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Minneapolis receives federal Promise Zone designation
Promise Zone initiatives seek to revitalize high poverty communities
April 28, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) Today, the Obama Administration informed the City of Minneapolis that a large portion of north Minneapolis has been selected to be designated as a Promise Zone, which will prioritize Federal resources to the area. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement during an event at the Northside Achievement Zone, or NAZ. In 2011, the Obama Administration named NAZ a Promise Neighborhood, a precursor to the Promise Zone designation launched in 2013.
The City and a range of community partners worked together to submit an application for the designation late last year, developing a community-driven plan that will focuses on housing stability, educational opportunities and training, economic development and jobs, and safe and healthy neighborhoods.
Minneapolis was one of six cities across the nation to be awarded the Promise Zone designation, out of 97 cities that applied. The other urban Promise Zones were awarded to Camden, New Jersey; Hartford, Connecticut; Indianapolis, Indiana; Sacramento, California; and St. Louis County, Missouri.
“We have been working hard to put equity at the center of growing One Minneapolis. We have received national notice for our efforts, and today’s reward of the Promise Zone designation is a tremendous step forward,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “Now that we have been selected for the Promise Zone, we’ll be equipped with more of the support and resources we need to build a better and brighter future for North Minneapolis, which means a better and brighter future for all of Minneapolis.”
“The Promise Zone plan that we’ve developed builds on and aligns our efforts to address the persistent unemployment, crime, housing blight, and poor educational outcomes in the area,” said Council President Barb Johnson. “The goal of the entire program is to create a Promise Zone that is a thriving, vibrant and economically viable asset to the people who live and work there, as well as for the rest of the city.”
“While Minneapolis is a great place to live, work, and visit, it’s no secret that the employment and educational disparities the city faces are most severe on the north side,” said Council Member Blong Yang. “The Promise Zone designation will help us continue our work to close these gaps, and improve employment and educational opportunities in north Minneapolis.”
“I’m thrilled for not only North Minneapolis, but for the future for our entire city,” said Sondra Samuels, President & CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone. “It’s an acknowledgement that Minneapolis is serious about giving all children equal opportunities to succeed. Our colleagues in Los Angeles and San Antonio who received this designation a year ago tell me it’s been transformative in their ability to impact families and children in their communities.”
What is the Promise Zone?
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced that he would designate 20 Promise Zones nationwide. This initiative recognizes and rewards cities that develop innovative approaches and aligned programming that will revitalize high-poverty communities across the country. The Minneapolis Promise Zone (MPZ) plan is a comprehensive, community-driven revitalization strategy that builds on and aligns numerous initiatives to address the persistent unemployment, crime, housing blight, and poor educational outcomes that plague the area.
Minneapolis’ community-driven plan includes six goals:
- Reduce racial inequities in public services and institutions that contribute to the ongoing economic exclusion of the MPZ residents and meaningfully engage residents in the decisions affecting their community.
- Reduce serious and violent crime by curtailing gun violence, strengthening community-law enforcement relationships, and addressing youth and domestic violence.
- Improve cradle-to-career outcomes for MPZ students, thereby reducing the racial achievement gap.
- Build a more inclusive economy in the MPZ, ensuring dollars are reinvested in the community and that goods, arts, and services are available to MPZ residents and visitors.
- Create jobs for MPZ residents through transit development and business growth incentives and craft specific strategies for youth employment.
- Promote stable housing for all MPZ residents by increasing the availability, affordability, and quality of housing stock and better coordinating support services.
Promise Zone boundaries and benefits
The boundaries of the Minneapolis Promise Zone are: Queen Avenue North (eastern), Mississippi River (western), Memorial Parkway/45th Avenue North (northern), and Bassett’s Creek (southern). The zone geography was determined based on analyses of the federal government’s priorities of high rates of poverty, unemployment, long-term vacancy, and violent crime.
The benefits of a Promise Zone designation include receiving priority points to selected competitive federal funding opportunities, up to five AmeriCORPS VISTA volunteers, federal assistance to implement the strategies, and tax incentives for businesses that hire and invest in the Promise Zone (if enacted by Congress).
For more information about the Promise Zones initiative, visit www.hud.gov/promisezones.
Published Apr 28, 2015