By Rolando Guerrero, Jr.
For me, “Where I live” is kind of hard to answer. But, for the sake of this series, I’ll proudly proclaim the Riverbend neighborhood in Haltom City.
However, as a life-long Fort Worthian, I’ve lived in many parts of this amazing city.
I spent most of my early childhood in the Forest Hill suburb of the city. It was the perfect place for me to be a kid in search of community. I remember riding my bike to the local flea market off of Mansfield Highway and just walking around observing the commotion of the people interacting and haggling the price of an old Panasonic VCR. I felt right at home. This was just the start of my journey.
When I was 9 years old, my family and I moved from the suburbs to a completely different setup. We settled in what was then called the Ripley Arnold Public Housing Development. I know public housing generally gets a bad rap for gang and drug activity, but I never experienced anything like that while I lived there. We had an active community center across the street from my door and was a stone’s throw away from the Tandy Center subway system. So, every weekend, I’d make my way, via the subway, to the Fort Worth Public Library children’s computer lab. The internet wasn’t an option back then so I’d peruse through their collection of PBS CD-ROMs to get my learning on. Arthur’s Brainteasers and Little Critters were my go-to. So again, exploring my surroundings was always something I wanted to do, even at an early age.
Once we learned that the RadioShack headquarters were going to overtake the area where we lived, we moved to the East Side of Fort Worth, off of Miller Avenue. Miller Avenue wasn’t in the best of shape back in the late 90s and early 2000s. Our home got broken into a couple of times, I witnessed a drive-by shooting or two and observed many suspicious characters walk up and down the street. My sense of community and exploration came to a halt during that time.
Hoping for a better situation, my family moved a neighborhood over, closer to Seminary Drive. It was a definite improvement; my family found their forever home there. The fact that we were down the street from my grandmother was a plus, too. She was the glue that held us together. When I graduated high school, I got a scholarship to go to Texas Christian University. Per the terms of my scholarship, I had to live on campus all four years while I went to school. Here I got to experience life near Berry Street and University Drive.
After graduating from TCU. I got a job at a local marketing agency named Agency Habitat. It officed near West 7th Street so it made sense to look for housing nearby. I ended up leasing a home off of Camp Bowie Boulevard and Hulen Street in the Arlington Heights neighborhood. My daily commute was only 10 minutes to the office, but for some odd reason I’d still always show up 15 minutes late. Funny how that works.
In 2013, I got engaged and moved in with my fiancee’s parents in the Diamond Hill area of Fort Worth. This neighborhood is like a second home for me. Nowhere in the world will you get better flour tortillas from the local Food City Supermarket or snow cones from Diamond Hill Snow. They have my heart and I’d highly recommend them.
After we saved up enough money, we finally found our home in the Riverbend neighborhood in Haltom City. The location was perfect.
We are 15 to 20 minutes away from all of our favorite things: Alliance Town Center, Northeast Mall, Downtown Fort Worth, DFW airport, our jobs and our families. We briefly looked at homes in the Alliance area but didn’t want to get caught up in I-35 traffic. Haltom City seemed to be the perfect spot to get us where we needed without delay because we are constantly on the move.
Riverbend by the numbers
Census Tract 1102.03, Tarrant County, TX
Total Population: 9,042
18 or under: 33%
19 to 64 years: 60%
65 and over: 7%
No degree: 16%
High school graduate (includes equivalency): 35%
Some college: 31%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 12%
Median Household Income (in 2019 dollars): $63,604
Mean Travel Time to Work (persons 16 years or older): 27.3 minutes
Another reason we liked our neighborhood in Haltom City was because of its proximity to the local high school. We have a great high school that seems to always be active in and around our community. They regularly have community events and rallies in their huge parking lot, and during soccer and football season, we can hear the roar of the crowds present at the athletic field across the creek from our home. The fact there are always people roaming the campus and area police constantly patrolling the grounds makes me feel safe and confident in my surroundings.
One of the best features about the area along I-820 and Haltom Road is the steady growth we’ve had in the past couple of years. We’ve had a new housing development at High Pointe take shape behind the water tower and several industrial warehouses constructed along Northern Cross Boulevard. Opportunity is booming here, and I’m so glad I can witness it near my neighborhood.
Even though we’ve had many properties constructed nearby, we’ve still managed to keep beautiful stretches of vacant land available for horses and cattle to roam on. We pass by them almost every day during our commute to work. There’s even a plot of land that is occupied by a handful of miniature ponies that almost always has a crowd at the fence hoping to pet one. It’s just nice to have both a growing community and an expanding industrial presence, peppered with stretches of land and livestock. Gives us a sense that we are still in Texas and that we need to slow down and remember our roots.
So I invite everyone to visit north Haltom City. We have an amazing walking trail in Buffalo Ridge Park; loud high school athletic events; an expanding business sector that shows no signs of slowing down; and the tranquil views of undeveloped land devoted to your favorite farm animals.
I’m so thankful to be a part of this community and the other communities that helped shaped me into the person I am today. I live in Haltom City, but I’m a Fort Worthian all the way down to my boots.
Rolando Guerrero, Jr. is the senior digital art director at Agency Habitat. He has lived in the Riverbend neighborhood in Haltom City for seven years. Guerrero is an alumnus of Texas Christian University and a Fort Worth native. To tell the story of where you live, please send your essay to email@example.com and Managing Editor Thomas Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org.