HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 04-088
Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685 x 7527

For Release
September 13, 2004

Community Development Excellence Awards Mark 30th Anniversary of CDBG

WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced 14 communities are receiving HUD's Community Development Excellence Award for their outstanding work in using Community Development Block Grant funding to create better communities and to improve the lives of their lower income residents. HUD will formally present the awards tomorrow during a two-day national conference in Washington to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant Program.

The recipients of the Community Development Excellence Award are (see attached summaries):

1. The State of Virginia
2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
3. Wheeling, West Virginia
4. Sheboygan, Wisconsin
5. St. Paul, Minnesota
6. Pharr, Texas
7. Santa Fe, New Mexico
8. Yuma, Arizona
9. The State of Texas
10. Portland, Oregon
11. Los Angeles County, California
12. Jacksonville/Duvall County, Florida
13. Wichita, Kansas
14. Bayamón, Puerto Rico

"These communities are outstanding examples of how CDBG works," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "In a climate where results and performance count, these communities, and many others like them, are doing wonderful work building better neighborhoods and creating greater opportunities for their lower income residents."

In selecting these communities, HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development solicited recommendations from the Department's field offices around the country. Each winning nominee represents a CDBG-funded project or initiative that has been completed, has completed a major phase, or has a proven track record of improving communities and benefiting the people who live in them, specifically lower income residents.

HUD also presented awards to five national organizations for furthering the principles of the Community Development Block Grant Program and benefiting low- and moderate-income communities. Those organizations are:

  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors
  • The National Association of Counties
  • The National Community Development Association
  • The Council of State Community Development Agencies
  • The National Association for County Community and Economic Development

Background on CDBG

When President Gerald Ford signed the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 into law, state and local leaders around the country got a powerful new tool to help stimulate community development and job growth - the Community Development Block Grant Program. Thirty years later, CDBG continues to help more than a thousand communities to do what they could not accomplish themselves.

For the past 30 years, CDBG has awarded over $108 billion to state and local governments to target their own community development priorities. While, the rehabilitation of affordable housing has traditionally been the largest single use of the grants, CDBG is also an important catalyst for job growth and business opportunities. CDBG funds are distributed by formula around the country based on a community's population, poverty levels, growth rate, housing overcrowding and the age of its housing stock.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and


State of Virginia
Department of Housing and Community Development

For the Self Help Virginia Program

One of the most pressing rural community development challenges is finding cost-effective ways to provide dependable potable water and sanitary wastewater disposal to residents of small rural communities (nationally, states spend about 25 percent of their CDBG funds on water and sewer activities). One novel concept is to take the self-help construction approach (most commonly associated with housing construction for extremely-low income homebuyers) and apply it to the installation of water and sewer lines. This concept, pioneered by the Renssellaerville Institute, has been adopted by several states, including the State of Virginia.

The Self Help Virginia Water and Sewer Program is particularly innovative and successful. Through this program, the state is able to bring centralized water or sewer service to remote, underserved and low-income rural communities where conventional infrastructure financing would simply not be economically feasible. The Self Help Virginia program has been especially successful in the Appalachian counties of the state where the mountainous topography increases the engineering and cost challenges of building facilities for isolated communities and where the effects of coal mining in the region have resulted in severe water quality and supply problems.

The Self Help Virginia program takes advantage of local volunteer labor, initiative and creativity to provide water and sewer services where those services would be difficult or unaffordable to provide through conventional means. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development provides extensive up-front technical assistance to help communities assess whether the program makes sense for them. Involving neighborhood residents in the construction management and in the actual installation of water and sewer lines means CDBG funds can be directed to engineering, materials and other necessary construction costs. The reduced labor costs mean savings of 40 percent or more can be achieved over conventional, contractor-built systems. This means first-time or upgraded water and sewer service can be provided to communities where it would otherwise be cost-prohibitive.

In the past six years, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development has provided over $6.1 million of CDBG funding to assist 30 projects. Over 100 miles of pipe have been laid and more than 2800 people now have (or will soon have) reliable water and sewer service. The state has further supported revitalization in these areas with housing rehabilitation grants and other community development investments. The state has stretched its dollars by combining CDBG funding with Appalachian Regional Commission funding and local dollars. The state estimates the cost savings from the Self Help Virginia program to be nearly $10 million (a 62 percent reduction from the estimated "retail cost" of these projects had they been totally contracted out). The ultimate beneficiaries of this program are not just the community residents served, but other communities as well. By minimizing the CDBG investment in individual projects, more communities can be served statewide.

