Group talks East Side issues
Resident thinks change is coming
BY RYAN SEVERANCE THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
A group of concerned East Side residents gathered Friday night at El Centro del Quinto Sol to discuss problems plaguing the community and what can be done to set the area on the right path.
"Tonight we're here to discuss the improvements that are happening here on the East Side and what we're trying to do is get people's input on how we can make the East Side a lot safer and better," said Floyd Jaramillo, a longtime resident of the East Side.
The community discussion was organized by the Eastside Action Support Team and much of the discussion was aimed at finding solutions to improve the East Side.
A recent study done on the challenges and opportunities the East Side faces by a Denver consulting firm that was paid for with grant money was the focus of some of the discussion, which was attended by about 20 people.
The study's draft cited numerous challenges the East Side faces including high poverty and unemployment rates, a reputation for being unsafe, low real estate values, crumbling or missing physical infrastructure and the fact that there are no local banks or convenient daily services available there.
Jaramillo said while he's encouraged by some of the progress being made on the East Side, he acknowledges there are plenty of issues that need to be fixed.
He said it will take true community involvement to cure what ails the area.
"With all of the new projects that are happening like Plaza Verde (park), the new skate park being built at El Centro and a lot of things that are going on, we're very pleased about this," he said. "I think with all the problems we've been having, I think we need more of our churches to reach out and our community to reach out, and I think that's going to happen in time. I really do. We can't solve the problem right off the bat but it will be coming."
Jaramillo added that more employment opportunities for citizens would go a long way to bettering the East Siade.
"We have to turn it around and start obeying society's laws and rules, and I think if we come together as a community, we can make some positive changes for everyone."