Update from a young friend of mine named John J. Stathas, who is a law student over at Texas Wesleyan Law School in Fort Worth who has been telling me for awhile why he loves Cowtown. I mean, Fort Worth. I asked him to write it down and tell me why last fall, and he says the same holds true. Next up from John: how’s that Hispanic growth affecting urban life:

Slowing sipping on an ice cold bottle of Shiner the warm gentle October sun bakes down on my skin with that all important Vitamin D.  The soft twang of an acoustic guitar slices through the ambient chatter.  The smell of red meat on a grill tickling my nose.  If you ever find yourself in such a scenario then you’re likely over here in my town, Cowtown.

I can’t say exactly where I am though.  Not because I’m sworn to secrecy or anything, but because I could be at any number of locations nestled along the Western edge of Fort Worth in the new exciting community known as West 7th.

It’s no secret these days that Texas has become the fastest growing state in the country.  And no city has benefited more from this population boom than Fort Worth.  From 2000 to 2006, Fort Worth saw its population increase by 20%.  This trend has not tapered off either.  Some estimate the current population to almost double in the next 20 years.

We all know that our state’s economy is the major driving force behind the overall explosion, but why has Fort Worth seen such a tremendous benefit?  In this writer’s modest opinion it’s simple.  Fort Worth provides a new and attractive alternative to other cities around the state.

More and more these days people (especially us young ones) are looking for that perfect blend of urban and modern.  The Urban Village is making a comeback all across the country and Fort Worth is right in stride with the trend.  Fort Worth has several areas where this cultural change is happening, but none as rapid as West 7th.

Simply put, it’s the place to be.  Old staples like Chimy’s Cerveceria and Fred’s continue to attract, while new spots like Tim Love’s Burger Shack (known affectionately as “Love Shack”) seem to be popping up almost daily, providing new places to discover.   I hesitate to begin enumerating all the local establishments because there are just too many.  Each bar or restaurant has it’s own unique vibe, yet the patrons seem to all be from the same crowd.  Just young-hearted people all searching for their daily peace of mind.  And in West 7th they easily find it.

From burgers and beer to high end dining, West 7th has it all.  A place where you can live, eat, play, and walk to it all.  And no, that’s not a typo, I said walk.  Believe it or not, Texans are quickly discovering the simple joys of walking places.  This is perhaps the greatest achievement of the Urban Village movement, although personally I still like the endless amount of bars and restaurants a little more.

So the next time you feel like enjoying a cheeseburger on a patio, margaritas in the moonlight, or just a simple stroll through a bustling neighbor, take a look at West 7th out here in Fort Worth and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.