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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-155
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Monday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 23, 1999


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $6 million in assistance for Shreveport, Louisiana, to redevelop its historic river front area. The project will create an estimated 700 jobs and stimulate more than $18 million in additional investment.

"One of the most important challenges facing cities today is cleaning up and revitalizing abandoned industrial and commercial sites that were the engines of America's economic greatness in our past," Cuomo said. "Working in partnership with communities, we can transform these areas into generators of new jobs and new prosperity in our future."

Cuomo made the announcement today during a conference call with Senator Mary Landrieu, Congressman Jim McCrery, and Shreveport Mayor Keith Hightower.

Sen. Mary Landrieu said: "Revitalizing Shreveport's downtown riverfront area is vital to the city's continued growth and development, and this important grant will help continue the momentum local leaders have already started. The entire riverfront area, including historic Cross Bayou, is rich in historical and cultural resources. Redevelopment of these areas will mean the arrival of much-needed retail and commercial development, allowing low- and moderate-income residents to benefit from new job opportunities. In addition, revitalizing the riverfront will bring increased tax revenues that can be used for badly needed infrastructure repairs and mixed-income housing and retail development."

Congressman Jim McCrery said: "I am pleased the Department of Housing and Urban Development has made these funds available to the city of Shreveport. This money will create new jobs and commercial opportunities that will provide a positive boost to the economy of the Cross Bayou/Riverfront Development District."

Shreveport will receive a $1 million Brownfields Economic Development Initiative grant and $5 million in loan guarantees to increase the economic viability of the Cross Bayou/Riverfront Development District. The project will enhance efforts to redevelop and revitalize Shreve Square, including the restoration of 30,000 square feet of existing building space and the construction of 10,000 additional square feet on vacant lots or properties requiring demolition. New development in this $24 million project will include restaurants, retail space, public space and a farmers market. Workforce development programs will be administered through public and community-based organizations to ensure employment opportunities for low to moderate-income citizens.

The Cross Bayou/Riverfront development district has substantial environmental obstacles to overcome. Many of the sites were abandoned during the regional "Oil Bust" of the 1980s when the area lost more than 10,000 industrial jobs. Shreveport's recent growth has bypassed these brownfields in favor of prime agricultural land, contributing to urban sprawl, and a lack of public transportation has made it difficult for inner city residents to get to jobs.

Brownfield sites include abandoned factories and other industrial facilities, gasoline stations, oil storage facilities, dry cleaning stores, and other businesses that dealt with polluting substances. Since 1993, the Clinton Administration has taken a series of actions to clean up and redevelop brownfields and return them to productive use, including: providing seed money to communities for revitalization; removing regulatory barriers to redevelopment; and providing a targeted tax incentive to businesses that purchase and clean up the sites.

The loan guarantees, also known as the Section 108 Program, provide communities with a source of financing for job creation, housing rehabilitation, and construction of public facilities and large-scale development projects.

Vice President Gore announced the Clinton Administration's Brownfields National Partnership in 1997 to bring together resources of over 20 federal agencies to address brownfield cleanup and redevelopment issues in a coordinated approach. HUD works with other federal agencies to provide communities with financial and technical assistance to revitalize brownfields.

Cuomo accompanied President Clinton last month on the President's New Markets Tour of economically distressed communities that highlighted the economic potential for investment in underserved markets. The President is proposing tax incentives and investment tools that will make it more attractive for corporate America to search for opportunities in such communities.

A recent HUD report titled New Markets: The Untapped Retail Buying Power In America's Inner Cities showed that America's inner city neighborhoods - with $331 billion in annual retail purchasing power - hold major economic potential for retail business growth. The report found:

  • Inner city neighborhoods possess enormous retail purchasing power - estimated at $331 billion last year, or one-third of the $1.1 trillion total for the central cities in which those neighborhoods are located. The report suggests that businesses not yet operating in inner cities should not ignore that large domestic market.
  • Despite their huge buying power, many inner city communities are "under-retailed," with sales that fall significantly short of residents' retail purchasing power. The report makes clear that there is a large inner city consumer market worth competing for.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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