Look to the Eastside for San Antonio’s Revitalization

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Sunset Station

Sunset Station, photo via SAGE

Tommy Calvert

By Tommy Calvert Jr.

San Antonio is 30 years behind most major cities in terms of revitalizing its urban core–maybe more when you understand the steps unique American cities like Boston and San Francisco took to turn around blighted communities.

But there are some reasons to be hopeful that San Antonio will finally catch up.  A new rise of young, more cosmopolitan and traveled business, political, and community leaders are beginning to address the key investment needed to spur urban renewal—better housing in the inner-city.

When I started writing this article, I must admit that I told all four people I interviewed that I was extremely skeptical about San Antonio getting its act together to revitalize the inner city.  After all, during the entire course of my short 31 years on earth, I’ve witnessed the same thing former District 2 City Councilman Mario Salas said he has witnessed: “Mainly decline.”

The ribbon cutting and reopening of the Hays Street Bridge drew a crowd in 2010, but today it mostly stands empty.

That deterioration is compounded by a sometimes out-of-step development community that continues to make the mistake of building luxury condos priced at $500,000 dollars  and up that few can afford.   Many of these condos remain barely occupied . Affordable apartments that bring young professionals and older urban pioneers into the area to create the urban life people complain is lacking seem like they’re taking forever to come.

The South End of Boston is a neighborhood that at one time was home to the highest incidents of drive-by shootings. Today, it stands as one of Boston’s most desirable communities with an assortment of restaurants and trendy urban residences that were born from rehabbing the nation’s largest neighborhood of brownstone housing—housing that by the 1950s was falling apart.

I have more reasons to be hopeful that if city leaders stay focused on the elements that are needed to create world-class big-city living, we will achieve it over the next ten to thirty years.

Several years ago, during one of the first Eastside Revitalization meetings, a fairly well-known local developer questioned whether business corridor revitalization or new housing development should come first in the process of creating urban renewal.  Most San Antonians don’t have a frame of reference to answer this question.  However, in economic development textbooks, with some exceptions, this question has long been settled.  Businesses follow rooftops.

In other words, to revitalize a city’s urban core you have to get new housing in the form of apartments and revitalized houses to create greater incomes and markets for stores to have patrons. It is part of the reason our downtown struggles to get a viable grocery store—not enough people with incomes at a great enough level are present to justify the financial viability of a business in new commercial corridors.

Mayor Castro and I both lived in Boston.  Boston as well as San Francisco, where Mayor Castro earned his undergraduate degree, are significant case studies in how San Antonio can prevent what he calls “the donut hole of despair in our urban core.”   Citizen business leaders of Boston began improving their old worn-down inner-city housing stock in the 1960s with the goal of preserving their built environment.  But more importantly, they wanted to revitalize the South End neighborhood housing and the portion that was added on called the Back Bay.

San Antonio, on the other hand, began similar revitalization efforts in the 1980s.

Some might look at the efforts of the San Antonio Conservation Society in the 1920s to save and rehab properties in King William, Monte Vista and beyond as an on par contemporary of San Francisco and Boston’s urban renewal organizations.  But it’s not.   The SA Conservation Society has had little focus on neighborhood housing revitalization—revitalization embraces the merging of old rehabilitation with the recruiting of new housing development structures.

Instead, the Conservation Society’s focus is on the preservation of the stories, art, old buildings, and unique artifacts that are distinctly San Antonio.That is a very different mandate than San Francisco’s SPUR organization, founded back in 1910 to improve the quality of housing after a major earthquake and fires.   It kept a laser focus on housing concerns in the 1930s, 1940s, and in the 1950s and was ahead of its time in curbing urban sprawl and focused city growth back to the urban core.

San Antonio, on the other hand, appears to have no intention of stopping urban sprawl, even though it created an Office of the City Center over the last few years.  While San Antonio embraced urban renewal more than most Texas cities, Texas law prohibited using federal urban renewal funds for low and moderate income housing without a public vote.   The Anglo conservative business establishment steered federal dollars towards projects that built up commercial corridors and big business projects like the Riverwalk and HemisFair Park. As a result, San Antonio is still playing catch up on creating the urban dwellings that other big cities enjoy after decades of investment.