State of Texas
Office of Rural Community Affairs and
Department of Housing & Community Affairs

For accomplishments in addressing the needs of Colonias residents

Colonias are rural communities and neighborhoods located within 150 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border that lack adequate infrastructure and other basic services. Colonias typically have high rates of poverty making it difficult for residents to pay for roads, sanitary water and sewer systems, decent housing, street lighting and other services. There are an estimated 2000 colonias in the border region. Texas has the largest number of colonia and the largest colonia resident population.

In 1991, Congress mandated that the four southwest border states must set aside up to 10 percent of their annual CDBG program allocations for activities that address the infrastructure and housing needs of colonias residents. HUD requires Texas to set aside the full 10 percent of its CDBG allocation for use in colonias. As Texas' annual CDBG allocation is over $80 million, this set-aside has provided nearly $114 million in CDBG resources for colonias over the past 14 years.

In dealing with the needs of its colonias residents, the State of Texas has chosen to go well beyond what Congress or HUD requires. Texas law directs 12.5 percent of the State's CDBG program be used in colonias. The Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) in conjunction with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) have worked hard to coordinate and maximize the delivery of other federal and state resources along with CDBG funds to improve the lives of colonia residents.

The State of Texas has an impressive track record of accomplishments. The state has funded more than 300 projects in the colonias using its CDBG funds. In addition, more than $38 million of HOME, State Housing Trust Fund and State Housing Bond Financing funds have been provided for colonia activities including:

  • Home improvement loans
  • Downpayment assistance for first-time homebuyers
  • Loans for acquisition & construction of new owner-occupied housing
  • Development of new affordable rental housing units
  • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
  • Installation of first-time water and sewer service to colonias
  • Installation of new wells and septic systems for homes
  • Construction of community centers
  • Planning activities
  • Ongoing funding of 5 colonia self-help centers along the border

ORCA and TDHCA have worked with other state agencies such as the Attorney General's Office, the Water Development Board, and State Universities; with other federal agencies such as EPA and USDA; with FNMA and builders, to coordinate state initiatives as diverse as legal action against unscrupulous developers; promote innovative house designs and building techniques; and to give colonia residents themselves a stake in the improvement of their communities, through self-help housing construction and infrastructure installation.

Much remains to be done in the border region; populations are growing and the estimated cost to address needs is astonishingly high. But the State of Texas is making things happen, and can point to hundreds of colonias in which they have already made a significant improvement in peoples' lives.

Bayamón, Puerto Rico

The CDBG Program

The CDBG Program in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, expanded the options available to promote physical, social and economic development in a community which, during the decades of the 60s, 70s and 80s, was characterized by a rapid population growth and the development of suburban housing but lacking complementary infrastructure, facilities and services.

During past decades, more than $193 million has been invested through CDBG, providing the community a diverse, flexible and effective tool for the development of decent housing and suitable living environments. CDBG footprints can be found all over the municipal territory and the present infrastructure. The improved quality of life that the people of Bayamón enjoy today has been facilitated through the assistance provided, as well as by good planning and administration practices.

Among the outstanding projects developed with CDBG funds is the Bayamón Science Park. With its museums, public areas, recreational and educational facilities, it is visited and enjoyed by the entire population of Bayamón and surrounding communities, particularly children of school age. Investment of CDBG funds in this project totals $9.7 million.

Another project that is a showcase for other communities is Comunidad El Polvorin, where CDBG funds were used for acquisition and relocation of 100 families living in a slum area. Using from from several local and state sources, a new modern community emerged including 117 units housing community named Villas de San Miguel.

We can proudly say that, in Bayamón, the misfortune of poverty has progressively been overcome through the implementation of activities made possible through CDBG.

Los Angeles County, California

Business Technology Center

The Business Technology Center (BTC) is California's largest high-tech business incubator and the only technology incubator in the nation owned and operated by a County agency. Opened in 1998, the BTC is a 40,000 square foot facility that has been visited by delegations from more than 25 countries. The total project costs for the BTC was approximately $5.5 million, of which $3.5 million funded through Community Development Block Grant and more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA).

