SAN ANTONIO-- Joaquinn Arch says it was tough on the east side when he was growing up because of gang activity. But signs of change brought him back to the neighborhood to open a business and, he hopes to spark more interest in development.
Arch owns a three complex building. The Sausage Hauze is part of his business operation generating lots of smoked meat and drawing a lunch time crowd.
The 35 year old also has a tax service, rents space to small business operations and plans to open a barber shop with a business partner, Priest Holmes.
Arch considers himself a trendsetter and risk taker--believing the east side can shed a negative image and create commercial growth.
He says many people are moving into the Dignowity Hill neighborhood to renovate older homes and he thinks this is a good time to grow businesses in the inner city area.
In fact, Eugene Simor is planning to open a beer packaging center and beer garden near the Hayes Street bridge off Cherry Street.
Simor says he's hoping to break ground on his project in June and possibly open for business in April 2013.
He plans to hire 40 employees. Simor says he will hire workers from the east side and federal funding is supporting his efforts to provide jobs.
Simor says he picked the location because it's close to downtown where there's lots of tourism and he has gotten a lot of support from the Dignowity Hill neighborhood Association.
Councilwoman Ivy Taylor-who represents District Two--and is pleased to she the interest is business development.
She and Jackie Gorman, Executive Director of SAGE, have worked with the city to create opportunities on the east side by focusing on crime prevention, infrastructure, code compliance and beautification efforts.
The city leaders believe it's been a slow process but worthwhile and say it will take time to make sure all projects are done correcty and benefit the citizens in the area.