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KENNEDALE, TX—This town of 7,000-plus has some great things going for it, not the least of which is that it combines small-town charm with an ideal location just southeast of Fort Worth. “If you go back into the neighborhoods, this is a lovely community with a lot of great houses that have higher values than nearby Mansfield and South Arlington,” notes Jack Thompson, whose Fort Worth-based company Orasi is providing economic development consulting services to Kennedale.

But in the past, Kennedale has had trouble attracting developers, with the reason boiling down to three words: sexually oriented businesses. “This had an enormous impact on development and interest,” says Bob Hart, Kennedale Economic Development Corp.'s executive director. “When we talked to some industries about relocating here, every one of them told me to call them back when the sexually oriented businesses at the north end of town closed down.”

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