To answer the question of why San Antonio is behind in turning around its blighted center city neighborhoods, one has to understand that private citizens and business leaders pushed for housing revitalization in San Francisco and Boston.  In San Antonio they did not.

San Antonio leaders compromised with the Anglo business establishment with the creation of the Good Government League to help assist in commercial urban renewal projects and only through the pressuring by groups like Citizens Organized for Public Service (COPS) did we begin to play catch up in 1973 on the infrastructure-deficient blighted neighborhoods on the western, southern, and eastern communities surrounding downtown.

Jackie Gorman is helping city leaders to champion revitalization of East San Antonio as the executive director of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE).   One of the roadblocks to progress she faces in terms of recruiting housing to the Eastside is the mixed quality of schools in the San Antonio Independent School District.

Gorman explained, “Community development is like a three-legged stool which has economic development, education, and housing holding it up. Unless we have all three of the legs strong, we won’t achieve community development.”

Leadership focused on improving student academic success and bridging the drop-out crisis is the chief complaint among developers reluctant to build where they worry parents won’t want to live.   The proof that the Eastside can have middle and upper income housing with great schools is born out in the East Central School District.

On the Eastside, just off of W. W. White and Rigsby roads, you’ll find gated communities with houses priced at $200,000 dollars and up because the East Central School district has sustained a record of academic success.   SAISD officials groan about the pressure they are under to help the inner-city housing stock by asking the rhetorical question: What came first in Stone Oak: the houses or the schools?

The literal answer is the houses.  However, the houses were also located and spurred by the fact that developers were building housing in a school district with a solid track record.

The $27 million dollar Eastside Promise Neighborhoods program is off to a slow and some say rocky start in terms of leadership and vision, but they can build the foundation for turning around the test scores of thousands of inner-city youth if they find a dedicated education leader like Geoffrey Canadaof Harlem, New York who will not settle for mediocrity.

Geoffrey Canada.

The program should be used to expand school hours, tutoring resources, partner with local community early childhood programs, parenting programs, and create an ethic of hard work and college access.  The investment in Eastside education comes at the same time that the old Sutton Homes, like the old Victoria Courts, has been revitalized into market rate and subsidizing housing.  The community is so nice that the market-rate apartments have a waiting list.

Not only is the San Antonio Housing Authority looking at plans for phase II of the old Sutton Homes, which will include additional retail strips on the Eastside, but just four minutes away, the San Antonio Housing Authority also has plans to give the Wheatley Courts the modern revitalization that we saw at Sutton Homes and the Victoria Commons.

As quiet as it is kept, the biggest economic development project in the history of San Antonio is happening on the Eastside at Fort Sam Houston.  The military has consolidated all medical training for all branches of the armed forces in San Antonio and it will have an economic impact 2.5 times greater than the much more discussed Toyota manufacturing plant on the city’s south side.

Sadly, both Gorman and I agree the City missed the opportunity to revitalize the Eastside with the first wave of medical personnel relocating to San Antonio.  However, Gorman, always the optimist, inspired me with a second look at the situation and she is working to take advantage of the second wave in the inner-city if we begin now because Ft. Sam will have a steady stream of people who need housing close to Ft. Sam Houston’s Eastside gates for decades to come.

Sadly, Mayor Phil Hardberger and City Manager Sculley made a text-book failure of how not to revitalize an inner-city area with respect to the relocation of the armed forces medical training at Fort Sam Houston.  Most smart urban cities would have done what local entrepreneurs like Michael Westheimer and others are trying to do, which is acquire blighted properties near Fort Sam Houston and create middle to upper middle-income apartments, condos, and houses for the military personnel to live in.

