As we discussed last night, here's a general overview to our story that we can use on the intro page of our package:
They’re easy to overlook at first, but after the first one catches your eye, you can’t help but notice the others.
‘Stop gentrification now.’ ‘Yuppies off the east side.’ ‘Stop gentrifying East Austin.’
These hand-lettered signs posted on utility poles, traffic lights and stop signs protest the wave of residential construction under way in East Austin. The signs give voice to a concern of many long-time East Side residents: that the ongoing construction boom will make the neighborhood unaffordable for low-income, predominantly Latino and African American families.
Among elected officials, that concern does not fall on deaf ears. The Austin City Council and private developers have taken steps to ensure that low-income residents are not priced out of buying homes in new developments. Over the next few months, the council will examine several proposals to ensure that escalating tax burdens do not force low-income residents to sell their current homes.
With more than a dozen developments planned or in progress, highlighted by the Robort Mueller Municipal Airport Redevelopment and Capital Metro’s redevelopment plan for the Saltillo District, the City Council’s decisions will play a crucial role in determining East Austin’s future.
“The best case scenario is that we get to stay here and that we build housing and help people rehabilitate their homes,” said Susana Alamanza, co-director of People Organized in the Defense of Earth and her Resources, a nonprofit group active in east side development issues. “The worst case scenario is that we’ll no longer be able to live here.”