Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
A southeast Fort Worth community trying to rebuild reached a major milestone with the opening of Renaissance Square. New businesses are opening and hiring locals.
After more than four decades with little to no development, new businesses are opening up and hiring locals in southeast Fort Worth.
While many people might not think twice about retail stores such as Marshall's, Ross and Rue 21 opening, it's a big deal to the neighborhood along East Berry Street near U.S. Highway 287.
The Renaissance Square development offers convenience.
"We had to go way out to the Wal-Marts on Lancaster, the Sav-A-Lots," Willie Winfield said. "It was always way out, but this here is more convenient."
"You know, I done wasted a bunch of time and more money, and I'm just glad everything is here," said Marie Love, of Glencrest Civic League Neighborhood Association. "It makes it easier."
But the development is about more than just convenient shopping -- it is also helping to turn around a long neglected part of the city.
"This is a beautiful place, and I think it's going to continue to enhance and be an opportunity for other people who see southeast as a new mecca," said Devoyd Jennings, President and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce. "And this mother ship, which has landed, will make a difference."
In some ways, it already has made a difference. An Uplift Academy will open up nearby, and new homes and more businesses are likely with more people in the area finding jobs.
"When you look at the unemployment rate in this section of the city, [it] was tremendously high," Jennings said. "Now you go into any of these stores, and they're employing people from their own community."
While it's clear more development is coming, the success so far shows that this community's dream is realized.
"I've lived here 41 years, and we never dreamed of seeing this here happen," said Winfield, saying they very much appreciate the help to their community.
It's been more than 40 years since a development of this size has gone into southeast Fort Worth. It cost developer Lockard around $75 million in investments.