The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.
The Eastwood Village neighborhood — located within Houston Street, W.W. White Road, Martin Luther King Drive and Upland Road on the East Side of San Antonio — is where I grew up and learned the value of family and community. Today, Eastwood Village is an aged neighborhood with senior residents who thrive on set incomes and remain prideful of their community.
Growing up, I always had the opportunity to explore and play within our Eastside parks such as Copernicus Park where we played until the sun went down, and the Eastside Boys & Girls Club where I spent my summers and even got my first paying job as a lifeguard.
Losing my grandmother at a young age created a bond with my elders where my childhood days were spent creating memories with my jovial family, my elders, and my cousins. Family bonding and celebrations were a very important experience in my life, teaching me to invest in myself and my community. It’s why I’ve created a successful community for female minority entrepreneurs in San Antonio, Female Executives of Texas.
Strengthening neighborhood growth was extremely important to my great aunt Linda, who achieved this while she organized a neighborhood association. I remember joyfully running from door to door distributing flyers to residents announcing neighbor meetings. During the meetings, I would look around in awe at realizing my elders played a huge role in strengthening our community. Being able to work beside her in the community and on election days even afforded me the opportunity to meet President Obama. She always says, “It’s not where you live, it’s how you live,” and that is something I have carried until this day.
The East Side carries a lot of weight from having the largest Martin Luther King Jr. march in the United States to ties to some of the greats such as Shaquille O’Neal, Tommy Calvert, and Megan Thee Stallion. But what I love the most about the East Side is the support of the community for small restaurants such as Mark’s Outing, Little Fish Factory, Bayseas, and Chatman’s Chicken. The East Side is also home to the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center, Carver Community Cultural Center where we view plays and artistic shows, Wheatley Heights Sports Complex where our children’s sports teams play from football to softball, and the Claude Black Center where many community events are held.
Development on the East Side of San Antonio is coming in fast. The housing stock has improved, academies are available for children’s education, street repair has occurred creating safer transportation around the area, more bus transportation services, solid waste management, and small businesses now have the ability to shine and open more jobs for the community. At the same time, gentrification is slowly coming closer to Eastwood Village, which makes it harder for our elders to uphold their homes.
Even though vast improvement has been made, there are still challenges that have to be addressed. Boarded and vacant houses and excessively high weeds in yards and vacant lots are not a good look for the area. There’s also a lack of restaurants for more sit-down settings and high-scale shopping centers, making the area not tourist-friendly. For many who have lived in the area for decades, these are ongoing issues that have not been settled for years. My hope is the city will pull more attention to the area to make it more visibly appealing and safe to live in, giving our elders and the generations to come a community they can be proud of.