Near Southside strives to be economic powerhouse of Fort Worth

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The Near Southside community, a pocket of Fort Worth, is on its way to making an even bigger economic impact in the city.
This district has evolved into a vibrant and economically viable area, over the last decade in Fort Worth. The area has seen an increase in restaurants and retail, as well as growth in the city’s medical district.
Representatives of Fort Worth South, Inc., a private non-profit development organization, said the community is continuing to grow as it preserves its historical charm.
Paul Paine, president of Fort Worth South, Inc., said he and his staff have many goals to enhance the Near Southside district’s future.
He said the growth of Fort Worth’s health care industry is contributing to the city’s – and the community’s – growing economy. The Near Southside is home to two major hospitals and two medical centers in the area.
The new medical school partnership between TCU and the University of North Texas Science Center could also benefit the community, Paine said.
“Our future, I believe, is tied to the UNT Health Science Center and their collaboration with TCU in offering an MD program,” Paine said.
Paine said there is a county bond proposal to develop more than six acres of land John Peter Smith Hospital currently owns. The proposal includes building a 1o-story patient tower, psychiatric hospital and other renovations throughout the facility.
“If all of that were to come together, I think that will take the Near Southside to a whole other level,” Paine said.
Paine said he also believes the newly funded Hemphill and Lamar street connector will be complete by the end of 2018. This will give the Near Southside better connectivity to Downtown that it currently lacks, he said.
Paine said he conducted an “economic impact analysis” of the hospital district in 2013. He said the results indicated the hospital generated $4.2 billion in Fort Worth each year.
“If we continue to grow, we have the potential to be the largest economic driver, as a district, in the city of Fort Worth in five to 10 years,” Paine said.