Instead, the last mayoral administration increased commute times of soldiers relocating to work in San Antonio through our vast urban sprawl, which has incentivized housing in neighborhoods as far away as Schertz and Cibolo, or Highway 151 and Alamo Downs.  Many soldiers live in neighborhoods where their commute is 1.5 hours each day, increasing the likelihood the Department of Defense may move their investment if they feel their soldiers quality of life is hampered.

The creation of a new children’s hospital appears doomed for failure because of the establishment’s business interest away from the urban core in the Medical Center.  San Antonio is, therefore, likely to delay or forgo the natural “New Medical Center East” (you can look back 30 years from now and credit me with that phrase if it happens) that can be created by linking San Antonio’s medical teaching community at St. Philips College and the University of the Incarnate Word with the military’s world-class medical training center at SAMC.

On the other hand, San Antonio can create medical synergy if it promotes an urban-centric vision where political and business leaders embrace hospitals and medical centers on the Eastside as Boston’s South End leaders did.   To the credit of the University of the Incarnate Word, Councilwoman Ivy Taylor explained to me that they are breaking ground on a multi-million dollar Eye and Medical Building at the same time that St. Philips’ College is investing an additional $15 million dollars to re-do the third floor of their science building at one of the city’s best nursing colleges.

At St. Philip’s College, community college students can look next door at a four-year institution to continue medical training and perhaps Walters Street will have a similar medical corridor as Wurzbach from the gates of Ft. Sam Houston to the hill upon which St. Philips College stands.  After all, Councilwoman Taylor is also pouring millions into the revitalization of the old Good Samaritan Hospital a few blocks over, which will be used to help veterans.

Ft. Sam houston

Big mistake: Moving medical facilities away from Ft. Sam Houston photo via www.ftsamhouston.gov

Just next to Ft. Sam Houston is the Eastside neighborhood called Government Hill and the Pearl Brewery.   What, you don’t think of the Pearl Brewery as an Eastside neighborhood?

Well yes, I’m stretching a little, but Councilwoman Taylor is right that the young professionals and urban dwellers will bike and walk next door to the eastside neighborhoods that abuts Fort Sam Houston and find the same type of housing found in Terrell Hills and Alamo Heights just waiting for reinvestment as they grow from single to married and seek more space than an apartment at the Pearl provides.

People who reside in Government Hill will also have the benefit of being able to walk or bike to the new River North extension, which, too should spill over into the historic eastside neighborhoods which even have three-story colonial homes and mini-castles like the old Terrell Castle.

Another short bike ride from the Pearl is sparking two to three phone calls per day at SAGE.  Eugene Simor’s new Alamo Brewery and the restoration of the Hays Street Bridge above it provides one of the most spectacular panoramas of our skyline.  Soon, new apartments will be sprouting up next door to the brewery, which if priced right, will see the success of San Antonio’s SoFlo neighborhood, rather than the drag found at the Vidorra luxury high rises.

And developers should take note that the old days of Eastsiders blasting a developer for bringing a development to the Eastside are slowly dying.   In fact, the last three major contentious zoning cases on the Eastside—Redifuel, the Crosspoint Summit Development, and the Alamo Brewery have seen some opposition but even more supporters.

Jackie Gorman notes that developers just don’t have time or desire to develop in areas that are unfriendly to business and residential development.  But the era of activists shaking down every business person who wants to revitalize the Eastside is closing and many neighborhood, business, and political leaders are willing to lead their communities through the sometimes tense friction between neighborhood integrity and new revitalization.

When NBA great Magic Johnson, one of the nation’s greatest inner-city revitalization developers, and Taj Matthews look at the East Commerce and Hackberry Corridors they don’t see the run-down storefronts most non-Eastsiders see.  They see another Quarry at the old Friedrich Building and in the older strip centers along the streets they see how stores like Marshalls, JC Penny’s, office buildings, and restaurants like R&B great Gladys Knight’s Gladys & Ron’s can re-invigorate the most logical direction for downtown development—to its East.

Matthews says the issue with San Antonio getting the NBA legend to give San Antonio his billion dollar reinvestment Midas touch has been follow-up.

