FORT WORTH – Officials from Texas Wesleyan University, the city, the county and area residents joined together Friday to break ground on the Rosedale Renaissance Project, which promises to revitalize an often neglected area of the city.
The Rosedale Renaissance is a $6.5 million project using public and private funds designed to leverage more than $32 million in funds designed for street improvements, for the Polytechnic neighborhood and Texas Wesleyan. The ceremony marked the beginning of new construction for the campus entryway and clock tower, the United Methodist Church Central Texas Conference Service Center and the business incubator center. Road construction on East Rosedale has been ongoing since last spring.
“The revitalization of our home in East Fort Worth will bring real, lasting change and build the foundation for a vibrant economic future,” said Texas Wesleyan President Frederick G. Slabach. “There is no doubt that today marks the beginning of a new era.”
Fort Worth Mayor Pro Tem Zim Zimmerman spoke in place of Mayor Betsy Price, who is recovering from recent surgery.
“You’ve heard of curb appeal – well we’re putting curb appeal in a big way at Texas Wesleyan,” said Zimmerman. “These projects and significant pedestrian-friendly amenities will transform the [Polytechnic/Wesleyan] area of Fort Worth.”
The project has not taken off overnight.
“It’s taken decades really, especially the street revitalization part,” said Slabach.
Slabach said the street revitalization will be more than a resurfacing project. “It’s all the streetscapes, from the curb back to the easement,” he said, comparing it to West Berry just east of University Dr. “It will have period light poles, benches, promenades with sidewalks, so it’s a complete revitalization of the whole corridor,” he said.
One of the last parts of the project to be added was a business incubator center that will be located in the renovated Polytechnic Firehouse. That $400,000 project will result in a center where Texas Wesleyan Business School faculty and students will work with area entrepreneurs and businesses. The business incubator “was envisioned by our Business School Dean Hector Quintanilla to do three things,” said Slabach. “One is to figure out a way to help small businesses in the area. No. 2 is to provide very specific practical opportunities for faculty to do research and practical projects and No. 3 is have our students be able to learn what it’s really like to start and grow businesses.”
Lead construction firm on the project is Thos. S. Byrne Construction and the architect of record is Bennett Benner Pettit.