SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio has a much different and much improved East Side compared to a few years ago, city staff told City Council Wednesday.
Staff members provided an update on the results of their EastPoint effort, which was created several years ago to focus on the East Side.
Part of the update revealed that graduation rates at Sam Houston High School are up from 46 percent in 2012 to 81 percent in 2015.
Staff also reported that more than 1,300 jobs have been created and retained since 2012, and property values for the average home have gone from $55,000 to $158,000.
This after an investment of $84 million from the local and federal government.
"There are new homes and renovated homes," said Jeff Coyle, a spokesman for the city of San Antonio. "There are families coming from all over the city that are interested in that area and 20-plus new businesses just in the EastPoint footprint.
David Bonebrake moved to the East Side in 2001. He said that he has seen positive changes within his community.
"Since I've been here, there has been a lot of new development, as far as people moving in and remodeling houses, which is great because it's making our area look a heck of a lot better," Bonebrake said.
As far as crime inside the EastPoint footprint, city officials said it spiked at the beginning of the year, but violent crime decreased 6 percent between the years 2014 and 2015.
"The stuff that is important to me, especially having children, is the random gunshots. And every once in a while, there are big fights at the parks, and by the time anyone calls, it's too late," Bonebrake said. "That's my biggest concern."
Bonebrake said he realizes the effort is a work in progress, but is glad to see the changes.
"It just so happens that all the efforts right now seem to be focusing on the East Side," said Tony Leverett, Eastside Promise Neighborhood director. "So we are sort of carrying the torch for what we hope what San Antonio will be, for better schools, better housing and better job opportunities."