“They sent him one packet but no one has followed up.  Now things are in limbo,” exclaimed Taj Matthews, executive director of the Claude & Zernona Black Developmental Leadership Foundation.

Another quiet secret about inner-city revitalization is that a piece of property that has elicited cries for restoration may just be about to undertake such a facelift as it is finally on the City auction block—the old diner owned by “Bighouse” Sterling at the corner of Hackberry and Commerce.  Taj Matthews explains, “Whoever controls that site will control the Eastside’s revitalization facelift.  The corner is one of the first things you see when you cross the railroad tracks.”

At the same time, Matthews says the City needs to do a better job of incentivizing business to redevelop Denver Heights like they do historic Dignowity Hills. “The City CDBG application ask if you are in Dignowity Hill, then you get an extra point on the grant—we are directing businesses there.  We need to do the same sort of incentive packages we did for Rackspace here,” he continued.

SAGE director Jackie Gorman does believe she has the tools she needs to recruit housing developers and businesses to the Eastside.   In fact she says business developers are more hostile to coming to the Eastside than housing developers.

“The business developers have concerns over a big zoning or planning commission battle, ” said Gorman. “They see easier places in town to do business.“

But those who do take the risk can reap big rewards including:

  • Complete fee waivers for CPS utilities, city permits, the historic review board, and SAWS impact fees
  • Real property tax reimbursement grants if they locate within targeted reinvestment zones where 100 percent of the previous year’s real estate tax increment increase goes back to the business owner
  • If a development qualifies for a historic tax credit it qualifies for other maximum incentives
  • And the city has created an inner-city loan fund that is completely forgivable for mixed-use developments

With those tools at the City’s disposal, councilwoman Taylor is still frustrated that the City hasn’t followed-through on a measure that could greatly expedite inner-city revitalization–mainly, the creation of what some call a land bank that would help dole out vacant lots for redevelopment.  “The city hasn’t gotten its act together on land assembly and land conveyance. We don’t have a strategy for this—for every one person that does the work to untangle properties from taxes and issues, there are ten that walk away we could be benefiting from,” according to District 2 city councilwoman Ivy Taylor.

She continued, “We can also do simple things like have more than two contractors for the entire city who mow the grass on vacant lots so we can prevent neighborhoods from getting as bad as they get.”

Finally, there is a consensus from Eastsiders who grew up in the neighborhood and rose to the middle and upper class and took their disposable income to neighborhoods on the Northside, that they would have come back to the Eastside if it had the upper and middle-income housing stock and schools available elsewhere.

Red Berry Mansion on the Eastside.

Red Berry Mansion on the Eastside.

There may be hope for that desire to be attained on the hills of the historic Red Berry Mansion property.  The City is going to send out an RFQ for developers looking to develop a gated community, which sits above one of my favorite city golf courses at Willow Springs.  The property which used to house exotic animals, gambling, and legendary night life of state senator Red Berry, will also boast views of the San Antonio skyline amid bodies of water and undoubtedly the coolest neighborhood club house in town—the Liberace-like Red Berry Mansion.

The elements for improvement of the three legs of community development—educational improvement, housing improvement, and business improvement—are being uniquely lined up for the Eastside.  Now what is needed most is results in all three sectors.   This must be met with an informational renaissance about the fact that Eastside is pregnant for rebirth with a sustained 30-year image, investment and attitudinal change among stakeholders in San Antonio and from major cities that have seen success in their urban core.

If we come together to successfully complete the projects detailed above, we can see the end of the long Eastside housing, education, and commercial blight, which are the key reasons some residents feel nothing is moving forward on the Eastside and lead the way toward San Antonio’s unique revitalization rise to create a world-class urban core.