One of the most unique features of the BTC is its location in a minority community whose residents are 48 percent low- or moderate-income. Most high technology incubators are operated by universities or are located in high-technology settings. The County of Los Angeles Community Development Commission (CDC) made a conscious decision to locate the BTC in a redevelopment project area. The primary risk was that the surrounding corridor would dissuade new technology firms from locating at the BTC. However, placing the BTC in Altadena met three key objectives and the results have been impressive:

Removing slum and blight - The CDC purchased a three-acre site that had been used as an illegal recycling center, a storage yard for heavy equipment, a tobacco billboard and a trash dumping area. It cleared the site and built a new "wired-for-sound" building which would be at home in any high tech corridor in the nation.

Providing an anchor to revitalize a commercial corridor - Since its construction, the CDC has entered into an agreement with a developer for new retail, office and housing for the corridor.

Using technology to jump-start a disadvantaged community
- Studies indicate that technology will be the catalyst for economic development in the next decades. Rather than using common place methods for energizing a disadvantaged community such as community centers, training facilities, retail development, the CDC decided to bring a center for high technology business creation right into a disadvantaged community. The calculus was that there would be short-term benefits (elimination of slum and blight); mid-term benefits (100-200 people bringing income into the community for purchases of office supplies, services, lunches, etc.); and, long-term benefits (nexus to high technology to bridge the digital divide).

Today, the BTC serves 39 tenant and affiliate firms with specialties ranging from fuel cells to biometric software to make DNA micro arrays more effective. Over 45 percent of BTC firms have received more than $65 million in equity investment and creating more than 475 jobs. The BTC has been honored by awards from the National Association of Counties, the California Association for Local Economic Development, and the Governor's Office of the State of California.

Jacksonville, Florida

Royal Terrace Neighborhood Comprehensive Infrastructure Improvement Project

The Royal Terrace neighborhood is one of the City of Jacksonville's oldest and poorest neighborhoods. The community is home to 4,286 residents with nearly 65 percent being of low- and moderate-income. The City has invested more than $20 million of CDBG funds to greatly revitalize the neighborhood. When non-CDBG funds are added to the revitalization effort, the cost exceeds $25 million. Much of this revitalization has been accomplished during the last seven years.

The improvements that resulted directly from CDBG include extensive drainage, sewer, paving, and curbs and gutter improvements. These have directly benefited all of the neighborhood residents. Since 1998, CDBG and HOME funds have been expended to rehabilitate the homes of 72 low- and moderate-income residents. In addition, CDBG-funded rehabilitation has resulted in 75 homes of low- and moderate-income persons being hooked up to sewer lines. A $700,000 Section 108 loan guarantee assisted with the rehabilitation of a 200-unit apartment complex where all of the residents receive Section 8 assistance. A private investor contributed $4.5 million to the rehabilitation.

CDBG funds also addressed part of the rehabilitation of vacant buildings that have now been converted into commercial facilities that house businesses. The converted facilities include a public dental clinic, community room, and a women's public health clinic. All the commercial facilities primarily serve the neighborhood. The commercial facilities are located at Royal Terrace Plaza I, and Royal Terrace Plaza II. Finally, the local Habit for Humanity Chapter (Habijax) has constructed 214 homes in the neighborhood since 1999. Of course, all of these homes were built for low- and moderate-income families that are now sharing in the American Dream of homeownership. The CDBG public facility improvements mentioned above had a direct and positive impact on the Habijax home construction in the neighborhood.

Pharr, Texas

Las Milpas

In 1986 and 1988, the City of Pharr annexed the two sections of an area known as Las Milpas, one of the first "colonia" subdivisions in south Pharr. The Las Milpas area was known as the largest Colonia in South Texas with a population of 9,564 and more than 2,000 homes. At that time, Las Milpas was a substandard subdivision that lacked many of the essential infrastructure improvements such as drainage, sewer, water and street paving. The area's high poverty heightened the need for social, health and economic services, all sorely lacking. The majority of the Las Milpas residents (84 percent) earn less than 30 percent of the area's median income.

Colonias originated in the early 1940's in rural areas of the county because of the lack of adequate housing and development standards. During the 1970's and 80's, the number of colonias grew rapidly as developers took advantage of this. They knew there was a high demand for residential lots with affordable payment terms. While the downpayment might have been considered affordable at $10-to-$50, the financing terms and land the families were buying were not. The interest rates were extremely high, with the majority of these transactions on a "Contract for Deed" basis with no underwriting criteria. Most of the housing was developed in low-lying areas with no flood controls.

