2021 Neighborhood Award Winners Announced Saturday – Welcome to the City of Fort Worth

Posted on February 14, 2022

The 2021 Fort Worth Neighborhood Awards were announced on Saturday, February 12 at the Mayor’s Neighborhood Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the Meta Fort Worth Data Center.

The City of Fort Worth created the Neighborhood Awards to recognize the best projects and activities that bring neighbors together and make Fort Worth a stronger community.

The Community Engagement Office accepted nominations in five group categories, with HOAs and voluntary neighborhood associations competing separately. There are also four individual award categories.

Group categories

Neighborhood bulletins are judged on content and appearance, as well as how well they reach their target audience.

OHA winners:

  • Arcadia Park Estates.
  • Dorado Ranch.
  • Glen Park.

Winners of voluntary associations:

  • Berkeley Square.
  • Carter Riverside.
  • Oakhurst.
  • Ridgea North.

the Fort Worth Pride Award is donated to an organization that improves physical aspects of the neighborhood, such as beautification or cleanup.

The winner of the HOA category was Heritage Homeowners Association for its tree planting project in Barksdale Park, initiated by a couple of high school students who wanted to beautify the area and bring the community together. The city forester has approved 25 free container trees, and the city’s parks and recreation department has identified the best places to plant. Over 50 community volunteers participated.

The winner of the voluntary association was the Lake Como District Advisory Council. The neighborhood worked with the Lake Como Cemetery Association to revive the community’s 80-plus-year-old cemetery. More than 150 community and professional volunteers cleaned, landscaped, repaired fences, and followed Texas Historical Commission rules to recognize their historic cemetery.

the Spirit of Fort Worth Award is granted to associations that promote social revitalization, promote the cultural aspects of the neighborhood or simply make residents feel welcome and connected.

HOA winner is Hulen Heights for reimagining many social events for COVID safety protocols. For example, the annual egg hunt became an Easter parade, with children collecting eggs in front of houses along a one-mile route, instead of all being grouped together.

The benevolent association winner was West Meadowbrook for reaching out to new partners for its National Night Out event at the new Reby Cary Youth Library. By partnering with the library and other groups, they have attracted their most diverse audience ever.

the Civic Engagement and Community Collaboration Award recognizes neighborhoods that partner with others to tackle important or creative initiatives. They can work with city staff, elected officials, schools, businesses, or other neighborhoods and civic groups to bring positive change to their neighborhood or the city as a whole.

HOA winner Fossil Creek Estates worked with neighbors in Bonds Ranch, Dorado Ranch and the North Fort Worth Alliance to start a petition and successfully fight a zoning change that residents say would alter their pastoral neighborhood .

Neighborhood volunteer winner Greenway worked with the 6:8 Project and Habitat for Humanity on home maintenance issues that affected the safety and well-being of neighbors. At no cost to families, they fixed water leaks, broken faucets and toilets, replaced unsafe decks and fences, and helped elderly residents with housework and gardening.

the Health and Wellness Awards honors a significant effort to promote health and well-being, safety, exercise and recreation, all of which lead to a better quality of life.

Heritage Homeowners Association won in the HOA category for its swim team, which is open to swimmers of all ages and abilities, including those with special needs. The team of nearly 250 members is supported by volunteers who raise funds and organize the swimming competitions.

The voluntary association winner is Greenway for building trust in the community in the benefits and safety of COVID vaccines. Greenway has set up four vaccination clinics in the neighborhood. After more than 140 residents got vaccinated and shared their positive experiences with others, Greenway held three more clinics.

Individual awards

Individual winners were nominated by members of the communities they serve.

the Danny Scarth Trailblazer Award is named after former City Council member Danny Scarth, who died last November. But his legacy of public service, inclusion and kindness continues.

The award recognizes an individual who, in their everyday life, raises awareness and makes real change that improves opportunities for people with disabilities.

Winner Elaine Klos is a longtime local advocate for mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities through MHMR Tarrant County, the Center for Transforming Lives and others.

Code Compliance Manager of the Year recognizes an agent who investigates, documents and ensures compliance with municipal codes, ordinances and zoning regulations while being courteous, efficient and providing positive customer service. This year’s winner was nominated by not one, but two quarters,

Neighbors in Jinkens Heights-Crestridge say their code manager explains things to neighbors — instead of just writing quotes. They say he is compassionate and kind, always following up on cases and attending neighborhood events.

