East Side economic development agency facing funding cut

2014 proposed budget includes five percent across the board cut to 64 delegate agencies


SAN ANTONIO – The lunch-time rush at Mark's Outing is due to good food and stellar customer service, but owner Mark Outing knows his restaurant's success is due in part to his partnership with San Antonio Growth for the East Side, or SAGE.

"It's been a great resource for us. We were doing rebranding for this particular location and we wanted to do some canopy and stair work and they were able to assist us in that," Outing said. "When we came (to the east side) we knew this was maybe a slower area at the time and it was in need of revitalization so SAGE came in and they were that vehicle that we could use."

For nearly a decade SAGE has been helping businesses like Mark's Outing make facility, equipment, and technology upgrades through grants and other funding sources, but next year, the group could see its budget cut by $13,000.

"We really have to look at the economic realities that are facing our city, so I'm happy our cut was limited to 5 percent cuts," SAGE executive director Jackie Gorman said.

Gorman's staff anticipated the cuts and she does not believe it will slow SAGE down.

"I've been working to increase our fundraising activities so that we can pull in money from other areas. I've been talking to local corporations and foundations to get grants to not only make up for the five percent but actually increase it."

The city's proposed budget makes a 5 percent across the board cut to 60 Human Development agencies and four Workforce Development agencies, but adds $1.75 million in resources to support Inner City economic development incentives to spur economic growth downtown and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

"This is the decade of downtown," said Center City Development Director Lori Houston. "Having great neighborhoods surrounding our downtown create a very vibrant downtown and so these neighborhoods on the east side and west side have wonderful housing stock."

The cuts mean the West Side Development Corporation will also deal with budget restrictions, but Gorman said SAGE, the WDC, and the Inner City agencies work together and all benefit from downtown growth.

"We're all part of an organization that's working to help the city core, so none of us operate in isolation and  we all benefit from the work that each other does."

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