Saint Johns is an older, ethnic neighborhood located at the intersection of several major local highways and thoroughfares. So commuting to other parts of the city is relatively easy, at least during off-peak traffic hours.
For decades the neighborhood had problems with high crime, neglect, and abandonment of buildings and public facilities. But major improvements have been made recently, and the largely Hispanic population works diligently with the city to continue to upgrade the neighborhood. Many residents keep their homes and yards in good condition and work with the city to enhance public areas of the neighborhood.
'Saint Johns traces its origins back to the Civil War. Though a traditionally African American community, the population is now about three-quarters Mexican-American. Some residents speak only Spanish.
Through the decades the neighborhood has suffered from neglect by the city, poverty, and a high crime rate. Child poverty in the neighborhood is still among the highest in the city, and local public schools are not top rated.
But many residents work hard to improve the neighborhood. Until the mid Twentieth Century, the neighborhood has no paved roads and the sewage system was below standard. Community leaders worked with the city to get the roads paved, a park built, and the local creek kept clean. More recently, the city added an elementary school and community center, public library, recreation center, police substation, and health clinic.
Though some homes are in poor condition many are well-kept. The neighborhood has been awarded by the Keep Austin Beautiful campaign. The neighborhood association is active, as are some local churches, in sponsoring regular events to promote community spirit and economic improvement. The schools sponsor after-school programs and there are family resource centers to help residents find housing, food, and jobs. The neighborhood has also been a top contender for the Austin Achievement Zone, which brings federal funding to help improve struggling neighborhoods.
Saint Johns is in northeast Austin, rather far removed from downtown and the University of Texas. But the neighborhood is close to Hwy. 290 and 183 and I-35, making the rest of the city accessible by car. There are few dining and shopping options in the neighborhood, but the Highland Mall is nearby, and there are many restaurants and motels along I-35.
Views From the Street
|Duval St. and Blackson Ave.||Bethune Ave. and Wheatley Ave.||Camino La Costa|
|Grand Canyon Dr.||Fairbanks Dr.||Mckie Dr.|
Facts and FiguresNeighborhood Profile
Real Estate and Apartments
Houses in Saint Johns are mainly two- and three-bedroom, built in the 1970s and 80s; some in the 1960s. Because of the distance from downtown and the neighborhood's reputation, housing is inexpensive - family homes run in the mid-$100K range and below.