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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-387
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Saturday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 8, 1998


AKRON, OH - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo visited Akron today to present Mayor Don Plusquellic with the final $1.48 million installment of funding for Akron's Enterprise Community and to see the success of the city's revitalization efforts.

Cuomo said the $1.48 million in assistance for job creation, economic development and social services that he delivered to Akron today comes on top of the $1.52 million in federal funds that the Enterprise Community received earlier.

Akron would qualify for additional assistance if its application to be designated as an Empowerment Zone is approved. President Clinton has proposed creating 15 new urban Empowerment Zones, which receive greater assistance than Enterprise Communities.

"Akron's Enterprise Community is one of the best in the nation and can serve as a model for successful job creation and economic development," Cuomo said. "I've come here to learn from all you have accomplished and to tell you that the Clinton Administration stands behind your efforts and is proud that our assistance has played a role in your success."

"Mayor Plusquellic, other local officials, the business community and non-profit groups have joined with residents to work as a united team to revitalize an inner city neighborhood and bring new opportunity to those living here," Cuomo said. "Together, you are sending a message loud and clear to America that the best days of Akron are not in its past, but in its future."

Mayor Plusquellic said: "We welcome HUD Secretary Cuomo's arrival in Akron to see the good work of our partners in the Enterprise Community Program. The Secretary is a strong champion of mid-size cities with his message of community empowerment and sustainable economic development."

Congressman Tom Sawyer said: "Mr. Cuomo may be visiting from Washington, but as Secretary of HUD he is in many ways coming home. For more than 20 years, Akron has participated in numerous HUD-sponsored projects. Almost everywhere we look in Akron - Quaker Square, Canal Square Condominiums, the redevelopment of the B.F. Goodrich complex, and in countless neighborhoods - there are bright, shining signs of the Akron-HUD partnership. That partnership continues today across the city, and especially in our Enterprise Community."

Plusquellic joined Cuomo today in a tour of the Enterprise Community, which includes high poverty areas in downtown Akron and around the University of Akron, and is home to about 50,000 people.

Cuomo discussed progress in the Enterprise Community and the effort to create new Empowerment Zones with Mayor Plusquellic, other local officials, business leaders and residents of the Enterprise Community during a community roundtable meeting. The group also discussed ways HUD and Akron can work together to spur additional economic development, job growth and housing construction.

"HUD is proud to be a partner in the success of Akron's Enterprise Community," Cuomo said. "Our role in Washington is not to tell the people of Akron what is best for this community. Our role is to help local people implement programs they decide will deliver the greatest benefits."

Accomplishments in Akron's Enterprise Community include:

  • Creation of a revolving loan fund program to provide loans of up to $75,000 to small businesses.
  • Establishment of the Akron Industrial Incubator and the Safe Harbor Minority Incubator to provide technical assistance to businesses to help them expand. Cuomo visited the Akron Industrial Incubator.
  • Renovation of a primary care health care facility that is expected to serve 3,000 people a year.
  • Creation of an Entrepreneurial Training Program for residents and businesses.

Akron's Enterprise Community was designated by President Clinton in 1994 - one of 72 Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities created around the nation. The designation won Akron $3 million in federal grants to act as a catalyst to spark an economic rebirth of the area.

Cuomo said the President's budget would jump-start the economies of America's communities, particularly cities, where job growth has trailed other parts of the country. Just 13 percent of the 14 million jobs created around the nation in the past five years are in central cities.

In addition to the new Empowerment Zones, nationwide programs targeted for expansion and improvement in the President's proposed budget involving jobs and economic opportunity include: $400 million in grants for a Community Empowerment Fund to create and retain an estimated 280,000 jobs; expanded Community Development Block Grants to local communities; and increased funding for programs to redevelop contaminated industrial sites and for programs to train high school dropouts for jobs.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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