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ARLINGTON Near Cowboys Stadium, strong hands and strong backs work to beautify the bridges on Collins and Center streets new landmarks that Arlington officials hope will help lure sports fans to the rest of their growing entertainment district.

But along with all of this, there may soon be a natural gas well drilled on Center Street, just north of Randol Mill.

Drilling critic Faith Chatham, founder of DFW Regional Concerned Citizens, claims it will be a major blemish on the city's new front door and, perhaps, a dangerous one.

If we have a gas well and they are fracking, with the big sound baffling, and there is an accident, there is no way to get those people to the hospital because the hospital is right there, she said.

The city s planning and zoning board voted unanimously against changing the zoning to permit drilling on the site. But City Council member Mel LeBlanc said those fears are overblown.

The drill site will be in existence for three to six weeks; most people won t see the drill site, he said. When you are at the site, you won't see the rest of the entertainment district.

LeBlanc said 70 percent of the surrounding land owners have signed up in support of the drilling site, and since gas royalties have earned the city $57 million, he expects Council approval.

The Council was scheduled to vote on the zoning Tuesday night, but the vote was postponed at the request of the drilling company. It will be at least two weeks before another vote can be scheduled.

But when the issue returns, Faith Chatham says so will she, to fight it.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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