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PRESIDENT CLINTON AND SECRETARY CUOMO PRESENT EAST ST. LOUIS AND ST. LOUIS WITH $3 MILLION EMPOWERMENT ZONE GRANT
EAST ST. LOUIS, IL - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo joined President Clinton today in delivering a $3 million Empowerment Zone grant to East St. Louis, IL; St. Louis, MO; Wellston, MO; and St. Louis County, MO, to help revitalize some of the poorest neighborhoods in the communities.
The communities were jointly named as a Regional Urban Empowerment Zone by Vice President Al Gore in January. The $3 million grant they will share will enable them to implement the strategic plan they prepared - a roadmap for community revitalization that local governments, businesses and community groups will follow to stimulate economic growth and job creation. The communities will work together to find regional solutions to challenges facing the metropolitan area.
Cuomo joined the mayors of St. Louis, East St. Louis and Wellston, along with the County Executive of St. Louis County, in signing the agreement conveying the $3 million to their communities.
While in East St. Louis, the President and Cuomo joined with community and business leaders - including Walgreens President David Bernauer and athlete Jackie Joyner Kersee - to tour a new Walgreens pharmacy and discount store before speaking to a community rally.
"Places like East St. Louis represent America's most important emerging markets - markets reflected in underutilized labor, well-located land that is rich in infrastructure, and major retail opportunities," Cuomo said. "East St. Louis also represents a major opportunity for the nation to broaden the reach of its record-breaking economic expansion."
East St. Louis was the third stop on President Clinton's New Markets Tour of six urban and rural communities where unemployment is too high and jobs are too scarce. Corporate and governmental leaders are joining the President on the tour, during which he is announcing new initiatives to bring economic opportunity to these places left behind.
In addition to delivering the Empowerment Zone grant, the President announced that in cooperation with HUD, Sallie Mae will grant $50,000 to help launch a new College Information Center. The center will offer counseling, informational workshops and a resource library about educational and financial aid programs to help students go to college. The Center will also offer "Kids 2 College", an early college planning program for 6th graders.
Sallie Mae officials joined the President in St. Louis for the announcement. Also contributing to the project are Boston's Education Resources Institute, nearby colleges and universities, libraries, and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
The St. Louis-East St. Louis Zone and the other 14 new Urban Empowerment Zones announced in January will each receive $3 million in federal grants this year and $130 million in tax-exempt bonding authority over the next 10 years as a result of the designation.
If Congress approves President Clinton's request for full funding of the new Empowerment Zones, the St. Louis-East St. Louis Zone and the other 14 Urban Zones designated in January will receive $100 million each in federal grants over 10 years.
"This Empowerment Zone is an important investment in a better future for the people of the St. Louis and East St. Louis area," Cuomo said. "These communities need and deserve the full $100 million that President Clinton has requested from Congress, so we can replace poverty with prosperity and build stronger and healthier communities."
If the St. Louis-East St. Louis Zone receives full funding from Congress, the federal investment is expected to stimulate about $2.4 billion in additional private and public sector investment, and create or retain about 8,500 jobs.
The St. Louis-East St. Louis Empowerment Zone has a population of about 50,000 and a poverty rate of about 47 percent. It covers about 14 square miles in parts of the communities making up the Zone.
HUD has been heavily involved in helping East St. Louis, which has received assistance as an Enterprise Community since 1994. Over $18 million in HUD Community Development Block Grant funds have been used for revitalization projects, including for land acquisition, demolition, and infrastructure for the Walgreens Shopping Center that the President visited today.
Block grant programs have also been used to fund infrastructure projects in East St. Louis. These include building roads, clearing debris, and maintaining neighborhood parks surrounding the new Jackie Joyner Kersee Center, which is a community youth development/recreation facility.
In addition, HUD has invested more than $4.1 million in HOME block grant funds since 1993 in housing rehabilitation and new construction in East St. Louis. Recently, HOME contributed $1 million toward a new $3.7 million rental/ownership development.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009
Content Archived: January 20, 2009