WACO, Texas — The City of Waco has seen major growth over the past few years, from Magnolia to population.
However, a local organization took a closer look and found that there are neighborhoods falling behind.
"We had a community that was crime-ridden with drugs and violence," Brook Oaks longtime resident, Robert Jackson said.
There are several neighborhood amenities — Jubilee Food Market, The Dewey Community Center, Cameron Park Zoo and Waco Family Medicine.
With all these new features popping up, one would think Brook Oaks is thriving.
"It's been a complete turnaround," Jackson said.
But according to Prosper Waco's 2021 Snapshot report, many of the city's local neighborhoods, including Brook Oaks, are falling behind.
"It shows things like income, poverty, data related to health, education, population growth and decline", Jeremy Roades, Director of Research and Community Impact said.
The report analyzes growth or lack thereof in Waco from 2015 to 2020.
Overall, it shows a common trend — a large disparity between neighborhoods with majority white residents and neighborhoods with majority-minority residents.
"When you look at the change in income, over this 5 year period, you see most of Waco sees improvements, increases in income but not those areas. Not East Waco, not Brook Oaks neighborhood. They actually are seeing declining incomes and in some cases, increasing poverty rates," Roades said.
And in today's housing market, Brook Oaks Neighborhood Association President Sammy Smith said buying a home for some families is near impossible.
"If you build a home in an area where the median income is only $30,000 to $40,000 a year and a house is selling for $180,000 to $200,000, well that prices people out of being able to buy home," Smith said.
Keeping families from building generational wealth and breaking a cycle of poverty.
But, there is hope.
"The City is already doing work to address a number of these indicators," Roades said.
And local residents can also do their part to make a change.
"Get in touch with their city council members, get in touch with their school board representatives, get to work at the local level making sure that people who we know care about this community are hearing from the folks who have a vested interest in its wellbeing," Roades said.