Fort Worth, Texas — The Texas Public Works Association (TPWA) selected the East Rosedale Street Improvement Project as its 2016 Transportation Project of the Year ($5 to $25 million). The award will be presented during the TPWA Annual Conference in McAllen, Texas on June 17.

10-foot wide brick sidewalks and a seat wall enhance Rosedale Street’s appearance.

Located in southeast Fort Worth, East Rosedale Street connects approximately 12,000 Polytechnic Heights neighborhood residents to downtown Fort Worth from the west and to Arlington from the east. Anchored by Texas Wesleyan University, Polytechnic Heights High School and numerous churches and retail centers, East Rosedale has long served as a “Main Street” for the neighborhood’s diverse population.

The East Rosedale Street Improvement Project is considered to be the centerpiece of a broader public and private Southeast Fort Worth revitalization initiative dubbed The Rosedale Renaissance. The $17.5 million project was specifically initiated to improve the traffic flow, increase traffic safety, encourage pedestrian activity, enhance the area’s appearance with streetscaping and public art installations, and improve drainage. It was substantially completed in September 2015 through a collaboration between the City of Fort Worth, Freese and Nichols, Texas Wesleyan University, Southeast Fort Worth, Inc., North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Fort Worth T, Tarrant County, local business leaders and neighborhood associations.

“The project exemplifies what can happen when community leaders, municipal staff and private entities recognize their mutual interest and unite to improve a neighborhood,” said Frederick G. Slabach, president of Texas Wesleyan University. “The Rosedale Renaissance revitalizes East Fort Worth and the Polytechnic Heights community and signifies the transformation of our neighborhood into a thriving economic center.”

The Mitchell Roundabout, one of two roundabouts along Rosedale Street.

Two miles of roadway were affected by this project. It involved the development of two attractively landscaped roundabouts that eliminate the stop-and-go congestion caused by traffic signals at the intersections. One of the roundabouts will feature a public art installation that is currently being selected. As well, the project tried to preserve and enhance historical aspects of the neighborhood. These efforts included the retention of a historical bridge over Sycamore Creek, the salvaging of Thurber bricks for repair on other brick roads in the city, and the inclusion of historical markers. Construction of a promenade in front of Texas Wesleyan University, along with 10-foot wide brick sidewalks and a seat wall that were installed without injuring or removing the neighborhood’s 60-year-old oak trees, also enhances the street’s appearance.

“East Rosedale has transformed into an attractive and welcoming environment that will turn heads and bring economic development and revitalization to this area,” said Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks. “A high-traffic bus route and new amenities such as benches, lighting and crosswalks were essential and can now be seen all down East Rosedale.”

The project is also notable for receiving a high level of public participation that is unparalleled in Polytechnic Heights’ recent history. More than 30 meetings were held in the neighborhood to obtain feedback from key groups, and a 26-member Advisory Committee representing local officials, property owners, churches, community associations and businesses was established to provide insight on the design. The City of Fort Worth also engaged residents with a website about the community design elements and a page to inform residents about what they could expect when first using the roundabouts. Additionally, an art selection committee was established to consider artists’ proposals for installations.

“It has been an honor for Freese and Nichols to serve as a partner in this transformational project,” said Robert F. Pence, P.E., President and CEO of Freese and Nichols. “This street improvement is doing more than enhancing the appearance of the neighborhood. It is strengthening the community by bringing everyone together to build a better future. This is the aspect of the East Rosedale Street Improvement project that made it stand out from all others as worthy of recognition by the TPWA.”

The TPWA Public Works Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agencies, consultants, architects, engineers and contractors who, working together, complete public works projects.

TPWA is a chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA), an organization that represents professionals in all aspects of public works and serves as an effective voice of public works throughout North America. With a worldwide membership over 28,500 strong, APWA includes personnel from local, county, state/province, and federal agencies, but also private sector personnel who supply products and services to those professionals.