This same code officer serves Eagle Ranch. They say he reaches out and builds relationships — and is the reason more residents have joined the Code Ranger program, resulting in a safer, more attractive neighborhood.

The Code Officer of the Year is Kenneth Mendez.

Last July, while attempting to rectify a chronic tall grass complaint, Code Officer Mendez and Police Officer Rafael Salazar were met with multiple gunshots from the landlord. Both officers worked to protect the mowing crew as well as nearby neighbors. No one was hurt.

neighborhood patrol officers, or NPO, do everything ordinary police do. But NPOs also identify crime trends in the neighborhoods to which they are assigned, communicate with residents and business owners, attend community meetings and events, and recruit volunteers for Citizens on Patrol.

Finalists:

  • Doyal Gilbert, nominated by Highland Hills. Gilbert monitors older neighborhood residents and plays a major role in helping neighbors plan safe and positive community events such as clean-ups and food giveaways.
  • Del McNeal, nominated by Woodhaven. In an area where 90% of the population lives in apartments, neighbors say McNeal gets to know the apartment managers, their properties and their residents. Neighbors credit him with the overall safety of the neighborhood.
  • Daren Merck, appointed by Carter-Riverside. Merck shares updates at association meetings, answers calls and emails from neighbors around the clock, participates with Citizens on Patrol, and attends all major neighborhood events.
  • Jesus Nava, nominated by Garden of Eden. Nava provides weekly crime reports, alerting neighbors and businesses to trends, such as theft of catalytic converters. He also answers questions from neighbors about their rights as citizens and attends neighborhood social events.
  • David Nicholson, nominated by Lake Como. Neighbors say Nicholson is listening and taking action. He participates in every community cleanup, finds resources for street people in the area, helps school crossing guards at dangerous intersections, and mentors young people in local schools.
  • Rafael Salazar, nominated by Eagle Ranch. In addition to her regular duties, Salazar has helped neighbors organize outdoor social events to combat isolation during COVID-19. He was also part of this heroic effort with Code Officer Mendez, protecting the lawn crew and neighbors from gunfire.
  • Derrick Simpson, nominated by Park Glen. Simpson takes calls from neighbors, responds to security issues and attends countless community events. At Park Glen Elementary, he caught the attention of several hundred students during a safety presentation. Neighbors say he changed the way they view the police.
  • Mike Vargas, nominated by Wedgwood Square. Vargas helps ensure safety and security at all neighborhood events. It also allows young people to see his patrol car up close, removing their fear of law enforcement and cultivating inspiration and a sense of community.

The winner was Officer Del McNeal.

the Neighbor of the year The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding service has had a positive impact on people in their neighborhood. The best candidate for this award is not necessarily a leader or association leader, but rather an unsung hero of the community in which he lives.

The winner was Brenda Sanders-Wise from Garden of Eden. Residents say Sanders-Wise is the neighborhood watchdog, whose leadership and diplomatic skills benefit everyone when challenges arise. Whether as an officer or just a member, she is a motivator who empowers others by sharing what she knows. For example, she recently taught seniors how to hold Zoom meetings during COVID. Leadership skills honed at the neighborhood level have led Brenda to other community activities: with the Tarrant County Black Historical & Genealogical Society, the steering committee of the city’s African American museum, an elementary school reading mentor, and, more recently, she was sworn in as the first African American elected to the Birdville School Board.

Neighborhood of the Year is chosen from all the neighborhoods. The winner is Heritage HOA. While listening to the needs of its own members, Héritage has also opened its doors to others. This association has used its vast resources to create an unparalleled sense of community for its residents and the community as a whole. They actively create a legacy of leadership, generosity and a sense of belonging.

Judges also cited the breadth and inclusiveness of Heritage HOA’s Freedom Fest, Trunk-or-Treat, Hurricanes Swim Team and other events.

The Community Engagement Office will send a Heritage HOA representative to the Neighborhoods USA National Contest in Little Rock in May.

The awards program has been recorded for viewing on the Fort Worth City Hall YouTube ChannelFort Worth TV and the Community Engagement webpage.

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