By Milo Merriweather

I first moved to Southern Oaks Apartments in the Wedgwood area in July 2020 after living in Burleson for 16 years and then Fort Worth for five years.

I ended up in this area when I was searching for an affordable apartment after my then roommate moved out of state. I was looking to live near my job — I worked as a Starbucks barista at the time — and have lived in the same apartment since.

The most appealing aspect of this neighborhood is the convenience of the area.

I have access to a variety of grocery and convenience stores, options for shopping and entertainment, and many fantastic restaurants all within walking distance or a five- to 15-minute drive. If you’re unable to walk or drive to a certain destination, we also have access to more robust public transportation than you may find in other parts of Fort Worth, particularly in the suburbs.

I’m also proud to live in a diverse community that represents individuals from many different racial and ethnic backgrounds and people all across the spectrum of sexual and gender identities. As a queer man with a partner of color, I feel right at home with my many neighbors who are also in queer, interracial relationships.

While I do love my neighborhood, there is always room for improvement. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of natural beauty in the immediate area. Trees are sparse unless you venture into a nearby suburb, and if you want to enjoy a peaceful walk in the park, you’re going to have to drive to one. 

This highlights a significant wealth disparity, ranging from the minimum wage workers who occupy overpriced apartments in poor repair, to the indebted middle class facing rising property taxes, to the wealthy McMansion owners to the west of us, along Bellaire Drive and Meadows West.

Of course, the ones who suffer most from the lack of community resources are our houseless neighbors, who have few places to rest, eat or sleep in the neighborhood. 

In a day, I see at least two or three folks panhandling at intersections all up and down south Hulen, obviously delirious from the unforgiving Texas heat. Because of the lack of trees along the roadsides, they don’t have access to the natural shade needed to keep ambient outdoor temperatures safe and liveable. 

For indoor spaces, there are no shelters or cooling areas, meaning people must rely on the kindness of their neighbors for food, water and a few minutes of air conditioning, which not everyone is willing or able to provide. 

I can’t say how much longer I will be here. While I love my neighborhood and the people in it, the community as it stands mostly consists of large businesses, raising the rent well above the actual value of the apartment buildings, which neighbor Raising Cane’s, Starbucks, Walmart and 7-Eleven.

If I find an opportunity for better housing on my income, I will have to bid the Wedgwood neighborhood goodbye, but I will always remember it fondly.

Milo Merriweather, 28, is originally from Oklahoma and moved to the Fort Worth area in 1999. The “zillenial,” as he considers himself, has been a barista at Black Coffee, 1417 Vaughn Blvd., in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood since February 2022. 

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Marcela Sanchez is a 2023 summer reporting fellow. She’s a North Texas native pursuing a master's in journalism, media and globalization from Aarhus University in Denmark and Charles University in the...