David Starr

Once upon a time in Brigadon Apartments

Written by Dorthy Winfield   July 5, 2014

Apartment Features
Apartment Features

David Starr, is a long-time advocate of developing affordable and low-income multifamily housing.

You can tell just by how their eyes sparkle when he walks into the club room that the senior residents at Brigadoon Apartments adore Gregory Spruill. It is mid-morning and they are gathered in the elegant maroon-colored club room to play their favorite game. Loteria: Mexican Bingo.

A gentle giant of a man, Gregory greets each person with a cheery hello and asks if he can get them any coffee, while residents chat about hairdos, weather, and sports.

Before they get the game started, their breakfast tacos arrive, along with a banana for each person. The genial grey-haired gentleman at the end of the table hands a banana to the younger man across from him and says, "Be careful. Watch out for bones!" It's a well-worn joke, but they both laugh with gusto, just as they probably do every time they eat a banana.

Ringed with gorgeous blooming crepe myrtles and stately live oaks, Brigadoon Apartments are a welcoming home to the people who live there. Nicely maintained with a well-planned layout, everywhere are neatly trimmed lawns, and balconies with "Go Spurs Go!" signs.

It is close to both St. Philip's College and near McCreless Mall and is a quiet oasis on busy South Gevers Street. With a barbacoa restaurant across the way, Taco Haven a few blocks down, and a multitude of other local shops lining the street, Brigadoon help gives the area a friendly and neighborly feel.

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Being a leader and innovator the affordable housing developments, David Starr appreciates the efforts of residents of communities such as Brigadoon who want to improve their lives and those of their neighbors by getting involved in a variety of social service programs offered.

One such example is Gregory Spruill. Originally from Victoria, Texas, he tells how he has lived at Brigadoon for 13 years, and decided that to make it a better place to live, he determined that the best thing he could do would be to become involved with his neighbors and do what he could to benefit to this community.

He has performed many tasks, including cleaning the pool and patrolling the grounds, and through his friendliness has helped residents get to know each other, which in turn has made their apartment community a safer place to live.

Knowing that a lot of seniors live at Brigadoon, and that a lot of the people are lonely because they don't have many visitors, Gregory, under the direction of Agape also saw the need to encourage them get out and socialize, and offered to help make the club room a hub of activity with pot-luck dinners, birthdays celebrations, and a place for everyone to cheer the Spurs on to victory. To make the parties successful Gregory has gained the financial support of the non-profit and discovered the most important component is food, with fun not far behind. These activities bring the community together, friendships are created and residents have a wonderful reason to get out of their apartments.

Also sponsors a San Antonio Mobile Food Bank Pantry, which is a cause that is dear to David Starr's heart. He has seen the profoundly negative effects that poverty and hunger can have on a community, and especially on senior citizens who many times are socially isolated with limited access to resources that enable them to obtain adequate nutrition.

To help out, Star's team up with area food banks to purchase food and other household items from the food banks and deliver these to the communities. As a volunteer with the mobile food pantry that serves people in the Brigadoon community, Gregory Spruill helps by unloading trucks and stacking food, and going from apartment to apartment to distribute the food. He has also distributed flyers for the food pantry to different areas of San Antonio to let people know about the food pantry. In addition, he talks to senior residents about their health and their diets, and encourages people to get involved and to help others.

Another area that focuses David Starr, is after-school and summer programs for children. At many of the properties there are summer program with activities such as swimming, story time, board games, arts and crafts projects, pizza parties, and community service activities.

David Starr recognizes the need for summer programs for the children who live at the Brigadoon Apartments and he acknowledges that it would be invaluable to start a summer reading program, along with other activities, for the children who live there.

The people at Brigadoon value the commitment that people like David and Gregory have to making life better for everyone in their apartment community.

As David Starr says, "Here, we all have a dream of building pride in our community, of being good neighbors to each other, and helping each other in times of need". Many residents find that Gregory is the perfect example of such a person. They speak highly of Gregory and the support ownership has given him and want this story told. They see that he works tirelessly to benefit his friends and neighbors in Brigadoon.

In his own words, though, Gregory Spruill says: "I will never stop. I will never give up."

And with continued ownership support, he assures his friends he is here to stay.