Tommy Calvert, Jr. is public relations and public affairs strategist with CIC, is the former head of the American Anti-Slavery Group, and serves as the General Manager of San Antonio Community Radio, KROV 91.7-HD2 FM where he hosts the morning drive-time radio show from7-10 am Monday through Friday on the new 91.7-HD2 KROV FM, online at www.krovfm.com, or on the Tune in Radio App search for “KROV” and can be reached via Facebook subscribers, via twitter @TCJR01, and  tcjr@krovfm.com

14 thoughts on “Look to the Eastside for San Antonio’s Revitalization

  1. As someone who went to private school on the westside, high school in Helotes, and recently puchased a home in Tobin Hill by SAC, I see the opportunity these central areas have for urban growth that don’t compare to rural areas. I look forward to the growth on the Eastside, which also just won an AIA contest to revitalize the Dignowity/Lockwood park area. I will agree that the SAISD does play a big factor in others’ decisions not to move downtown, etc. We plan to send our unborn children to charter schools in the school district, but we need a better district overall to become attractive to the masses. Although San Antonio is behind on several of these initiatives, and I can attest that I never gave it much thought as a prior rural-dweller myself, I see many people moving to San Antonio from elsewhere as well as home-grown citizens that are more traveled who are genuinely interested in backing revitalization. My husband went to UT Austin and is responsible for opening my eyes to wonderful areas of San Antonio I’d never experienced. I’m glad to see we’re going in the right direction, even if we’re off to a slow start. Great research, and I look forward to listening to your radio show in the future.

  2. Exciting stuff, left and right these days! We’ve been working with our neighborhood SAISD elementary school as a community. I think if the board can pull it together and find a way to let good things happen, then the principals and teachers on the ground will be free to make some big improvements.

  3. Tommy

    Thanks for penning this article (the longest in The Rivard Report’s six-month existence). You make some strong assertions about city leadership’s decisions and their impact on Eastside development. I would suggest city government shouldn’t be seen as savior or culprit. The long term solutions won’t come directly from government. Solutions will come one project, one block at a time from private investment spurred by public incentives. The Alamodome and the AT&T Arena together represent several hundreds of million of dollars in mostly public investment, but they generated little economic development. Private investment, on the other hand, is breathing new life into Dignowity Hill, and the arrival of the Alamo Brewery will do even more. The use of the Hays Street Bridge can be monitored and tweaked as the project develops. The important thing is that infill development can bring blighted blocks back to life. I was encouraged to read this morning that Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni will be staying on through the end of the year to shepherd several key projects, including at least two on the Eastside.

    Thanks for writing for The Rivard Report. We hope to see more of your work, and we hope you will encourage others in the Eastside community to contribute.

  4. I have to agree with Robert that solutions and change come one project at a time. My wife and I have lived in Dignowity Hill since 2007 when we took a leap of faith and made a considerable investment to buy and restore a home in Dignowity. Since then we have seen the neighborhood move in a positive direction because of private investment not just in dollars but investment in building the community. We are fortunate in Dignowity to have a well organized and credible neighborhood association that has worked hard to partner with city officials as well as other institutions to bring much needed improvements to quality of life needs. We still have a long ways to go, especially in the area of public education but even here the Dignowity neighborhood is making an effort to change things by partnering with the local elementary school in developing a mentoring and tutoring program for the students. City government has it’s limits in terms of economic development for business and housing. In the end neighborhoods have to decide for themselves what works best to create positive change that allows private investment to take place.

  5. Downtown revitalization? In 31 years? Look a little farther back. Try 60 years.
    In that time line I’ve experienced downtown going from vibrant to derelict and claw back up to not so good but could be worse. Compare downtown to where it was before Mayor Cisnero’s Century 2000. Revitalization will always be a work in progress, unending, unceasing. The minute we take our eyes off the ball and some other runner on base scores. But I say, build the durn grocery store and they will come. I’ve had a business in La Villita for 28 years. There’s not a day goes by when a tourist Mother doesn’t ask where there’s a close by grocery store. What is it going to take? Downtown liquor stores (of which we have an ample number)selling baby food and diapers? Get Real San Antonio!

