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One Year Later, is San Antonio's Promise Zone Delivering?


From Texas Standard:Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced the latest cities to be designated "promise zones" this week. This is the second set of cities to take part in the federal program that seeks to reduce poverty and crime, increase economic and educational opportunities and attract private investment.

None of the eight announced this week are in Texas, but we thought this was a great opportunity to check in with one of the inaugural five.

Mike Etienne, Director of the Eastside Promise Zone in San Antonio, joins the Texas Standard to talk more about how the project has been going.

On how the process was helped by Juli á n Castro:

“The city was selected in January 2014 as one of the first five promise zones through a competitive process. Mayor Castro was indeed instrumental in helping San Antonio secure the Promize Zone designation. The mayor was a champion for downtown revitalization — and for the east side of San Antonio.”

On what the neighborhood has been like historically:

“We’ve made significant progress since the designation. For example, we have secured $32 million in federal grants to implement our strategies. The graduation rate at Sam Houston High School has increased from 41 percent to 84 percent. Overall, crime has declined by 6.7 percent.”

On what’s next for Promise Zone San Antonio:

“Of course focusing on education — it’s a full-time job working on improving education from cradle to career. We’re also looking at infill housing. We have a significant number of vacant lots on the east side of San Antonio, so one of our major goals is to build infill housing on those vacant lots.”


Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Rhonda is the newest member of the KUT News team, joining in late 2013 as producer for KUT's new daily news program, The Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.