The gossip mill began churning awhile ago that Paul Paine, president of Near Southside Inc., the Fort Worth economic development group that helped revitalize the Southside, was retiring and that Mike Brennan, its amiable Harvard-educated planning director, would be elevated into the post.
Of course, the organization, which celebrates creatives and free expression, stonewalled the magazine when we inquired into the rumors. We received Fort Worth's latest worst-kept secret in a letter to members and friends of the Near Southside.
"On May 4th, at our annual Near Southside Shindig, I'm formally announcing an important transition for our community," Paine says in the four-paragraph letter.
He goes on to tout the Southside's accomplishments. "What made the district great 100 years ago is back, and I'd argue stronger than ever! Local businesses, retailers, and restaurants have found homes in old and new buildings that respect our history. Parks and public spaces provide the important connection points that foster community. Our sidewalks are filled with strolling families, workers enjoying a bite of lunch and tourists taking in the sounds of our burgeoning entertainment district."
Paine says in the letter he'll introduce Brennan as the Near Southside's next president at the Shindig.
"The time is perfect to pass the baton to Mike to lead this incredible organization that he has been instrumental in shaping…The time is right for Mike to take the lead, working as always in close partnership with all you wonderful crazies that continue to make the Near Southside everything that is today."
Brennan is known in Fort Worth circles for having gone car-lite, getting around on bike, bike share, bus, foot, and train. No indication yet whether this promotion with force that issue.