Houston East End: Oldest Hispanic Neighborhood Evolves Blending Its Art, Heritage, and Ethnicity

Industry: Cultural Arts & Entertainment

The esplanade is a living testimony of the vibrant changes in this heavily populated Hispanic community of Houston where the old is meeting the new.

Houston, TX (PRUnderground) February 9th, 2015

Every 12th of December hundreds of Hispanic worshipers in Houston’s East End gather to celebrate the day of “Virgen de Guadalupe” at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on Navigation Boulevard. Vendors catering to these faithful worshipers set up their food stands and products to sell along every available spot.

VirgendeGuadalupe_Church_Navigation.JPGIn the past, one primary area was the grassy and muddy median close to the church. Today this has been turned into the artistic Navigation esplanade. This upgrade provides more space, solar powered lighting, decorative concrete and brick walkways, benches, and trash receptacles with a very Hispanic motif.

This need for a community gathering place drove the Greater East End Management District (GEEMD) to develop the concept and design for the Navigation esplanade or “El Corazón de la Comunidad” as local residents envisioned it a few years ago. This multi-purpose facility is being used year round for other festivities.

The esplanade is a living testimony of the vibrant changes in this heavily populated Hispanic community of Houston where the old is meeting the new. Empty lots and old abandoned warehouses in this area are making way for new single and multi-family housing complexes. This development is bringing in new residents that want to enjoy the local nuances as well as walk, ride bicycles, or take public transportation to the restaurants and shops under construction.

Navigation_Esplanade_Papel_Picado_Sign.jpgWhat effect are these changes having on businesses in the East End? In short, an economic boom! According to Rafael Acosta, president of Merida Mexican Restaurant, “I believe the East End is the next Mid Town. With stadiums and the proximity of downtown, we will see an influx of new residents and new business.” He continues, “I am in favor of all the improvements because they have made a pleasant change to the East End and have had a positive impact in attracting new residents for the area.”

Nory Angel, President and CEO of SER Jobs for Progress and an East End resident and Hispanic community leader, echos the visionary future of the End End. According to Nory, “The East End is on the cusp of a major transformation. With the METRO Light Rail coming through the neighborhood, the proximity to stadiums and major freeways, the East End will be the place to be in upcoming years. Our community is funky, eclectic and diverse. People are excited to live here and be involved. Every day I see new businesses popping up too.”

According to Diane Schenke President of the GEEMD, “You are just seeing the beginning of big things happening in the East End. With the state designation of East End Cultural District we are poised to bring in more businesses, new attractions and preserve our existing cultural assets. What this and other joint initiatives with our partners  means for East End residents and business owners is improvements in parks and open spaces, new sidewalks, bus stops, miles of new bike trails, pedestrian lights and a safer community.

One other large attraction in the East End that is slated to be opened in May 2015 is the Guadalupe Plaza Park. This green redevelopment is a family friendly park modeled after multiple input sessions from local residents. The park will be an integrated attraction to connect the Esplanade, Talento Bilingue, the

About Greater East End Management District

The Greater East End Management District was founded in 1999. Its mission is to enhance the image of the District, to attract more businesses and to increase economic activity in the area. The District covers 16 square miles and borders Clinton Drive to the north, Loop 610 to the east, Telephone Road and Interstate 45 to the south and the Houston Belt and Terminal Railroad to Highway 59 to the west. Visit www.greatereastend.com to learn more.

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