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CUOMO DESIGNATES HOMEOWNERSHIP ZONE IN TRENTON AND ANNOUNCES $3.8 MILLION IN GRANTS THAT WILL SPARK $30.1 MILLION IN INVESTMENT
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today designated 212 acres near downtown Trenton as HUD's eighth Homeownership Zone and awarded the City a $3.8 million grant. The action is expected to attract an additional $30.1 million in investment to transform the blighted inner city area into a thriving neighborhood of owner-occupied single-family homes.
HUD's investment will lead to the construction of 177 new homes and the rehabilitation of 73 others. A total of 127 of the 250 homes will be reserved for low-income families. The Zone is expected to increase the homeownership rate from 30 percent to 50 percent in the neighborhood.
HUD funds will be used to buy land and make infrastructure improvements to effectively cut costs for families buying homes and for retailers and other businesses setting up shop in the Canal Banks Homeownership Zone, increasing the attractiveness of the area.
In addition to the 250 homes that will replace vacant lots and blighted properties in the Zone, a retail center financed by private investment will bring a new supermarket, a health care center and educational facilities to the neighborhood.
Cuomo announced the designation in a telephone news conference with Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Congressman Christopher Smith.
"HUD's Homeownership Zone initiative is designed to turn back the clock on urban decay," Cuomo said. "It will help revitalize Trenton and other cities after decades of decline and help neighborhoods that prospered in years past to achieve a new prosperity in the years ahead."
The Homeownership Zone initiative is a successful partnership that combines the resources of government on all levels, homebuilders, non-profit groups and the business community, Cuomo said.
In addition to the City of Trenton and the State of New Jersey, four organizations will work with HUD to attract businesses, create jobs and make the Canal Banks Homeownership Zone a more desirable place to live. They are: Fleet Bank; North American Mortgage Corporation; Isle, Inc.; Neighborhood Housing Services of Trenton; and Resources for Human Development.
Senator Lautenberg said: "I thank Secretary Cuomo for recognizing Trenton's need for increased homeownership, jobs and economic development opportunities. I congratulate Mayor Palmer and all the City officials who worked so hard to put together a strong application for this very competitive award to revitalize Trenton's most distressed area."
Senator Robert Torricelli said: "Doug Palmer knows that homeownership can transform neighborhoods into strong, vital communities. His efforts to increase homeownership in the Canal Banks will make a significant difference to the City of Trenton, and I am proud to have worked with HUD to make the federal government a partner in this endeavor."
Congressman Smith said: "Just a few months ago, the possibility of receiving this grant was deemed a longshot. But with good teamwork and a lot of perseverance, we demonstrated to HUD that Trenton was truly deserving of the monies awarded today."
Mayor Palmer said: "If the redevelopment project going on in Trenton's historic Canal Banks area were the subject of a Hollywood movie, this grant award would play the starring role - that's how important it is. This award is the linchpin of our revitalization effort. The beauty of our application is that it brings together public/private partnerships that will guarantee a larger pool of financial and human resources for the important community revitalization projects that must be done to continue making our neighborhoods whole again."
The Zone, located north of downtown Trenton along the banks of the Delaware and Raritan Canal, currently has some of the highest crime, vacancy and poverty rates in the City, and also suffers from environmental contamination. Environmental cleanup is already underway at three sites - known as brownfields - and will be completed as part of the development plan for the Zone.
HUD's Homeownership Zone initiative, begun last April, is designed to revitalize decaying urban areas by creating large new neighborhoods of owner-occupied, single-family homes. The new neighborhoods will attract new residents, new businesses and new jobs to inner cities.
Last year HUD designated Homeownership Zones in Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Louisville, Philadelphia and Sacramento. Last month Cuomo designated Long Beach, CA as the seventh Homeownership Zone. Cuomo will announce Zones in four other cities in coming weeks. In all, 67 cities applied for designation as Homeownership Zones this year in a nationwide competition.
The Clinton Administration's 1999 proposed HUD budget asks for $25 million for Homeownership Zones, to create new Zones in five to seven cities next year.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009