Bunche Park in the Stop Six neighborhood spent about 40 years as nothing more than an undeveloped plot sitting between Dunbar High and Jacquet Middle schools. But in April, construction kicked off for the park’s redevelopment — a project that includes a new playground, and fitness equipment among other features.
“All Fort Worth families should have access to a safe, welcoming area to gather, walk, and play,” Mayor Betsy Price said in a statement. “That’s what this park will be for the Stop Six neighborhood. This effort will truly change lives by giving residents a place to connect and be physically active.”
Ground broke for the 10-acre park April 13 at 5600 Ramey Ave., and construction is expected to finish this summer. It’s a $1.5 million project, whose master plan calls for trails, benches and security lighting along with the playground and fitness stations. City council member Gyna Bivens was able to secure $540,000 in federal funding, while Texas Health Resources nonprofit North Texas Healthy Communities teamed up with advertising company CBS EcoMedia and health initiative Blue Zones Project to donate $86,768, which will cover the cost of the playground and fitness stations.
“We are working to make Fort Worth one of the nation’s healthiest cities, and these kinds of improvements are essential components of that transformation,” Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan said in a statement.
According to Tarrant County Public Health, Stop Six residents suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease at higher rates than other parts of the county. Organizers of the Blue Zones Project, an initiative launched in 2015 that aims to improve the city’s wellness, have been keen on promoting changes throughout the city, from encouraging restaurants to add healthier menu items to helping communities gain easier access to grocery stores — to building a park.
“We know that the world’s longest living people don’t need to go to gyms and do intense workouts every day,” Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth, said in a statement. “They live in environments that encourage movement and surround themselves with healthy-minded friends. This park will allow Stop Six families to get out and move naturally and ultimately contribute to a higher quality of life for the entire community.”