Carter Riverside is perfect for this young family

dfwnewsa | December 16, 2023 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Carter Riverside is perfect for this young family

Erick C. Jones Jr. and Sarah Maldonado Jones pose for a photo with their two children Andre and Emilia, and their English springer spaniel Lola at Riverside Park, Dec. 1. (Sandra Sadek | Fort Worth Report)
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By Sarah Maldonado Jones

A few years ago, our family moved to the Metroplex after four years in Austin and three years in Houston before that. After a year in Arlington, near my husband’s new job at UTA, we started to look for a new home. While we lived in Arlington, we spent many weekends in Fort Worth taking our kids to the zoo, Stockyards and Sundance Square — and we thought, “Why don’t we just live here?” 

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We knew what we wanted: a modern home, easy highway access, to be within walking distance to parks, trails and the local elementary school, close to a library, restaurants and entertainment, and an overall safe and friendly neighborhood. Despite this long list of seemingly contradictory criteria, we found our perfect home in Riverside and jumped on it right away.

My children and I love to walk to the Riverside Library for events such as Family Storytime, Toddler Towers, or to simply get the book for the local book club discussion. They also host special events such as the Police Chief Storytime. One time the Fort Worth Nature Preserve was there, and I brought my mother, who was visiting from out of town, and sister — along with my kids — to listen to them talk about and show the local wildlife.

My husband and I enjoy taking our 2½-year-old son, 8-month-old daughter and our dog, an English springer spaniel named Lola, to Riverside Park. The kids love playing on the new playground and having picnics by the river with the Fort Worth skyline in the background. We also love how the trails are part of the Trinity Trails network. We take bike rides with the kids all across the city to destinations like Gateway Park, Panther Island Pavilion and the Stockyards, all starting at Riverside Park. Last June, we even organized an Ale Trail for our in- and out-of-town friends; we picked up bikes at the B-Cycle station on Race Street, started at Neutral Ground, then went to Martin House and on to seven other breweries across the city.

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I’m excited about the new coffee shop Enduro that just opened across from Riverside Park. Their coffee is already one of my favorites. 

We love the wonderful restaurants and shops along Race Street and the sense of community they bring to the neighborhood. Even in the short time we’ve been here, we have seen major changes on Race Street and have had to say goodbye to restaurants like Tributary Cafe, La Onda and Zonk Burger. However, we are excited about the new businesses opening up or expanding like Osteria, Tesoro, Calisience and Tropical Lady. We enjoy meeting with friends or bringing guests to The Post to watch live music and sip on cocktails or going to our local brewery Neutral Ground, which frequently hosts events and food trucks. I often stop by Race Street Coffee or Dough’d Up to grab a coffee while I walk around the neighborhood or on the way to the library.

One of the cool things about Race Street is that they host events throughout the year, such as Art All Night, a community celebration of arts and culture, an annual 1K/5K/10K run, farmers markets and rollicks with vendors, music and food. We love supporting local businesses and vendors through these various events. I met Cecilia Navarro, owner of Creatively Beaut Goods, one of the cute boutique shops on Race Street. I’ve brought my friends to her shop as well as to other vintage and resale shops on the street such as Vintage Treasures. I acquired a large painting that hangs above my couch from Gigi of SGCG Design Studios, an art vendor who frequents many of the pop-up events.

Race Street aside, our neighborhood also has an incredible amount of businesses that we enjoy. One of the best tacos in the city, Guapo Taco, is a quick phone call and bike ride away. We live across the street from the delicious Fruteria Cano, where my kids love to order the Raspado Natural (a smoothie) with some of the freshest fruit in the city. Our son loves going to Guanajuato Bakery and picking out pretty much any pastry at his eye level — luckily everything is delicious. For our quick shopping trips when our nearby Walmart is just too far, the Carniceria La Superior down the street from us is perfect. One of our favorite places to pick up homemade tortillas is La Nueva De Zacatecas. They have a sign out front that says “Be Prepared to Speak Spanish,” which is ironically written in English. Either way, they are welcoming and their tortillas are to die for. Even our local friendly Fiesta Laundromat was a lifesaver when our dryer went out, and any time we found the energy to wash our comforter and needed a large machine to do it. 

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We love the people in the neighborhood and quickly began participating in our amazing neighborhood association, the Carter Riverside Neighborhood Association. We enjoy participating in their many events like Boo on the Brae for Halloween, Thanksgiving dinners, Neighborhood Night Out, the Christmas event for photos with Santa, and the annual 4th of July event. At the monthly meetings, we have gotten to listen to Mayor Mattie Parker, Councilwoman Jeanette Martinez, the owners of the coming business Tropical Lady, and many others. The meetings are hosted at the Riverside Community Center in Sylvania Park, a place where my husband has played pickup basketball, my children enjoy the playground, and we play our annual Oakhurst Neighborhood Association vs. CRNA kickball game. I was surprised to learn that Sylvania Park used to have a pool before it was shut down in 2009 and is the oldest community center in the city. Hopefully, in the future, we can improve the community center and maybe even get the pool back.

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As if the neighborhood hasn’t done enough for me, I am able to see clients (I am a mental health therapist) in the neighborhood, which could not be more convenient. 

Our family is grateful to live within a 15-minute drive of many of Fort Worth’s unique attractions such as the Stockyards, Coyote Drive-In (great for taking babies and toddlers to the movies), and world-class museums. We are members of the Fort Worth Zoo and the Botanic Garden, frequently visiting both places with our children and friends. 

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In the future, we hope to send our children to Oakhurst Elementary and continue to see improvements and growth around the neighborhood. My husband recently started his term as vice president of the neighborhood association and, hopefully, more young families will start to join our neighborhood association. Since getting more involved in the neighborhood, we now dream of ways it could be better. We think the neighborhood could use more sidewalks with ramps, protected bike paths, and a crosswalk across Oakhurst Scenic Drive to Riverside Park, so our kids can safely travel around independently. We think of how Belknap Street could be redeveloped and how our neighborhood could have more frequent public transportation. We dream of how the empty grass lots or the mostly empty parking lots behind Race Street could be converted to small parks or enclosed biergartens which could provide a place for people to relax, eat and let their kids run around like we have a Sundance Square in our backyard. However, currently, I’m ecstatic to live in such a wonderful neighborhood with such potential that can grow along with my family.

Fort Worth Carter Riverside resident Sarah Maldonado Jones is a licensed professional counselor; she lives in the 76111 ZIP code with her husband Erick C. Jones Jr. and their 2½-year-old son, Andre Jones, and 8-month-old daughter, Emilia Jones, and English springer spaniel Lola, age 7. 

Carter-Riverside

Total population: 4,398Female: 47% | Male: 53%

Age0-9: 11%10-19: 15%20-29: 17%30-39: 20%40-49: 11%50-59: 11%60-69: 11%70-79: 4%80 and older: 0%

EducationNo degree: 20%High school: 24%Some college: 27%Bachelor’s degree: 23%Post-graduate: 6%

RaceWhite: 44% | Hispanic: 54% | Black: 1%

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