I was lured to my neighborhood because a house was for sale for about $50,000.
Yes, a whole house!
Turns out someone bought it, started renovating and ran out of money. To be honest, this was the only reason I would leave the greatest apartment in the city located in the Sawyer Grocery Building in the Near Southside and my $650 rent.
Unfortunately, I watched it for too long, and by the time I looked at the house, it was sold. I lost out on the house, but fell in love with the neighborhood.
My house went up for sale several weeks later. After being on the market for less than a day, I bought it.
Wondering where my little oasis is? You are not the only one who is confused when I say Sunset Heights. If you have ever traveled on Vickery near the Hulen bridge, you may have noticed random cars poking out of a side street alongside a mural. That is us.
I feel like we are completely hidden in the center of the grocery store trifecta of Central Market, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Situated near Interstate 30, Vickery Boulevard, Chisholm Trail and a short distance from Interstate 20 — getting to a highway is easy. Most things in the city I want to go to are within a 10 minute or less drive.
When it comes to walkability, I am convinced we have the steepest hills in Fort Worth. Please check on those of us at the bottom of these hills because when the ice storms come through most of our cars cannot get out.
Our friendly neighbors at the top of the hill will put out a warning sign that reads “DO NOT GO DOWN THIS HILL” to prevent accidents caused by anyone not aware of the slope. Theoretically, I could walk to Central Market but those hills? They stand in the way of me getting there.
Trust me, they are steep but make for an amazing workout. While I may not walk to Central Market, I do often walk around my neighborhood admiring all of the giant 50-plus-year-old trees and the houses built in the 1950s. Even though I have seen them so many times, each time I walk by I admire each house reflecting the character of itself and the people that inhabit it.
My neighbors are a mixture of young couples and older adults who often wave at you as you drive by or stop to talk to you when you walk by. Years ago, we were plagued with graffiti on the retaining wall entering our neighborhood. Presented with this problem, over 50 people of all ages came together for an eight-hour day of painting.
Wondering how so many people knew how to paint? Turns out paint by numbers is not just for kids. This simple thought of inclusivity allowed for the artist in all of us to feel a part of something bigger than just ourselves. The mural, a pixelated sunset with two silhouetted figures, is meant to show the diversity in Sunset Heights. Thanks to the collaboration on this mural, we were awarded Neighborhood of the Year in 2017.
Most people believe they live in the best neighborhood in the city. But for me I truly believe it is the best place for me.
Total population: 2,061
Female: 50% | Male: 50%
80 and older: 3%
No degree: 20%
High school: 18%
Some college: 31%
Bachelor’s degree: 21%
White: 37% | Asian: 1% | Hispanic: 36% | Black: 22% | Two or more: 3%
Click on the link to view the schools’ Texas Education Agency ratings:
Katrina Johnson is president of SteerFW, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that grows emerging leaders to be civically engaged in Fort Worth.