FORT WORTH, TEXAS—Paul Lafrance has heard the rumors of a Wal-Mart and other businesses in a redevelopment coming along East Riverside near his Doc's Auto Insurance before.
He waited years for the redevelopment to come.
"I've been counting down the days," he said.
But now, owners are worried that a proposed Chesapeake Energy fracture pond, or a temporary fresh water pond used to store water, for a drilling site may delay the redevelopment of the East Riverside Drive and East Berry Street intersection.
Chesapeake Energy spokeswoman Jerri Robbins said they are negotiating with the city to possibly move the pond more than 200 yards away, and they do not believe it would impact the redevelopment of the area. There is no timetable on when the fracture pond and drilling site might be put in.
"It should not disrupt the plans for the future development," Robbins said.
City officials are reviewing whether they should change their drilling policies to allow city council members the ability to restrict fracture ponds from 13 so-called urban villages in the city.
Lafrance said the city needs to do something to protect the viability of the land and the current business owners.
"I don't think it would be beneficial for the neighborhood or Fort Worth, really," he said. "This neighborhood just needs a little push in the right direction, and it could be a great neighborhood."
The city has designated the intersection as a mixed-use facility, but no work has been done on developing the land. Officials are worried that the fracture pond might ward off prospective developers.
Some business owners said the city needs to take control of the situation.
"Somebody needs to," Lafrance said. "If the city isn't going to help themselves out, who is? If the city isn't going to help out this neighborhood, somebody's got to."
Other business owners don't feel the same way, saying the city hasn't fulfilled their end of the bargain.
"First come, first served," said owner Vertis Jay Harris. "If it's going to be a fracture pond and they [the city] aren't going to develop the property, then let it be a fracture pond."
Lonnie Guillory says he's heard the rumors about a fracture pond and the on-going rumors of redevelopment.
He said the city needs to redevelop the property to bring more people back to the area.
"It's that shot in the arm that we need to jump start this area," he said. "The city has an idea of what they want to do here."