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HUD Archives: News Releases

Further Information:11 a.m. Tuesday
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420April 8, 1997
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25A Martin Luther King St., S. St. Petersburg, FL 33705


Vice President Al Gore and Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced nearly $2.7 million in new Federal assistance and approval for the use of $914,000 in existing Federal funds to groups in St. Petersburg, FL. The funds will be used to help improve public housing, plan for the cleanup of polluted areas, create jobs, repair damage caused by civil disturbances, and reduce crime.

More assistance will follow in the months ahead from the Federal Interagency Task Force on St. Petersburg, which is chaired by Cuomo. The task force is overseen by the Community Empowerment Board, chaired by the Vice President.

President Clinton created the task force last November, after St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer asked for Federal assistance to address racial divisions that sparked civil unrest in October and November.

Other Federal agencies on the task force are: the Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor, Small Business Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Education and Department of Justice.

"In St. Petersburg, we have formed an effective partnership for progress that can serve as a national model," Vice President Gore said. "Federal agencies, city and state officials, members of Florida's Congressional delegation, and all parts of the community are working together for the common good to make St. Petersburg a better place for all its citizens."

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore focused a Federal effort on St. Petersburg to help heal the racial and economic divisions that weakened and polarized this city," Cuomo said. "We know we can't solve all the city's problems from Washington, but we can help the many people of good will who have been working for years in St. Petersburg to improve their community."

"Now, as never before, the citizens of St. Petersburg have united to plant the seeds of trust, tolerance and cooperation," Cuomo said. "These seeds will bear fruit and will benefit every segment of the community."

Responding to the Federal announcement, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles said: "To truly rebuild St. Petersburg, we must provide jobs and opportunities for all of its citizens. Today's announcement puts St. Petersburg on the right track."

Mayor Fischer said: "Since the disturbances last fall, our community has come together like never before. We're working to get to the root of the causal factors that contributed to the disturbances, and formulate a plan to move St. Petersburg forward. These partnerships that were formed within our community and its local government -- and now with state and federal agencies -- will continue the healing process that is essential to the future vitality of our community."

The Rev. Manuel Sykes, member of the St. Petersburg Citizens' Advisory Committee and President of the Coalition for African American Leadership, Inc., said: "The federal effort has created a forum which is inclusive of all the community and its resources. Together, these groups are forging long-term solutions and building long-term relationships that create balance, harmony and equality throughout the city."

Here is a summary of the grants and loans announced by Vice President Gore and Secretary Cuomo today:

  • HUD -- $250,000 to the Pinellas Workforce Development Board to help residents of the Jordan Park public housing development get job training, education, child care services, and job placement to help them move from welfare to work. In addition, approval was given to use $614,000 in previously allocated funds to renovate and remove lead paint from apartments at Jordan Park. Another $300,000 in previously allocated funds will be used for site and building improvements at the Graham Park and James Park public housing developments.

  • EPA -- $100,000 to help assess "brownfields" -- sites that are environmentally contaminated -- so the sites can later be cleaned up and used productively. $200,000 in grants to plan future uses of brownfields properties and to develop ways to attract businesses to locate at the sites. $200,000 in grants to work with St. Petersburg Junior College in partnership with the Pinellas County Public Schools to provide environmental job training for 100 residents of South St. Petersburg over two years.

  • SBA -- $1.55 million in low-interest loans that have been approved for businesses and residents that suffered property damage in the community disturbances.

  • JUSTICE -- $385,000 in Weed and Seed program grants to St. Petersburg and community organizations to reduce crime and drug abuse; strengthen police-community relations; and create recreational, social and economic development programs that will positively influence young people.

    Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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