On Monday night the Forney City Council gathered the council appointed members of the Planning & Zoning Commission, the EDC Board, the Parks Board and the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Board to hear a presentation regarding the future development of the Gateway project.
A public meeting packed with individuals elected, appointed or employed to secure the best possible lifestyle for the citizens of Forney, it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch as almost the entire Forney City Council kissed up to Hunt executives in order to secure a development which will build over 5,000 apartments on the north side of Forney’s “Bridge to Nowhere.”
In a sickening effort to cover-up their true intentions, for two hours the individuals in the room listened to more "Pie in the Sky" rhetoric about the construction of a north side community park, only to ultimately witness Council Member Mary Penn make motion to approve an ordinance allowing the developer to build an excessive amount of multi-family dwellings' on the property located directly behind Antique Row.
Warren Ketteman, Director of the Forney EDC, made a presentation on how the EDC will donate an EDC owned piece of property to be used as dedicated park land. He explained that the EDC will need to pay $300,000 to relocate a high-pressure gas line located on the property before the land can be sold to Hunt developers for use as dedicated parkland property.
Parks Director Richard Curry and Parks Board Member James Hatley spoke at length about their desire to create a new North Side Community Park.
Taxpayers are encouraged to review the plans for this new endeavor and see that this new park will basically consist of several baseball fields, walking trials, parking lots and a concessions stand.
A skateboard park, a swimming pool and other amenities the citizens have repeatedly requested through surveys and at public meetings are teasingly discussed however they are not within the actual design plans.
A privately funded sports facility complete with hardwood basketball courts for tournament play is also being touted by Council Member’s Mary Penn and Shaun Myers. And a flashy presentation was made by a former NWBA basketball player however the taxpayers need clearly understand that this workout facility is a privately funded business that will be located near North Side Park.
However it will not be part of the city’s public park system, nor will it be controlled, policed or funded by the City of Forney. And because the building is being built within the Tax Reinvestment District dedicated for Hunt property development, any property tax collected will not go to the taxpayers of Forney, but will instead go to the Hunts as reimbursement for development infrastructure.
The North Side Community Park and this new, privately owned sports facility is being promoted by the Hunt’s and Council Member’s Penn, Myers, Powers and Moon as a means of distracting the taxpayers from the very real fact that the City Council has made a deal with the Hunt’s to build over 5,000 apartments within the field next to the Gateway Bridge.
Unfortunately, this entire joint workshop was nothing more a ruse to provide the Hunts with a platform with which to inform the community of their plans to build a “sea of apartments” on the north side of Highway 80, between Reeder Road and the back-side of old Antique Row.
As has been reported many times, this was always “the deal” established between Hunt development founder Herbert Hunt and former Forney mayor, Darrell Grooms in 2007.
The time has now arrived to proceed with construction plans, and because the Hunts now have four council members (Penn, Myers, Powers and Moon) lined up to vote their development plans into fruition; the community simply needed to be informed of what will transpire over the next year.
It should be noted that no member of the Forney ISD Board of Directors or the FISD Executive Staff was invited to attend this meeting.
Council Member’s Mary Penn, Robbie Powers, Shaun Myers and Kevin Moon absolutely refuse to meet with Forney ISD officials about their plans for residential growth because they have already decided to honor the “Grooms-Hunt development deal” wither the citizens like it or not.
The members of the Forney Council are well aware that their approval of an outrageous amount of multi-family dwellings will “break the back” of the Forney ISD, and they simply do not care.
Council Member’s Mary Penn and Shaun Myers do not care about the over-crowded situation currently facing the students of the FISD, period. They do not view the over-crowding of FISD classrooms as their problem, and they do not view their actions as making the situation worse for the students attending the FISD.
The taxpayers living within the Forney ETJ cannot vote these council member’s either in or out of office; therefore Mary Penn, Shaun Myers, Robbie Powers and Kevin Moon have deemed it politically safe and ethically acceptable to choose their relationship with Herbert Hunt and Alan Bain over the opinion of the citizens as well as over the students of the Forney ISD.
The Forney taxpayers have only one media outlet willing to share the truth about this quickly developing situation. It is highly unlikely that the new owner of The Forney Messenger, Darrell Grooms, will share in-depth information with local taxpayers about his relationship with Herbert Hunt and Alan Bain.
Therefore, the blatant truth is that the residents of Forney are looking at the construction of four more residential developments within the city limits, three new “hush-hush” water supply districts which are seeking state level approval to develop adjacent to Forney’s city limits, and the construction of slightly more than 5,000 apartments.
The photograph on the right is of Council Member Mary Penn and Petro Hunt President Herbert Hunt after the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Gateway Bridge in 2007.
Visit The Forney Post on Facebook for additional photographs of this development and video clips of this Forney City Council meeting.
Written by: Denise Bell