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East End leaders work to preserve neighborhood’s Hispanic character

Strong public outreach efforts

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As Houston inner-loop neighborhoods see increasing investment, worries can arise that the culture and character of a neighborhood are being slowly washed away. In Houston’s East End, neighborhood and civic leaders are careful that elements of the neighborhood’s history remain in place and that longtime residents are able to have their voice hear in public infrastructure and park improvements. More on the neighborhood’s public outreach efforts from Houston Public Media:

Since 2009, the Greater East Management District has held more than 40 public and stakeholder meetings on the Livable Centers initiative.

[Greater East End Management District President Diane] Schenke likes to point that out to counter criticism that the district is doing a bad job communicating. Some critics feel like the changes in the area are taking away its Hispanic culture.

Schenke dismisses those concerns as the view of a handful of troublemakers.

“Have you been on the Navigation Esplanade? I mean, that’s a bunch of hooey,” she said. “There’s benches with Spanish sayings on them throughout. The papel pecado design on the shade structures within — those are all Hispanic.”

Schenke said the management district consciously tries to incorporate Hispanic themes into its projects. She acknowledged that communication can always be improved but said there’s no shortage of effort.

...

Council Member Ed Gonzalez said he has met with several residents, and he understands their concerns about losing part of the culture, but also the need for revitalization.

“Instead of focusing on the past, we’re working closely with the community now in going forward and trying to put some historic and some additional Latino elements in there,” Gonzalez said. “And hopefully some type of memorials or plaques to recognize some of the rich Latino history in the area.”

Full story: Development Divide: Supporters Say East End Changes Improve The Urban Community
Source: Houston Public Media, November 19, 2014

Photo: Greater East End Management District

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