Since its annexation, the City of Pharr began to make significant infrastructure improvements to upgrade the area with more $37 million dollars of CDBG funds directed to this ongoing project. Potable water and sewer services were provided to more than 4,450 families in the area, and as utility infrastructure improvements utilizing CDBG monies were put in place, the City began funding paving and drainage for six neighborhoods. At the same time, the City provided various facilities in the area including a fire department substation, a Boys and Girls Club, a community center, and a police substation.

In 2000, the City of Pharr received approval of a Section 108 Guaranteed Loan to provide improvements to the Las Milpas/Pharr Industrial Park that has provided for the economic and infrastructure development needed to stimulate the local economy. Combined with other federal funding, the Industrial Park and the designation as a Free Trade Zone serves as a catalyst to attract private enterprise both north and south of the border, thereby boosting the incentives for employment in Las Milpas and surrounding South Texas communities.

Today, the Las Milpas/South Pharr area is no longer considered a Colonia, as it has now become a growing community with pride. Latest Census figures show a population of more than 17,000 with 3,300 housing units. With this increase in population, the needed infrastructure in place, ongoing economic development and social services available, many new businesses have opened in the area, thereby creating even more jobs and providing goods and services. In August 2004 the area welcomed its first Jack in the Box Restaurant. All it took was one national chain to open its doors in Las Milpas, and now others are following in its footsteps.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Poplar Nehemiah Homeownership Development

The Poplar Nehemiah Homeownership development in Philadelphia built and sold 176 new construction homeownership units in North Philadelphia, in an area centered on 13th and Poplar Streets. CDBG and a Section 108 guaranteed loan totaling $14.6 million acquired the site, performed environmental cleanup, and subsidized the construction of the units. HUD's Nehemiah program also provided $15,000 per unit. In addition, the City's Capital Program provided funds for infrastructure and streets construction. The houses were completed in phases between 1997 and 2000.

The development reconfigured the existing street pattern and created a Village Green community park, which is maintained by the Homeowners' Association. The project was instrumental in transforming a blighted, abandoned area located between Center City and Temple University. Housing values in the area have doubled since the project was completed.

Poplar Enterprise Development Corp., the project's developer, helped to create a joint venture between a CDBG-supported Neighborhood Advisory Committee ("NAC") called the West Poplar NAC, and the Enterprise Foundation of Columbia, Maryland, a nationally known affordable housing developer and intermediary. The development (including site planning and house design) grew out of a collaborative planning process between the community and the City. The architectural firm of Kise, Straw, Kolodner worked with the design team throughout the process.

The Poplar Nehemiah Homeownership development is a shining example of a successful activity undertaken by a community-based development organization to provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households.

Portland, Oregon


The city of Portland's most ambitious and successful CDBG project to date, Rosemont involved the redevelopment of an eight-acre site to preserve the historic Villa St. Rose School and Convent while creating a range of affordable homeownership and rental housing opportunities.

Rosemont is not only unique because of its scale, it demonstrates innovative public-private collaboration in the provision of housing and services. It used creative redevelopment strategies to return an abandoned local landmark to use and placement on the National Register of Historic Places. And in the best Portland tradition, the Rosemont redevelopment engaged the broader community and many neighborhood residents in the planning process.

Completed in 2002, Rosemont integrates several different housing types, provides a spectrum of affordability, and includes much-needed community services. A visitor to Rosemont today would see young children and seniors living and playing next door to one other in a community made up of:
100 units of senior rental housing in the preserved and expanded Villa St. Rose convent building;
18 new family rental units; 17 affordable homes for first-time buyers; 30 row houses, town homes, and single-family units for sale at market rate; and, a Head Start facility under construction that will have five classrooms and administrative offices.

Among the 165 units at Rosemont, the 118 senior and family rentals owned and managed by Northwest Housing Alternatives all have rents affordable to households with incomes less than 60 percent of the area's median. Habitat for Humanity and HOST Community Development Corporation built and sold 17 of Rosemont's homebuyer units to low- and moderate-income families. All of these units are on land held by the Portland Community Land Trust to ensure permanent affordability.

