East Waco, TX — Dr. Nancy Grayson starts baking at 5 A.M everyday.
Last fall she opened a bakery and coffee shop on Elm Street called Lula Jane’s.
“Lula Jane was my grandmother. I named it for her. She was very southern and always had a very good smelling kitchen," said Grayson.
In 199, she founded the popular Rapoport Academy in East Waco. Kids in the area had low test scores with no other school option so Grayson decided to do something about it. She left the charter in good hands before opening her restaurant late last year.
“You know, this was a huge risk to assume we could build a structure that would encourage people to gather," said Grayson.
Gathering people in East Waco is now a priority for the city too. The TIF board allocates taxpayer dollars to help fund projects deemed valuable to the community. Instead of funding office space, the city is now focusing on entertainment and the arts- A niche Grayson feels is perfect for Elm Street. Last week the city sold a 10,000 square foot building for a potential co-op art studio.
Don Davis is Director at the Historic Waco Foundation. He explained how the east side used to be bustling with business. But now many of the old brick buildings sit vacant. He hopes more people like Nancy will step up to spur development and let the east side regain its past glory.
“Nancy has been a catalyst in developing this area and she’s done a great job," said Davis.
Grayson says she is judt doing her part.
“The community you live in is supposed to foster your life," said Grayson. You can either suck from it and not give anything back to refill, or you can contribute. And we prefer to help fill back up what we’ve used from the community because we are part of the community.”