San Antonio Express-News
STORY SUMMARY: The quiet cultural and racial transformation of San Antonio's proud and historically African-American Eastside is redefining the sense of identity for many of its lifelong residents while invigorating an emerging Hispanic community. In recent years, the population has changed to a Hispanic majority at 67.5 percent, according to the 2009 U.S. Census data. The area is rapidly changing in demographics and economic development, most recently from an influx of federal grants aimed at revitalization.
In 2014, President Barack Obama announced that San Antonio’s East Side was named one of five areas nationwide designated as a “promise zone” – a status intended to step up local efforts to beat back poverty and improve housing, education and public safety.
The 3.5 square mile area was named the Eastside Promise Neighborhood as a recipient of the Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010. The “promise zone” designation expands the grant by five years and $23.7 million to revitalize the community. The area also received a $29.75 million Choice grant to renovate the area’s dilapidated houses and public housing projects.
CAPTION: Former Wheatley Court resident Melissa Perry, and her son, William Vaughn, 7, entertain each other after attending a BBQ celebrating the conclusion of the EastPoint People of Potential Empowerment Campaign at the temporary home of the Eastside Promise Neighborhood office across from Wheatley Courts on Friday, April 11, 2014. At left, her daughter, Aja Pierce, 16, sits with a friend. Wheatley Courts is fenced off and ready for demolition. The public housing complex is being rebuilt in part by a multimillion dollar federal Choice grant.