has to Offer

Fort Worth has a distinct charm and reputation that have been a source of great pride to the community. The city has always been known as Cowtown. And while this tag is sometimes used to point out its “sleepy” nature next to dynamic Dallas, it’s rooted in Fort Worth’s strong western heritage that many locals refuse to let go for the sake of progress.

Other Fort Worth strengths include:

  • A strong arts and culture scene with numerous museums showcasing the city’s history and wealth of talent
  • Top-rated colleges and universities, particularly in the areas of healthcare, engineering, and life sciences
  • Untapped tourism potential

Moving Forward

Taking the insights gleaned from their self-analysis, Fort Worth officials have announced sweeping reforms and changes in the coming months to invigorate the city’s economy.

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce developed a four-year strategy aimed at driving the city to be “the most thriving, inviting community for all.” Called “Fortify”, the program’s goals include:

  • Attracting four Fortune 1000 companies to open their headquarters in the city
  • Increase the population of young bachelor’s degree holders by 5%
  • Increase awareness of the city as more than just a bedroom community to Dallas

At the same time, the city developed an Economic Development Strategic Plan that aims to do the following:

  • Fast track the growth of high-paying jobs
  • Achieve a more commercial tax base
  • Attract high-growth businesses to the city through incentives, particularly companies in bio-tech, life sciences, and professional services
  • Define the city’s branding to attract the right residents and visitors

What Has Been Achieved so Far

Recent developments have laid the groundwork for the success of Fort Worth’s revitalization efforts:

  • The 25-story Frost Bank Tower, the first high-rise built in the city after more than 40 years, opened in May, 2018 and is almost fully occupied
  • TEXRail or the Tarrant Expressway opened in January, 2019, providing rail line service between Fort Worth and Dallas International Airport
  • The 14,000-seat Dickies Arena is expected to be completed in late 2019, and will host the extremely popular Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
  • Around 46 hotels are currently under construction or are being planned, increasing the city’s capacity by about 40%

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