Candidate for City Council, District 4: Darius Ewing
By Darius Ewing
Waco’s District IV is often referred to as “The Core of the City.” From our revitalized downtown, to the newly bustling Uptown district and into Castle Heights, across Waco Drive to the 25th street corridor, and over to the Mission Waco headquarters on Colcord, District IV truly gives a glimpse of everything Waco has to offer. Not everyone in District IV has had the same opportunities to capitalize on the growth we have seen as a city in recent years. I think it is incredibly important to continue building District IV from the inside out, but in a way that ensures everyone has equal opportunities to thrive without pushing people further into the margins. When we take care of the people of District IV, we take care of Waco.
I believe the best way to ensure everyone receives a fair shot at experiencing Waco’s growth is to provide opportunities for economic mobility. Over the past few months, I have worked with Prosper Waco to create a rapid workforce training program that is set to take place in various locations throughout the city. I’m looking forward to the prospect of continuing this partnership in efforts to meet our people where they are and train them for well-paying jobs in Waco’s skilled labor, industrial, and manufacturing workforces. Citizens will no longer have static employment, but a chance at real professional development, growing from $15-per-hour wages to $20, $30, and beyond, rebuilding and advancing the middle class of Waco. Soon the citizens of District IV won’t just be working jobs, but pursuing careers.
There are difficulties that arise with this goal of economic mobility, but we must work to limit any hurdles that stand in the way of citizens seeking to advance their station in life. I have petitioned our city to subsidize childcare for anyone who enrolls in one of these training programs so that we are not adding additional cost to a service needed by so many. Another way I will make this life-changing program accessible is by ensuring that its curriculum is eligible for scholarships from Communities in Schools so that finances are not an obstacle for our 18-24 year olds in the workforce. Lastly, I will partner with Waco businesses and industries to guarantee interviews for everyone who completes this training program, increasing their chances of finding well-paying employment.
Creating launching pads for Wacoans to find fulfilling employment is just the beginning. I also believe it is crucial to expand our efforts to increase quality, affordable housing, especially in District IV as we seek to incentivize revitalization of Waco’s core. Our City Council and Chamber of Commerce have already begun this work, and I hope to see it continued through Waco’s Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with local nonprofits. Together, we will incentivize developers to bring much-needed affordable housing to District IV. We recently saw this hope become reality when the housing department partnered with Waco Housing Authority to put in place the $40 million redevelopment of South Terrace Apartments, one of our largest affordable housing complexes. In District IV, we also have Grassroots working on our behalf to increase access and homeownership. It is vital for the city to continue funding their work with down payment assistance, as well as develop the Sanger School lot between Waco Drive and Sanger Avenue into affordable housing options for our residents.
Lastly, I believe that while we work to provide more well-paying jobs and affordable housing, we must overhaul our public transportation system so our citizens can quickly and safely travel to and from their homes in District IV to their jobs out on the city’s periphery. Our buses currently operate on a “hub and spoke” route system that takes roughly two hours to traverse from one side of Waco to the other. We must push for the city to adopt the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system, which would cut that time in half and give our citizens greater access to this service. Additionally, our current system is cash only. With the help of a CARES Act grant we recently received from the Federal Transit Administration, this system will soon transition into one with paperless transactions and automatic passenger counting. If we work to make these goals a reality, we will not only have a more environmentally-friendly transportation system, but an efficient one that best serves the citizens of District IV.
A city representative should work to do everything in his or her power to eliminate hurdles that prevent people from improving their quality of life, and that is what I will seek to do should I be elected on November 3rd. Let’s work together to build a better District IV—the core of the city, the heart of Waco, Texas.
Biographical Information for Darius Ewing
Darius Ewing was appointed to serve on the Waco City Council on June 23rd of this year and sworn in shortly after on July 7th, making him the youngest member of city council and the first person of color to represent District IV. He takes great pride in that honor and is seeking to increase representation at the local level to show people in our black and brown communities that there is a place for them in local government in our City. Darius is a property manager and realtor by day and is on the junior board for the Waco YMCA. He truly believes that Waco’s best days are ahead, if we can capitalize and do so in an equitable way that ensures everyone gets an opportunity to experience the growth and success of our city. When not working or serving on City Council, Darius can usually be found walking his dogs Griffin and Otis with his wife, Hannah.