WACO, TX — As change sweeps over East Waco, many of its residents feared they might get pushed out by a wave of gentrification.
But a few groups of people have actually begun guiding that process in order to protect the character of the historic neighborhood.
As the transformation of East Waco gets underway, the people in a room at the City Center Waco offices keep guiding its process and setting its goals.
One of a handful of similar groups, people discuss business opportunities for a neighborhood in transition.
Terronga Weaver wants to bring her home, back to it's glory days.
"Growing up here, I remember when it was awesome," Weaver said.
People in this neighborhood always feared development because they say it happened without warning or explanation.
Businesses just closed, and people made due.
No more. These East Waco boosters say their involvement will ensure better communication.
"We need a voice. We need a voice for the community. That's why we come to these meetings, to make sure we have a place at the table," said Jeanette Bell of the Northeast Riverside Neighborhood Association.
With East Waco now a prime target for developers city leaders realized whatever became of this historic neighborhood had to happen with help of the people who live here.
"People make good decisions when they have good information and so you have to invest in people and then developing the information and the know-how to make good decisions," said Megan Henderson of Center City Waco.
And with that know-how, these folks say their future looks bright.
"I like to be a part of my neighborhood. I love East Waco, I've been here most of my life, so I love it,” said panel member Alton Jefferson.
It will take a lot of hard work to bring East Waco back to its glory days, but residents are up for the challenge.
"The nice houses, those curbsides, the grocery store down the street, the neighborhood conversations, the things I had when I was growing up," said Weaver.
And, with vision, facts and an understanding of the process residents say, they can make it happen.