San Antonio is undergoing a transformation, one that involves reinvestment in its schools and neighborhoods, including Eastside, one of the city’s fastest growing and diverse communities. As part of Eastside’s transformation, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro unveiled the EastPoint brand earlier this month. Because of the neighborhood’s innovative initiatives in education, housing, and economic development, it was “in need of some major rebranding,” according to a press release. Mayor Castro joined Eastside community leaders to announce the rebranding effort, which affects the neighborhood’s approximately 18,000 residents.
At the heart of the EastPoint revitalization are a Promise Neighborhoods grant from ED’s Office of Innovation and Improvement and a Choice Neighborhood Program grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For the Eastside Promise Neighborhood (EPN), the emphasis is on leveraging and strengthening the neighborhood’s assets and resources so that children and families are “inspired to stay, grow, graduate … and stay.”
The synergy of the ED and HUD-supported efforts on the Eastside are also part of the Eastside Promise Zone (EPZ), one of five Promise Zones nationally that were announced by President Obama earlier this year. Through a comprehensive approach to community revitalization, the EPZ’s efforts span job creation and workforce training, public safety, and education. The education strategies include: increasing enrollment in high-quality pre-K programs; infusing a P-12 STEM focus in the Eastside schools; expanding enrollment in Early College Programs; and improving adult education opportunities.
Expectations are high for the newly branded EastPoint, but they are achievable based on the community’s progress to date. According to the press release, the community “reflects the fabric of a rebirth where residents have been empowered to prepare their youth for success, strengthen family units, and build lasting economic vitality.”