Rocky Transition for Fort Worth's South Main Street

Fort Worth's Near Southside neighborhood continues to be a popular place to eat, drink and build. But there is pain with progress, as travel on South Main Street has been rough lately thanks to construction.

"Where you see the pebbles there, it was just a complete hole," said Kathleen Culebro of Amphibian Stage Productions.

Culebro said the sidewalk outside the studio had a big whole in it a few months back. Thankfully, she was able to contact the contractor and they fixed it within a few hours.

For drivers and businesses, there's simply not much they can do about the work, except to let it be finished.

"I'm just determined to be positive about it," Culebro said.

As positive as Culebro is about the mess outside the production house, there have been a few negatives from the work.

"Our second show of the season was hit very hard," she said.

Detours and closures led to smaller audiences, but the artistic director knows in the long run it will all be worth it.

"Take a look at what's happened at Magnolia [Avenue]," she said. "How it looked before and how it looks now. That's kind of what's going to happen here."

It's a complete street project that will make the sidewalks wider, add trees and historic lamp posts and make the beat up street much easier for bikes and cars to travel on. The project costs nearly $9 million because before the street gets a facelift, crews are replacing water and sewer lines beneath the aging street.

"Definitely headaches involved, it's a construction project that is replacing old infrastructure," said Mike Brennan, planning director for Fort Worth South. "There are things underground that we didn't know about, the city did not know about."

Brennan said the underground work is the most challenging for the project. Fort Worth South helps with development on the city's Near Southside and helped develop this project.

Brennan said in a few months, work on the complete street design will begin, but there are numerous projects already under way before the street is even finished.

"It's also going to be a catalyst for the investment that we've already seen," he said.

There's a new apartment building going up at South Main Street and Pennsylvania, which is incorporating an older building into the new structure. UT Southwestern has a facility under construction across the street, as well. There are also new businesses that have opened up, including Republic Street Bar on Hattie Street and Pouring Glory on Bryan Avenue, both a block from South Main.

While the construction dealt a blow to Amphibian Stage Productions' audience earlier in its season, things are looking up as they will help guide people in through the detours to get them in the doors.

"This weekend was sold out," Culebro said.

The project won't be finished for about another year, but Culebro and Brennan urge folks to visit existing businesses even during construction to keep them up and running.

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