SAN ANTONIO – Perhaps more than ever, community leaders and residents alike are seeing more investment in long forgotten East Side neighborhoods within sight of downtown San Antonio.
To better gauge its community, the nonprofit San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside embarked on surveying “The State of the Eastside.”
SAGE sought community feedback in surveys and through focus groups.
Its power point presentation Monday morning at a gathering of business and community leaders included how the Eastside compares to five years ago.
For instance, it found the East Side is “a more flourishing and sustainable community with more diverse and engaged neighborhoods.” Yet, it showed “changes, challenges and barriers remain.”
Examples of needed change are more affordable housing, better infrastructure and additional amenities such as better retail options, parks and community events.
The report showed the challenges include generational poverty, gentrification and access to capital for small businesses, while perceived crime and safety is among the barriers to economic growth on the East Side.
“Hallelujah! I think there’s been some efforts. Thank you all,” State Rep. Barbara Gervin Hawkins (D-Dist. 120) told the group. “I do believe there’s much, much more to do, and by working together, we truly can get it done.”
She cautioned against using a broad brush to depict how various communities feel about the East Side and what’s going on now.
Gervin said those are the business community, long-term residents, faith-based communities, new and incoming businesses and individuals, as well as the youth and nonprofits on the East Side.
But she said, “The core community is not happy,” adding that community feels its needs have not been met.
“My hope and my prayer is that we indeed can bring the communities together so that all boats rise, not just a few,” Gervin said.