    • 60 years? Urban renewal doesn’t count as a try at revitalization. Cities (towns) that didn’t participate in that “revitalization” have some of the greatest DT’s or Main Streets. If anything, that was the setback and forced a reset into the 80’s.
      A grocery store is not the magic bullet; lets just focus on getting more rental units in/near the core and they will eventually get a store. These developments aren’t having any problems attracting renters, if anything I think the opposite to be a problem as is evident by the amount of construction and proposed developments.

  6. Well written article. Its nice to know that I’m not the only one that see’s potential in the Eastside.
    I have to add my own vision though; I see potential on the Cherry/Commerce lot with the possibility of a “two-for”. Imagine a “Vistana-like” project sitting on that corner, and the city pitching in some funds for providing some public parking space for the area. If that were to happen, you would get some 250 rental units (350 people on a 1.4/unit avg.), some retail space, and some parking within 100 yards of St. Paul’s Square. I know that no one project is the magic bullet, but the accumulation of developments build up that momentum on that upward spiral.
    Another area that I see TONS of potential in is the “Phillips Lot” across from the Freeman Coliseum. What a better place for some Transit oriented development than at the end of the streetcar line. I’m not talking about some apartment buildings a la Medical Center or UTSA, I’m talking about real TOD; like the kind just west of Old Town Alexandria along the Metro line, or like that around the new Nationals Stadium, something with a small footprint and high impact for the street. You could break up that large lot into four blocks and get a good urban fabric going, all while setting up the framework for what the other large lots on both sides of Coca Cola Pl can look like 10-15 years from now when the rest of those warehouses outlive their useful life. Imagine a Town Center East with hundreds of housing units, tons of office space (medical even), all while creating the walkable urban area that would add life to the area outside of the events; give people a place to walk around or grab a bite to eat before or after a game or concert and place a bookend to the East to spread the revitalization from that side in towards DT.

  7. Tommy

    I agree with Robert. Local business leaders, developers and citizens are responsible for actualizing a strong urban core. City leaders using public funds for problem projects – which seem to lack a feasibility plan – should develop programs for developers and citizens to make the process easier.

    San Antonio is very different from Boston or San Francisco so maybe we should develop a strategy that works for us.

  8. When folks use the “economic development” (E.D.)term, they are actually referring to commercial development activities, consequently, this is a great misunderstanding of a powerful concept.

    “Economic development” is a public sector term, and all that it implies. Yet, we’ve had the private sector hijacking the term for its uses, joined by an uninformed press, or self-interested politicians; they’ve done quite well since the 1960s, at great public expense.

    Yes, if one spends millions and millions in the name of “economic development”, you’ll see some benefits, but who’s keeping track of the cost-benefit ratios, for starters? No one.

    When the day comes that planners & community leaders understand the basic premise in E.D., will be the day we get on the right track to begin addressing fundamental constructs.

    In short, San Antonio does NOT practice “economic development”, it practices commercial & corporate development quite well.

    Thanks.

    • Exceptional report by Tommy Calvert Jr. I also tend to agree with Fernando Centeno in regards to what is true economic development. We appreciate both the AT&T Center and the Alamodome but both fall short of providing ecomomic benefit to the residents of the Eastside. What we can all hope for is business and corporations that can provide jobs for those that live here and be generators for more people to come.Success for Michael Westheimer proposed childrens hospital would have a profound economic impact on the entire Eastside.I do believe we’re headed in the right direction. I am very proud of Jackie Gorman and the SAGE board for their work towards the economic development of the Eastside. With hard work,love and dedication of many on the Eastside, I truly beleive the Eastside of San Antonio can and will reach its full potential.