In addition, the city of Portland provided more than $3.9 million in permanent CDBG financing to develop senior housing at the Villa St. Rose, help with site planning, make street and other public improvements, and provide homebuyer assistance.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Business Incubator

The "business incubator" concept is a very successful method for creating strong businesses. Since opening in December 1997, the Santa Fe Business Incubator has developed 45 companies that have created over 260 new jobs and increased tax revenues. The City of Santa Fe provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to the Business Incubator to expand economic opportunities for persons of low and moderate income. The Business Incubator is located in Tierra Contenta, a planned community that focuses on affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents. The 30,000-square foot facility includes office, service and production spaces, along with meeting rooms, break areas and administrative spaces.

The objective of the Business Incubator is to assist the participants in increasing their economic opportunities by helping them start and grow their own successful businesses and create more jobs. This program provides rent subsidies, special technical assistance and educational opportunities for low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs, and assists the participants in attending business seminars and workshops. Through their participation in the Business Incubator, these entrepreneurs are exposed to professional business practices, consulting and technical assistance. They also have the use of a full-range business facility, a business library and resource room, workshops and business training. They have access to the help and support of the Business Incubator's CEO, staff, the Advisory Council, and other entrepreneurs in the Business Incubator. Most clients stay approximately three years before "graduating" into commercial space in the community.

CDBG funds are used to fund the Low- and Moderate-Business Opportunity Program (BOP). The BOP is especially important in that it provides intensive assistance to low- and-moderate-income entrepreneurs in Santa Fe where high rents and labor costs make it difficult to start and grow new businesses. The Business Incubator is a very successful tool for creating strong businesses and the BOP makes its programs more readily accessible to lower income members of the community.

Since 1998, the Santa Fe Business Incubator and the Business Opportunity Program achievements include:

  • 12 companies have created 35 new jobs.
  • Of the seven companies currently enrolled in the BOP, five are women- and/or minority-owned businesses.
  • One BOP company increased revenues by 32 percent last year. Another achieved a 25 percent revenue growth.

In addition to the BOP program, the Business Incubator received $60,000 in planning funds from CDBG in 1995-1997. Also, the Business Incubator has been awarded a Section 108 Loan Guarantee Grant in the amount of $300,000 for construction of Phase II of Business Incubator and rehabilitation and retrofit of Phase I facility and an Economic Development Initiative grant of $300,000. These funds have not yet been disbursed, but should be available during the first half of FY 2004/05.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Water Street Housing Redevelopment Project

The Water Street Housing Redevelopment is the largest housing redevelopment project in the history of Sheboygan and has created 198 units of multi-family and elderly housing. The project is located on 15 acres along the Sheboygan River on an old industrial site. The residential section of the neighborhood, in close proximity to downtown and a scenic riverfront, was in serious disrepair with many vacant lots. The neighborhood was in such bad shape that longtime residents of Sheboygan commonly referred to it as "the Hole".

In 1995, the City of Sheboygan began acquiring tax delinquent parcels and purchasing and cleaning vacant lots with $1 million in CDBG funds. Next, the City of Sheboygan approved a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district, which contributed $6 million and was awarded $1 million in Section 108 loan guarantee assistance to acquire the remainder of the buildings on the site. Good planning and $2 million in CDBG funds allowed the project to leverage an additional $15,000,000 in private sector dollars. The project also received $1,000,000 in Section 42 tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and on-going assistance from HUD Section 8.

The results are impressive. An old dilapidated industrial building was completely rehabilitated into a 72-unit apartment building. The beautiful Garton Toy Factory has a mix of 50 Section 42 affordable family units and 22 market rate family units with gorgeous views of the Sheboygan River. In addition, there are 66 units of HUD-subsidized Older Adult housing at the Waterview Senior Apartments and 60 Section 42 affordable family units at the Riverwalk Apartments. The success of these projects has facilitated a -unit market rate condominium project, named River's Edge, and in 2004 a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the first of 27 market rate townhomes and condominiums. The Water Street Redevelopment project also includes two neighborhood parks with amenities that include: restroom facilities, trails, playground equipment, a basketball court, sand volleyball court, children's splash pad, benches, lighting, and landscaping.

