By: EJ Carrion

When my wife and I arrived in Fort Worth in 2017, we stayed close to West Magnolia. After a few years in an apartment, we contemplated getting a dog and upgrading to a two-bedroom so our friends could stop sleeping on the couch. 

After talking to our landlord and learning the type of dog we wanted was not allowed, and a two-bedroom apartment would be costly, we discussed purchasing our first home. We loved Fort Worth and saw it as a long-term city for us to grow into. We were military kids, so putting down roots and investing in a local community long term excited us.

At the time, we were toying with the idea of living in Fairmount; honestly, that was a tough decision between my wife and me. I wanted to stay near the southside, but my wife wanted a yard and a lower percentage of our income going to housing. I am thankful I married a level-headed person. We stopped looking in Fairmount and went back to the drawing board.

My wife was looking online and learned about West Meadowbrook from an article in Fort Worth Magazine. After work, we drove through the area to see where it was and immediately fell in love with the community. It was more down to earth, had charm, and had big yards with mature trees. From a location standpoint, it was logistically optimal within the metroplex as a whole. 

Even though the neighborhood is called West Meadowbrook, it is on the east side of the city, which is perfect for my work. I travel out of DFW airport biweekly and have to get to Arlington and Dallas for meetings regularly. From a social aspect, the area is two exits from downtown Fort Worth and is the same distance to southside as Arlington Heights — just traveling east to west rather than west to east. It was a perfect match. 

EJ Carrion (left) and Monica Lynott sit with their dog in their West Meadowbrook home. (Rachel Behrndt | Fort Worth Report)

So perfect that while cruising the neighborhood, we saw a “For Sale” sign. We called the number, and the Realtor said they had just put that sign out an hour ago. We were the first to see it and ultimately were able to put in an offer before it got on Zillow. West Meadowbrook became home in 2019.

A lot has changed since 2019. We all have had to face the pandemic, where many of us lost our jobs, turned kitchen tables into at-home offices, and watched the housing market even get more out of whack. West Meadowbrook did a lot for my wife and me during that time as we were fortunate enough to have space, a dog and a local coffee truck, Coffee Folk, within walking distance with great outside seating.

West Meadowbrook Census Breakdown

Population 4,945

49% Male  51% Female

Age

0-9: 17%
10-19: 15%
20-29: 16%
30-39: 14%
40-49: 10%
50-59: 13%
60-69: 8%
70-79: 4%
80+: 2%

Race:

White: 21%
Black: 11%
Hispanic: 62%
Other: 1%

Education:

No degree: 31%
High School: 26%
Some college: 20%
Bachelor’s: 12%
Postgrad: 11%

With my increased free time due to not traveling, I started a local podcast in our extra bedroom with a friend who lives in the neighborhood. The 817 Podcast is a weekly podcast nearly 3 years old. It has become a staple for busy Fort Worthians who want to stay updated on the city’s local politics, trends and business developments.

Now in 2023, I do not just call Fort Worth home. I call the eastside home. I call West Meadowbrook home. I love our diversity. I love our multigenerational households. I love our economic connectedness, which is the degree to which low and high-income people interact and build community. My long-term strategy for my life is here. I want to start a family here. My in-laws just moved down the street. We are all in.

However, as I wrap this article up, I am concerned about one thing. It is not crime. It is not the schools. It is how basic Fort Worth gets when it starts to intrude on communities with a lot of cultural diversity and nuances. The conversation on the eastside is always about grocery stores, but I fear that tune is sending the wrong message. Do we need a more robust grocery store that is community-based? Yes. But not at the expense of our identity. 

We do not need a Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, Red Lobster or IHOP. We have Turkey Den, Coffee Folk, Mariscos El Cachanilla and La Rueda. I believe in our community entrepreneurs, artists and home associations to build what is right and humanistic, representing our residents on the eastside. 

Our area is now part of District 11, a new district filled with a melting pot of underappreciated and highly diverse communities that need a voice. 

Hopefully, communities like West Meadowbrook will now get some representation and a champion who sees that Fort Worth can be a shining example to other cities in preserving authentic, collaborative and compassionate neighborhoods.

EJ Carrion is the CEO of Student Success Agency, a digital support service platform for school districts across the country. He and his wife have lived in Fort Worth since 2017.

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