East Side redevelopment goes beyond housing projects

Program part of HUDs Choice Neighborhood Initiative

SAN ANTONIO – The move to revitalize the city's East Side is well underway, from rebuilding the old Wheatley courts to putting in new sidewalks and driveways.

Gilbert Bocanegra and his family live close to all the development and he said he likes what he sees.

"It looks a lot better," said Bocanegra. "It was going to trash there for a while. They did a lot of improvements for the apartments. The kids are doing good in school so, I think it's helping them."

However, the transformation of the old Wheatley Courts into new mixed-income apartments is just one of the issues the San Antonio Housing Authority is working on through HUD's Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant.

SAHA is also working to replace vacant lots with housing structures and rehabbing more than two dozen existing homes.

"We can revitalize some of those existing structures so that when East Meadows, the new development, comes up the whole neighborhood together will look new and modernized and up-to-date," said Rosario Neaves with the San Antonio Housing Authority. "Everybody will feel a sense of pride, not just those homeowners living in the new development."

Aside from all the housing improvements on the Eastside, SAHA will also be opening a Veterans Outreach Center and an urban farm."

"That was something that residents told us that they wanted to see, an urban farm in their neighborhood," said Neaves. "So, we are ready to move on that. It's going to be 3.8 acres near the Ideas schools on the Eastside in the Choice Neighborhood Footprint."

Neaves said the initiative goes beyond housing.

"It reaches to the resources that they need to be a successful individual and member of the community," said Neaves.

Local business Khaled Gharib said he also sees the change.

"We've been waiting for this moment since 2012," said Gharib. "Everybody here is excited and they are waiting for the moment for the change."


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