East Austin gentrification is in full swing. Regardless of political beliefs, the ethnic and economic composition of East Austin is steadily changing. Revitalization projects encourage many an East Austin builder to construct new homes, increasing property values in the area and spurring economic growth.
Born of the segregation era, East Austin was home to black-only schools and Austin’s first city funded recreational facilities designated specifically for African Americans. Almost all economic activity in the area was centered on East 11th and East 12th Streets. The streets served as a commerce hub for the area, and East Austin thrived.
As integration became the new way of life in the mid-1960′s, economic opportunities for African Americans outside of East Austin gradually whittled away at the area’s own economic center. Eventually, the area succumbed to high crime rates, under performing schools, and a lack of economic opportunities. As a result, property values plummeted.
Verde Builders Group, an East Austin builder is sensitive to both the political and economic ramifications of East Austin gentrification. Politically, some view gentrification as racism, with higher income whites seeking lower cost middle class housing displacing the lower income black population. Economically, gentrification is steadily raising property values and increasing the tax base, both of which help to provide the funds needed to improve the schools, fund law enforcement, and encourage job creation.
All neighborhoods change with time. The gentrification of East Austin is just another example of that change. Critics fear that the history of the area will be lost. But local organizations will work to ensure that does not happen.