City Moving Ahead with Fort Worth Multipurpose Arena

It doesn't look like much now, but by 2019 a big parking lot next to the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum will turn into the new Fort Worth Multipurpose Arena. It will be home to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, major concerts and sporting events.

There's already major progress underway on a six-story parking garage next door, and on Tuesday night the City Council moved ahead with the next phase of the project.

On Jan. 1, the city will take over the rest of the land where the arena is going. They have to demolish one more building on the lot, then construction gets started.

The arena is set to open in 2019 and nearby neighbors are preparing with mixed excitement and some concerns.

Lafarris Albee has been sitting on the same front porch on Montgomery Street since she was 11 years old.

"Mother and Daddy bought this house," she said.

The view has changed a lot since then and now it's due for its biggest shift yet, with the arena set to be built on a parking lot across the road.

"Traffic flows into the neighborhoods and that's a big concern for everybody," said her husband, Dave Albee.

The 2,200-space parking garage is set to be ready for the 2018 Stock Show, but neighbors worry folks will try to park on nearby streets for free instead.

"When the Stock Show has three rodeos, it is tough to get out," Dave Albee said.

Already, new businesses are jumping on the momentum in the neighborhood. Taco Heads opened on Montgomery back in January.

"Having the arena right across the street, that brings on the weekends 20, 30,000 fans and we're pretty excited about that," said Taco Heads' co-owner, Jacob Watson.

Watson sees an even bigger significance in having a major entertainment venue for a neighbor.

"I think Fort Worth is really turning the corner in terms of becoming a major city," Watson said. "You don't have to go to Dallas. We have all of what you need right here in Fort Worth."

The Albees agree. Even if it means more noise and traffic, they say you can't stop progress.

"No you can't," said Dave Albee.

And that's just how they like it.

"This arena is good for Fort Worth," Dave Albee said.

To address neighbors' parking concerns, the City Council is set to approve a pilot program next week that would put up resident-only parking signs on the streets nearest the new venue.

They'll be testing it out during next month's Stock Show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center next month, and if it works, extend it for the new venue.

The arena is a public-private partnership. The city owns it, but it's managed by a private nonprofit.

Half of the cost to build it comes from private donations. The public is paying for $225 million, and that money is generated by parking, ticket sales and rentals of livestock stalls and pens, along with tourism in a three-mile radius of the arena.

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