Waco: New poll on gentrification sparks conversation among residents

Published: Feb. 7, 2020 at 11:56 PM CST
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A new poll released this week by the Texas Lyceum shows that 25% of Texans see gentrification as a problem where they live, with 60% of those saying it is a major problem.

The term gentrification, can be described as developers going into an older neighborhood and building up the real estate market so that prices are no longer affordable for some residents.

This has been a concern for those living in East Waco.

"When there is development change that could be gentrifying or it could not be," says Megan Henderson who works with the City Center of Waco; an organization that has a goal of trying to prevent gentrification from taking place in the area.

"I was proud to live in East Waco as a young child," says Shirley Langston a native from the area.

Langston says the new development is causing gentrification to already take place on Elm Avenue.

"Gentrification is taking place along the Elm avenue corridor but not as much in Carver Park," says Sandra Dorsey-Butler another East Waco native and current resident who is concerned with the issue.

However others, including Megan Henderson, don't believe gentrification is taking place yet but that there is a possibility of it occurring.

"I think the tipping point is where there is displacement and that hasn't happened yet and we are certainly moving and acting and investing but it is a reality that is a possible outcome," says Henderson.

She says it won't be easy but there is ways to prevent it from happening.

"It's going to take is for existing residents and support organizations like us and others in the community to work together," she says.

"We need to make sure the folks who call East Waco home continue to call East Waco home in 10, 20, and 30 years."

The Texas Lyceum poll used 1,200 people from across the state.

They didn't have specific data for the city of Waco, but said results did show a large majority of Texans have problems with their housing afford ability in general.