ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - In Mayor Anthony Williams' first Community Conversation of 2019, he mentioned a "decaying doughnut" in Abilene. The Mayor meant parts of North Abilene, with urban decay radiating out from the oldest sections of town as progress moves to the outskirts.
One way to challenge that decay is infill development; the City has been working to rejuvenate the interior of Abilene for some time now. "Infill development is about not neglecting and not forgetting portions of our community that can sometimes be easy to forget because they're not shiny and new", explained City Manager Robert Hanna. "It doesn't mean they're better or worse. It just means they're not shiny and new."
Although the idea of infill development has dogged the City for years, Mayor Williams is confident that steps taken now can help resolve the problem. "I'm very interested in being sure we don't have unhealthy development occurring in the north side of Abilene", Williams said. "I'm confident going forward that we can incentivize those risk takers to invest in Abilene."
For people who live and work in the heart of the so-called doughnut, the decay is certainly a problem that needs to be stopped. Zacheri Espinoza lives in North Abilene, graduated from Faithworks Abilene, and spends his days there still today. He says, "Being so close to Faithworks itself and Love and Care Ministries, you see people who are struggling every day. This is a place where I can not only live, but see people in need, and reach out to them in different ways."
Bringing business back isn't always easy, but there are tools in place to help the process. Williams says the City Council has made decisions that, "have empowered the City Manager to provide incentives for that to occur."
For people like Zacheri Espinoza, those efforts don't go unnoticed. "When there is rot and decay, we do need to do something to bring things back", he says. "And him wanting to do that really brings hope to people in this community."
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