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East San Antonio has seen many changes since the last MLK March

Visitors will find vibrant new growth on the east side.

SAN ANTONIO — While thousands of eyes will be on the Alamodome Friday night, there is another huge crowd pleasing event on the horizon that will also have locals flooding the streets.

What is said to be the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in the country kicks off in east San Antonio at 10 a.m. Monday.

For the last two years, the march was a virtual event. Many locals who rarely visit the east side of San Antonio will find a much different landscape than they remember.

Growth is taking many forms in District 2.

At East Houston Street and I-10, for example, dirt is being moved where 300 new apartments are being funded by the San Antonio Housing Trust. The Lofts at Creekview will be just east of the AT&T Center and will be adjacent to the Salado Creek Hike and Bike Trail.

The Starbucks across the street from the construction site has been brewing success since 2018, when many doubted it could survive in what was traditionally viewed as a low-income area.

A few hundred yards to the east, more than 300 families now call the Salado at Red Berry apartment community home. The development has a stunning view of a lake, the city skyline and a special event mansion many have called the pride of the east side.

The RK Group brought their campus and about 400 jobs here as well.

ChildSafe, where abused kids begin to heal at a one-stop shop for therapy and other free resources, is across the highway off East Houston Street and their campus is home to a beautiful outdoor therapy area. 

A walking trail that is now under construction will eventually connect kids to the north side of Martin Luther King Park, which just saw millions of dollars in improvements from the 2017 bond initiative.

Anyone who arrives at the march starting point early will be able to see new trails and pavilions and grab a selfie at the Spheres of Reflection sculpture.

The public artwork, near the park entrance, was installed to honor Dr. King, but city leaders also hope it will help create a dialogue for representation of Black, indigenous and people of color.

Neighbors who call east San Antonio home say this is the place to be.

Jovonne Wofford works at Tank’s Pizza on New Braunfels Avenue, a corridor that is also undergoing a multi-million dollar facelift.

Wofford said from the moment he arrived in the area two years ago, he felt at home.

“From day one it's always been super friendly, always open to conversation no matter where you're at. It's just a really positive place to be,” Wofford said.

Leonard Pellman moved in nine years ago.  Pellman said as a retiree, he is delighted he has found a neighborhood with a broad mix of families.

Pellman said his neighbors, who have six kids, are like many young families who are a source of joy.

"I practically never leave this community because everything I need is right here within maybe two miles of my house," Pellman said.

The march steps off from the 3500 block of Martin Luther King Blvd and proceeds west, until it ends with a community celebration at Pittman-Sullivan Park. You can find a preview of the route here.

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