Near the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX, locals have a saying about the aircraft reverberations in the sky: “That noise is the sound of freedom.”
Despite the noise, the Joint Reserve Base forms a big part of the area’s identity and economy. The six cities that surround the base—Benbrook, Lake Worth, River Oaks, Sansom Park, Westworth Village, and White Settlement, TX—have a vested interest in supporting that economy, and in growing together as a region. In 2010, they came together to form the Planning for Livable Military Communities (PLMC) project, made possible by a Community Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The PLMC project builds on the six cities’ 2008 Joint Land Use Study, created in coordination with Tarrant County, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and other transportation and housing stakeholders. The resulting Regional Vision Report offers a blueprint for advancing common economic and quality-of-life interests through collaborative strategies among the communities, with the five smaller communities also producing their own comprehensive plan visioning document that outline specific goals, policies, and actions to improve quality of life, economic development, transportation options, housing choice, intergovernmental coordination, and cooperation with military operations.
Real estate market analysis determined that aging buildings and disinvestment were causing a tax base decline in many parts of the study area. From this analysis, the seven communities came together to identify six catalyst sites for targeted reinvestment, which could together generate up to $41 million in annual revenues and add 9,400 jobs within the next 10 to 20 years. Additionally, they produced strategies for revitalization through business development, a new technology center, and branding an identity for the area.