Jenifer Reiner takes the reins as the new leader of the Camp Bowie District
Few aspects of Fort Worth embody the city’s soul better than Camp Bowie Boulevard. Named for the training camp created for the 36th Infantry Division, which took its own name from the famed Alamo defender, the boulevard quickly became one of Fort Worth’s most important thoroughfares. Given its present identity in 1921, Camp Bowie Boulevard attained its iconic brick-lined appearance in 1928.
Thurber Brick, located in the once-bustling city of Thurber, also provided bricks to pave Austin’s Congress Avenue. Unlike Austin, however, Fort Worth has preserved the integrity of its historic and picturesque boulevard. This respect for tradition and love of the westside identity says a lot about Fort Worth, and also characterizes the efforts of the Camp Bowie District.
As a business advocacy group and public-improvement organization, the Camp Bowie District exists to promote greater prosperity and development around the Camp Bowie corridor. The organization recently welcomed a new leader, Jenifer Reiner, to take the helm as president. Ms. Reiner, a career urban planner who has lived and worked around the United States and in Europe, brings a deeply multi-faceted skill-set to her new position.
“I come from a background of municipal city planning, in both the private and public sector,” says Jenifer. “In my work whether as a consultant or city planner, there’s always been a part of the job that’s included economic development.”
Whether it’s construction of new retail spaces or the filling of preexistent ones, Jenifer understands how to smoothly navigate the business and sustainability of development. Though she’s not a licensed architect, Jenifer’s experience in architectural design has led to a deep appreciation of the unique beauty of Fort Worth’s hallmark thoroughfare.
“From an aesthetic point of view, the bricks and historical components of Camp Bowie Boulevard are very attractive, very visually apparent and immediate,” says Jenifer. “The potential of the area, in particular the far west end of the corridor, is amazing, with vibrant local businesses.”
Jenifer cites the development of infrastructure along west Camp Bowie as one of her primary goals. As the former City Planner for Benbrook, which is bounded on the north by Camp Bowie Boulevard West, she inculcated an appreciation for the Camp Bowie area, and an understanding of what it needs to thrive.
“The professional side of me sees nothing but opportunity and wants to help Camp Bowie businesses succeed and expand, to give all westside residents a variety of accessible services and stores,” she says.
As an organization, the Camp Bowie District dates from 2000. It exists as an umbrella name for two non-profits, one of which distributes city tax dollars for public improvements, while the other acts as an advocate for Camp Bowie corridor businesses. In the realm of public improvements, the Camp Bowie District seeks to benefit all corridor businesses, residents and property owners with improvements that include street lights, sidewalks and landscaping and additional infrastructure. As an advocacy group, the Camp Bowie District will utilize its website, as well as social media, events and meetings to coordinate business activities and bring development to the corridor.
As for the future of Camp Bowie Boulevard, Jenifer sees plenty of reasons for optimism.
“The Camp Bowie District stretches for nine miles from the Cultural District to Loop 820,” says Jenifer. “It’s vibrant and diverse, with different sections all doing well. Our main goal is to build a coalition, to bring it all together into a single community along the entire stretch of the corridor.”
From its beginnings as a military route paved with creosote-soaked wooden blocks, to its current identity as Fort Worth’s cultural artery and spiritual heart, Camp Bowie Boulevard has grown and changed alongside its city. With a bright future on the horizon for Fort Worth, count on the Camp Bowie District and Jenifer Reiner to work diligently to sustain and revitalize the historic brick lined corridor.