San Antonio will receive a significant infusion of cash in support of its federal Promise Zone — a comprehensive redevelopment and reinvestment initiative local stakeholders hope will help transform the city’s long under-served East Side.
San Antonio’s Promise Zone will receive a total of $1.5 million. The U.S. Department of Commerce is investing $14.4 million in several Promise Zone projects in an effort to boost economic activity in high-poverty areas across the nation.
Alamo Colleges plans to use the federal money to fund the transformation of an existing structure into the Eastside Education and Training Center. The new center will coordinate targeted workforce training and placement services. The renovated facility will also provide adult education programs.
A spokesman for Alamo Colleges, Mario Muniz, said the new education center would occupy the former Pfeiffer Elementary School on Dietrich Road.
Supporters are optimistic the project will serve as a catalyst for attracting more private investment to and creating more job opportunities in East San Antonio.
Jackie Gorman, executive director of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, or SAGE, one of the implementation partners for the Alamo City’s Promise Zone, said the latest funding is critically important.
“The center is an important piece of what we are going to have to do,” she told me.
I reported in January 2014 that President Barack Obama had designated a portion of San Antonio as one of a handful of U.S. Promise Zones. Mayor Ivy Taylor, a member of City Council at the time, said the initiative was based in part on San Antonio’s Eastside Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan, the blueprint for revitalization of one of this community’s most economically challenged areas.
Only Promise Zones in California and Georgia are receiving more federal support than San Antonio in this latest funding round. California will get about $2.4 million for its Promise Zone initiatives, while Georgia is set to receive more than $2.9 million.
W. Scott Bailey, Reporter/Project Coordinator