  9. Were it not for the efforts of incredibly strong preservation groups such as our San Antonio Conservation Society, we would not have a city to revitalize. Bringing about adaptive reuse and sustainable preservation projects is our next big challenge. Our architectural heritage is what makes us who we and who we will become. There are architectural wonders on the East Side and we can work towards preserving them in smart ways with smart energy and make San Antonio a city that leads the national in LEED preservation projects. Without SACS’ focus on ‘old buildings’ we would look like any part of “loopland”. Their conservation easements and efforts to protect our land and water heritage and resources are of amazing value to us as we proceed to all work constructively to achieve SA2020. There’s a great NYT piece about this topic. I hope that as historic areas develop we can help SAISD better preserve our precious historic infrastructure. They arguably have more historic structures than any other city in the nation. Through efforts with SACS the most historic building at Beacon Hill Elementary was saved. It will take P3’s and clever financing to help SAISD protect these buildings thus teaching entire new generations of the value of our ‘old buildings’. There are so many opportunities we have as educators and citizens to properly preserve buildings and their surrounding neighborhoods in healthy ways that bring about jobs and a sense of place. King William is always suffering growing pains, style pains and management pains.

    I would love to work towards helping the East Side finally connect to downtown again. I don’t believe Quarry-style architecture would be a good fit and would ultimately defeat the inherent history and beauty of what remains intact. So many structures on the East Side are on the verge of demolition by neglect. There are jobs to be made rebuilding….many more jobs than there are when we demolish and build architecture that is just not in context with its surroundings.

  10. I am currently rennovating a home in Dignowity Hill and most of my friends think I’m crazy for moving from Converse to the East Side. I am from Detroit Michigan originally and from a strong community. I feel that same sense of community in Dignowity Hill.
    Some of the older native east siders don’t want to see change and that holds back progress. So many times I hear the same ole story “they don’t do anything for us on the eastside”. Alamo Brewery is trying to do something positive and you have the old timers fighting it, wanting to keep things the same. The brewery will bring more revenue to the area and the draw of other businesses has already occured. The old timers have to get with the program and accept change. Not all change is bad. The Brewery is a good change.
    Coming from a big city, I must say I miss the culture that I grew up with. San Antonio could use more diversity in it’s entertainment, such as the Rodeo. We need more diversity on the board that makes decisions on what acts or performers they showcase.
    I am a retired Army veteran and in all of my travels I have never ever seen a community that has Public Housing in the middle of a community, such as Dignowity Hill. There must be at least 4 Public Housing units planted in the middle of what once was middle/upper class community. As the community changed and ethnic makeup changed, it appears that the city didn’t give much thought or care to the effects of public housing units.
    I’d like to see the public housing that is sprawled throughout Dignowity Hill get a facelift. If they must stay, at least give them the look of townhouses.
    San Antonio has made major changes on the Eastside and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the changes that are coming to the East Side.

  11. no wounder Ive been getting pulled over by the cops so much I have lived on the east side all my life love the community hat the scools my child goes to private. “revitalization” look I am middle class I dont like the way the east side is treated, and noone cares about the people tose who make move to houston
    because the city hates the east side. I graduated from St Philips College I was the only one in my major from the neigbhorhood and my class mates and teachers contantly disrespected the area. people come they take what they can get from the east turn their noses up at the natives and go no more. just go away.

  12. Hi All, wow, it’s nice to read all your comments. Well, have faith in Eastside. I just bought an abandoned home on the east side & renovated it recently in 2016 of August. My home is in Denver Heights area, very close to Dignowity.

    Trying to sell the house for 30 days, people turning their noses just like Linda said. Both my neighbors are families with boarded up windows. I don’t know if they own or rent. I am assuming they own it otherwise if they rent, Tenants can’t just board up houses they rent. If it’s security issue & for safety, window bars but I know about the shootings too. I worry each day for my home that it doesn’t get vandalized when not there. I decided to rent it out so that someone is there all the time. Even property managers are saying ‘rough neighberhood in Denver Heights”. People who want to rent it not liking the boarded up windows. I think that since all of San Antonio leaders know that Eastside is rough, why don’t they have police circling neighberhood? Instead of waiting for someone to cause trouble with crime. I have faith in Denver Heights. I think leaders should revitalize the neighberhood. There is alot of empty land in Denver Heights near halfway house/hospital on yucca street where they can build new apartments or housing. We definitely need supermarket.

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