According to Mayor James Schramm, "Sheboygan has embraced change and has worked hard toward an integration of lower and higher income households and neighborhoods that offer recreational, cultural, and social opportunities to all people of all backgrounds, incomes, and ages. Teamwork played a pivotal role in the Water Street Redevelopment Project. Without the cooperation of HUD, WHEDA, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), private developers, and more importantly the residents of the community, the Water Street neighborhood in the City's downtown district would have remained blighted, dilapidated, and contaminated. Instead, Sheboygan celebrates a neighborhood that is diverse both economically and culturally, with architecture that is high quality, cohesive, and desirable."

St. Paul, Minnesota

Ames Lake Redevelopment Project

Ames Lake Redevelopment is a four-phase project that encompasses a four-city block area within St. Paul. When the project began, there were 38 apartment buildings that had received little or no investment over the years. More than 1,600 residents lived in one- and two-bedroom units constructed in the 1960s. The apartment buildings had multiple owners and suffered from inconsistent property management. Numerous police calls were made to the area and people generally felt unsafe.

With the help of CDBG funds, the City acquired these buildings with the help of Real Estate Equities who will own and manage all of the units. Extensive renovation created larger units to accommodate families and new rental townhomes will be constructed to replace the most blighted buildings. Much needed green space and a community center will be included in the third phase.

The first two phases of the project, Rose Hill and Barclay Terrace, consisted of 48 one-bedroom units and 48 two-bedroom units in each phase. After rehabilitation, each phase will consist of 28 one-bedroom units, 42 two-bedroom units and seven three-bedroom units, 73 percent of which are affordable to low- and moderate-income households. Rose Hill is fully occupied and Barclay Terrace is completed and occupancy has begun.

The third phase of Ames Green is anticipated to begin in this month. Ames Green will rehabilitate additional units, construct 11 townhomes and includes adding green space and a community center to the area. The final phase, Ashwood Court II, will begin in 2005.

The total project cost is approximately $52.4 million including nearly $7 million from HUD's Community Development Block Grant Program. Other sources include $1.6 million Economic Development Initiative Grant and $16 million through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. CDBG funds will be used for acquisition and rehabilitation of the low- and moderate-income housing units. A one-for-one replacement plan has been completed.

In addition to receiving a substantial amount of CDBG funds, this project has a large social impact on the area in that crime in the area has been reduced and people no longer fear living or visiting the area.

Wheeling, West Virginia

Celeron Plaza Development

Where Wheeling Creek meets the Ohio River, French explorer Celeron de Bienville laid claim to all of the territory to the west of the Ohio River for the King of France. This area directly south of the Wheeling Civic Center is now known as Celeron Plaza.

Formerly a warehouse district, the Celeron Plaza area is the premier development site in Wheeling. Located in the southern portion of the City, Celeron Plaza offers prime views of the Ohio River and a strategic geographic location providing access to Interstate 470, the heavily used Wheeling Heritage Walking/Biking Trail and the Wheeling Convention Center. The City of Wheeling has invested in nine of 11 properties to facilitate the development of the area while attempting to preserve its historic flavor.

The City's investment in Celeron Plaza has fueled further development interest from both the private and public sectors. The State of West Virginia completed construction of a new bridge that will provide greater access to Celeron Plaza from the Central Business District. The Maxwell Partners, a private development group, recently invested several million dollars into the award-winning rehabilitation of a former YMCA building in the Celeron Plaza area. This building, now known as Maxwell Center, houses Wheeling's largest law firm and two large professional firms. The Maxwell Partners also completed the renovation of the Wagner Building, an historic 1915 warehouse, into Class A office space. Just Us, another local development group, redeveloped the recently purchased Continental Bakery Building for retail and office use. The Catholic Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston is investing several million dollars into a West Virginia Catholic Heritage Center located in another historic structure within Celeron Plaza.

Neighborhoods adjacent to Celeron Plaza are also experiencing significant redevelopment interest. The Heritage Port Complex, a renovated port area and 6,000-seat amphitheater located north of the Celeron Plaza area, was completed last summer. Ogden Newspapers, Inc. has invested several million dollars for the renovation of an abandoned warehouse for its printing facilities to a site on the eastern side of Celeron Plaza.

The Celeron Plaza project is within the City of Wheeling's established Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA), and as such, this project has met specific goals for economic development within the NRSA, including: Redeveloping underutilized properties; eliminating blight; providing opportunities for new or expanding businesses; providing meaningful and expanded employment opportunities; and, advocating public/private partnerships.

