When driving around the south side of Fort Worth, signs and murals speckle Hemphill Street reading “Hemphill No Se Vende,” which translates to “Hemphill Not For Sale.”
The signs are a response to the city of Fort Worth’s proposed plan where new developments of multi-family units are to be built on an 11-acre lot on the corner of South Jennings Avenue and West Biddison Street.
After multiple attempts to contact Fort Worth City Councilmember Elizabeth M. Beck, who is the District 9 representative for the south side of Fort Worth, there was no response.
Only eight minutes from the TCU campus, Hemphill Street barbershop owner and TCU dad Rudy “The Barber” Avitias is one of the local business owners who has this sign posted in front of his shop.
“I hope that the neighborhoods stay neighborhoods, single-family homes,” Avitias said. “We do want development but the right type of development, so I hope we could come together and decide what needs to be done and what is right for Southside.”
Avitias currently lives on the same street he grew up on. Over the last 25 years of cutting hair, he has built his own shop where his wife also works. Avitias has cut the hair of multiple TCU athletes, students and faculty, and he has also received a TCU basketball jersey signed by Don Alex Robinson Jr.
After 10 years on Magnolia Street, Avitias’s shop was pushed out to Hemphill Street.
“Little by little rent started going up. One business moved. Another business moved until it was my turn. I had to move because I couldn’t afford the rent anymore,” Avitias said.
The barbershop now resides on Hemphill Street, where Avitias is in the process of purchasing the building.