On Thursday, it was a packed house at the Waco Multipurpose Center. Many homeowners got the chance to have a one on one conversation with district one council member Andrea Barefield.
“Engaging and involving our neighbors and our friends and our constituents is the only real way we can build a city for us all,” Barefield said. “Everyone’s concern is that when new things come in, folks get priced out.”
At the top of many minds at the meeting is economic development. Many are worried multi-million dollar improvements to the district could hurt current homeowners, hiking up the cost of living there. Plans to bring in three new hotels, restaurants and entertainment are in the works.
“It is something that we are preparing to deal with as our council especially this district but all of Waco is focusing on equity and inclusion and what that means and how we do it together,” Barefield said.
The growth has others concerned about affordable housing. Some saying it’s already an issue where they live.
“There’s two families living in a two bedroom apartment,” Baltazar Acevedo said. Who is building housing that is affordable in this city right now and what is the current stock?” You know what that means? That you are paying $1300, $1400 for an apartment. Who can afford that!?”
Barefield hoping this meeting keeps the conversation going, to make sure residents are pushed aside from the growth.
“As Waco booms, we all want to grow and boom,” Barefield said.
Barefield says one thing she wants to improve in the district is communication with city officials and her constituents.