Wheeling has used a total of over $3.6 million (from CDBG, Section 108 and Brownfields Economic Development Initiative resources) to finance a $10 million revitalization project.

Wichita, Kansas

Cessna 21st Street Learning and Work Campus

For many decades, Northeast Wichita was an important economic and residential center of the city. However, by the beginning of the 1980's, it had become Wichita's most troubled areas. In 1990, the Cessna Aircraft Company, in partnership with the City of Wichita, opened a training facility on 21st Street to provide employment opportunities for individuals on public assistance considered unemployable and to begin revitalization of northeast Wichita's 21st Street Corridor.

With the assistance of HUD and the City of Wichita, Cessna dramatically expanded the program in 1997. The project is comprised of two components-in the first phase, the City acquired the former 48-acre Heartspring property for a total of $1.2 million, after that organization announced it was moving to another part of the city. An eight-acre portion of the site was redeveloped into Cessna 21st Street Learning and Work campus. The complex consists of a campus that includes a 27,000-square foot light assembly facility and a 20,000-square foot learning/day care center for Cessna trainees living in the neighborhood. The Campus also includes on-site trainee housing. Construction was completed October 1997.

The willingness of Cessna to undertake this major commitment significantly contributed to the success of this project. This approach was spearheaded by Cessna's former Chairman and CEO, Russ Meyer, as a means to give something back to the community, beyond the regular charitable activities. There were four unique elements of the training program that existed which contributed to its success. Program length was tailored to the individual trainees. Counseling was provided throughout. Wages and benefits were provided during training, and guaranteed employment was provided upon graduation. Those elements, plus a day care center capable of holding 40 children and safe, affordable housing, was made available on the campus for trainees.

Despite hard economic times as result of September 11th, the basic premise of the program remains intact-to train public assistance clients and place them in entry-level employment. The project exceeded all goals. The initial goal was to place 115 welfare-to-work clients in full-time employment. To date, the project placed 321 persons in full-time jobs-279 percent above the original goal! This public-private investments represents one of the most exciting and dynamic partnerships in the nation between the federal government, local government, and the private sector to transition individuals from public assistance to private sector jobs and to economically revitalize a major part of the city.

The total facility costs were $5.9 million dollars financed by the City of Wichita using approximately $750,000 in Community Development Bock Grant funds, $3.6 million in HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee Funds and $1.6 million in Tax Increment Financing. Cessna invested over $17 million dollars in the project.

Yuma, Arizona

Carver Park Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area

The historic Carver Park Neighborhood is a 22-block area located in the older part of Yuma. The neighborhood is 73 percent Hispanic, has a high rate of unemployment with nearly half of its residents living in poverty. Much of the housing was substandard. Existing resources included a neighborhood park and several faith-based organizations. For many years Carver Park was severely blighted with few prospects for revitalization.

When the decision was made to create a NRSA, input was gathered from the community to determine the needs and concerns of its residents. In this way, the plan became neighborhood driven. As a result, local partnerships were established. With the encouragement and technical assistance provided by HUD's Phoenix Office, the Carver Park NRSA Plan was approved on March 25, 2000.

Significant improvements and additions have been made to the housing stock. Thirty-six town homes and 89 units of new rental housing (constructed supported by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit) have been built. An additional 40 units of private single-family home development have been added to the housing stock. Approximately 53 single-family units have been rehabilitated. Two homes were reconstructed. HUD also approved a Section 108 loan guarantee for homeownership activities.

Considerable emphasis has also been placed upon reducing crime. The neighborhood received designation as an official "Weed and Seed" site by the U. S. Department of Justice. In addition, more stringent application has been made with code enforcement and rental inspection programs. Several neighborhood cleanups were organized. A neighborhood newsletter was created. The community has received a Make-a-Difference Day National Award.

The Carver Park neighborhood just celebrated the opening of the Dr. Martin L. King Neighborhood Community Center, a safe place for youth to gather. The improvements made in this neighborhood demonstrate grass roots community involvement and impressive leveraging of public and private funds and programs to maximize HUD CDBG funding. To date a total of $27.5 million has been leveraged for neighborhood revitalization from a total HUD investment of $4.1 million.

Content Archived: April 22, 2010