Since settling in the historic Fairmount neighborhood in 2006, Ashley Paz and her family have planted deep roots; in fact, Paz has been the local Fort Worth ISD Board of Education trustee since 2013. The business consultant and her husband Eric are proud to be raising two daughters—Vera, 12, and Vivian, 9—in a diverse community that “shows up for each other.”
Favorite family restaurant Chadra Mezza & Grill’s pizza and pasta buffet is our weekly Wednesday night tradition. We often meet friends there and are always running into our favorite neighbors. During the COVID-19 shutdown, they have pivoted to carryout only, and they have made a to–go buffet option with all of our favorites so we can keep this tradition alive!
Chadra Mezza & Grill // 1622 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth
Best park Fairmount/Ryan Place has several options for green space, and we love them all. But we are most looking forward to the groundbreaking of the park expansion slated for development next to the Fire Station Community Center, which is our home away from home. This new park will feature a skate park, bike track, central green and market plaza. The project is still in the fundraising phase with just under $92,000 left to raise from public donations.
Favorite family outing Our regular outings usually involve walking our dogs down to Magnolia Avenue to get a scoop of ice cream from Melt or mini pies from Stir Crazy Baked Goods. However, our favorite neighborhood outings are the community events that are organized by Near Southside Inc., including ArtsGoggle, Open Streets and the monthly free concert series, Friday on the Green. I have served on the board of directors for NSI since 2013, and am proud to support the work their team does to keep the culture of Near Southside going strong.
For a night out Kent & Co is my favorite place to start a night out both with my girls and my husband. They carry Turbulent Rosé, which is my favorite wine and appropriately named for these times. The elevated casual atmosphere and inclusive staff provide a welcoming and safe space for my diverse friend group and family.
Kent & Co Magnolia Wine Bar // 1101 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth
Self-care spot I am a huge mental health advocate and have been very open about my own journey with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety. The Near Southside is home to one of the coolest psychotherapy groups in Fort Worth. Dr. Bean offers what he calls “Geek Therapy” for his patients, with strategies like Dungeons and Dragons processing groups and gaming therapy. Can you think of a cooler way to normalize mental health treatment?
Bean Professional Psychological Services // 1650 W. Rosedale St., Suite 305, Fort Worth
Go-to for getting active Urban Yoga has been my go-to studio for years. Since the shutdown, they have been great at keeping their students connected and in regular practice through online classes and access to a video library so we can practice anytime with direction from the instructors we know and love.
Urban Yoga // 1706 Eighth Ave., Fort Worth
For cooling off This summer we will be cooling off exclusively in our house! Typically we join the TCU Recreation Center and pool, but we will be keeping those memberships on hold. Of course, we will still be taking advantage of our favorite neighborhood cold treat spots like Melt, Gypsy Scoops, and Alma’s Paleteria.
TCU Recreation Center // 3005 Stadium Drive, Fort Worth
Melt Ice Creams // 1201 W. Magnolia Ave., Suite 115, Fort Worth (more DFW locations)
Gypsy Scoops // 321 S. Main St., Fort Worth
Alma’s Paleteria // 1215 E. Seminary Drive, Fort Worth
How they give back Serving on the school board is the biggest volunteer activity that requires sacrifice from everyone in our family. This role includes numerous additional boards and positions. We still find other ways to be involved and give back to our community. My husband has coached our daughters’ recreation league soccer teams since 2014.
He is also an active member of “Dragon Dads,” a volunteer workgroup through the Daggett Montessori PTA. And our daughters have both been involved in various service projects through their respective Girl Scout troops. We have been longtime volunteers through our neighborhood association, Fairmount Historic District.
Fairmount Neighborhood Association // historicfairmount.com
How she found her mom squad Most of my closest friends are from our neighborhood, our schools and our local community center. We all have a passion for racial justice which drew us together, and our collective will for bucking societal norms of what a “perfect” family looks or behaves like. We commiserate over not doing our kids’ school projects for them, refusing to “helicopter” and not forcing our kids to assimilate to standards that society tries to force on them. It’s our genuine love for each other’s individuality and perspectives that keep us together.
Why Fairmount is great for families Fairmount is a tight-knit and inclusive community that shows up for each other. There are so many amazing people who give freely of their time and talents to keep it that way. Our schools are among the best in the city, there is always something going on, and we have a rich and diverse culture that exists nowhere else in the Metroplex.
Our community is supported by outspoken leaders and personalities like the visual artist and activist CHOKE; Fort Worth’s favorite local celebrity, Tony Green; longtime Fort Worth ISD educator and community art instructor Jo Dufo; and former city councilman, LGBTQ advocate and Harvard Kennedy School grad Joel Burns, who all keep our neighbors informed on the most recent civic happenings.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Paz.