Dozens of North and East Lubbock community members gathered in the New Zion Baptist Church Sunday evening to talk about a city plan published twelve years ago.
It’s the North and East Lubbock Master Development plan, created through the work of city leaders, business leaders, and community members in 2004. The plan provides analysis on the needs of the area in terms of structural and economic development.
“There was a plan enacted in 2004 to bring revitalization here, on the east side of Lubbock and in the northeast Lubbock area, this plan has not been initiated, has not come to pass,” explained Daniel Kinsey, pastor at the New Zion Baptist Church. “The same things that we were waiting on back then, the citizens are still waiting on today. When is there going to be a change? And would you join with us or assist us in seeing that change come about?”
Kinsey invited community members to his church on Sunday where they went over each of the sections within the plan to educate community members about what the city had proposed 12 years prior. He said that some people at Sunday’s meeting had no idea that the plan even existed.
“The allocation of tax credit was awarded to the Lubbock Housing Authority,” explained Gordon Harris, City Council candidate, referencing the plan. He explained that communities in north and east Lubbock haven’t seen the results of the intended improvements to affordable housing.
As a taxpayer, property owner, pastor, and grandparent, Pastor Kinsey said that the decline he’s seen in this area has him very concerned.
“We’re doing everything according to protocol and we’ve gone to different administrations from the bottom to the top, and we haven’t gotten any answers and we’re looking for answers,” Kinsey explained.
Residents at the meeting explained that many of their neighbors have moved away, several local schools have closed, and restaurants are hard to come by.
“There’s been no development here in 50 years,” Kinsey said. “We want the people to get behind us, knowing that we don’t mean any harm to anyone, we’re not even blaming the administrators who are in place now because this has been a long time coming, nothing has happened. And we would like for something to happen.”
They’ve already presented these complaints to the city council, but after going over their priorities again in this meeting, they plan on doing so again on March 10.
The residents expressed desire for development in many areas: they want a community college in east Lubbock, more funding and teachers for public schools there, more restaurants, more grocery stores, banks, places in the area for people to take their cars to for repairs.
“All we’re saying is, I would like to be able to — when I got out of church today I had to go all the way to the other side of town to get something other than a burger for me and my grandson,” Kinsey said. He said more business development in the area would make the community healthier and bring in jobs.
Kinsey added that he’s hoping when his four-year-old grandson is an adult, that he is able to see an East Lubbock with greater community development.
Until then, he plans on holding leaders in Lubbock accountable for making these changes in Lubbock.
“If those who have the authority to bring about a change and are not doing that, and the people that are associated and affiliated with it know that they can [make a change] and are not doing it, every one of them are guilty for an injustice,” Kinsey said.