Gentrification destroys family-owned businesses in favor of trendy tycoons


Juan Diaz / Hilltop Views

Condos in development overshadow the community on the East Side.

Gentrification in Austin is an issue that hits very close to home for many, and it has always been a kind of double edged sword. For many people gentrification provides work but, at the same  time it gets rid of others.

Costs of living keep going up and my family is already considering moving again to another small town even further on the outskirts of Austin like Kyle or Buda. Sadly enough, I’m sure many other families have had to consider this.

As an Austinite I’ve seen many local businesses and homes being torn down only for shiny new businesses or gated communities to be raised in their place.

An example would be Austin’s Dove Springs. Raised off of Teri Road, I was on the end where grandmothers would raise chickens in their yards and a vibrant Latino community existed.

However, the further down Teri Road you go, the more you see signs of gentrification, specifically after crossing Nuckols Crossing. Having grown up here, I can tell you that Nuckols Crossing was also the cutoff point for students that had to attend Travis High School and Akins High School. Those that were on the less affluent side attended Travis High School which, when compared to Akins High School, is clearly underfunded.

The homes that are on the other end of Nuckols Crossing are marketed towards people that want to find a cheap place to live but don’t want to associate with the people living in the area. Along this road, a gated community has recently been built. For me, that translates to “those of you who cannot afford to live here are not welcome,” especially when considering that the rest of the Dove Springs area is completely ungated.

It’s a sign that the rest of these areas will soon be taken over as well. Even though some people want to show up and gentrify the area, they have no intention of fixing living conditions for those that have been here for generations. When it comes to education, the students that are stuck on the other side of the fence have to attend schools where funding is limited and opportunities are slim.

Allocating resources to students that really need it and protecting our local businesses can really have an impact on bettering the lives of those that are on the other end of gentrification. It feels like Austin claims to protect local businesses and help our communities, but really we just help the trendy money makers. Those on the other side have to help themselves.

I always heard from outsiders about how bad the Dove Springs neighborhood was. What I think they meant to say was that it was bad enough to avoid, but not bad enough to bother fixing. Instead, they would rather show up, kick others out and make living in these areas even harder than it already is. It’s a change that might one day say to fourth generation Austinites “this isn’t your home anymore.”