By Dee Lara O’Neal
As the homebuying dream became a reality for my husband and I, we both knew that we wanted to settle our family in Fairmount. Both of us called the neighborhood home before we purchased a house here late last year. Both of us were born in the hospital district. I attended Daggett Elementary. We both have worked as a musician and cultural worker respectively in the neighborhood, and we both have been loyal patrons of the neighborhood’s amazing locally owned small businesses.
There is so much to love about Fairmount. From its charming and vibrant historic homes, its central location, the fun and eclectic shops, great restaurants, bars, cafes, the community garden, parks and the community center – there is no denying that the neighborhood offers a wonderful quality of life. Having split my formative years in Fairmount when it was in the throes of neglect and the enchanting but under-resourced Lancaster Corridor in east Fort Worth, I especially appreciate the neighborhood’s amenities, like well-lit sidewalks and easy access to public transportation options.
There’s also a great case to be made that Fairmount, with its enthusiastic and welcoming embrace of local artists, musicians, and creative workers, is the nexus of the city’s cultural life alongside the Near Southside. The neighborhood is home to Arts Goggle, SiNaCa, Arts 5th Avenue and Brooha Market. Being former working artists, my husband and I are particularly thankful and protective of this aspect of our community.
Perhaps most of all, we love our neighbors’ sense of ownership, pride and mutual care. A quick review of associated Facebook groups and events (“Fairmount Girls Night Out,” “Fairmount Parents Connection,“ “Fairmount Eats!”, “Cats of Fairmount,” “Fairmount Cycling Club” and “Fairmount Trash Pirates”) gives a glimpse into Fairmount’s rich community life and the bonds that neighbors have with one another. There has yet to be a day during which I have not witnessed at least one gesture of neighborly care. It comes as no surprise that Neighborhoods USA awarded Fairmount the 2021 Neighborhood of the Year in the Social Revitalization/Neighborliness category.
This is not to say that where I live doesn’t have its share of thorns and growing pains. Once a majority-minority neighborhood, many Black and Latinx families have been priced out and displaced. A column in the Fort Worth Weekly proclaimed Fairmount to have “reached peak gentrification” in 2018.
Seeing the influx of whiter and wealthier neighbors, skyrocketing rents and real estate prices, increasingly burdensome property taxes, and the scarcity of visible Black and brown people in government and private organization leadership positions, it’s hard not to agree with that statement. Many friends and neighbors that have put roots down and called Fairmount home for a decade or more are bracing for the inevitable moment that they will be priced out. It’s a fear my family has as well.
In the meantime, we’re encouraged by optimistic conversations among our friends and neighbors advocating for increased affordable housing options, better zoning and planning that allows for Missing Middle Housing, improved funding for public transit and a more equitable solution to regressive tax policies that affect our lower-income and working-class neighbors the most. These policies have left our city (and state) with less money for education and infrastructure.
Total population: 3,401
Female: 48% | Male: 52%
80 and older: 1%
No degree: 17%
High school: 23%
Some college: 19%
Bachelor’s degree: 24%
White: 52% | Asian: 6% | Hispanic: 37% | Black: 4% | Two or more: 2%
Click on the link to view information about the neighborhood’s schools:
Dee Lara O’Neal is the executive director at the Design-Build Institute of America Southwest Region. Dee has a background in arts administration. She studied politics at the University of Dallas and nursing at Texas Woman’s University.
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