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VIEDA seeks federal grant to revitalize neighborhoods and create business opportunities and jobs

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – September 13, 2013 – The Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA) announces that it has applied for a Choice Neighborhood Initiative Implementation Grant in the amount of $20 million, a grant made possible by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

This grant will provide funding for the VIEDA’s Enterprise Zone Commission (EZC) to implement its initiatives to revitalize the following targeted neighborhood areas: Christiansted and Frederiksted on St. Croix; and Garden Street & Upstreet, and Savanne & Downstreet on St. Thomas. The EZC has submitted an application for $20 million with a five-percent (5%) match to include both cash and in-kind contributions.

“The revitalization of our historic towns is critical to our economic and social development, therefore, the need to find ways to underwrite infrastructure investment to then attract new opportunities for business investment is a priority. The EZC has set the foundation with the town plans and community engagement, and now it is time to execute and enhance our quality of life, particularly for our future community leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Governor John P. deJongh, Jr.

This grant submission titled, “V.I. Neighborhood Resurgence”, will also fund the VIEDA’s portion of locally-adopted town plans to include the proposed projects such as the “Save-A-Building” and other revitalization programs; “Streetscapes” Program; “Scrape, Paint and Rejuvenate” Program; Entrepreneurial / Cultural Incubators; VI Twelve; and Town Plans.

“A key component of the execution of our economic development strategy focuses on the rehabilitation of our towns and neighborhoods. A vibrant town is a critical element in attracting investors and thus increasing job opportunities. We are hopeful that we will be successful in getting this grant to carry on the work of rebuilding our once vibrant communities,” said VIEDA’s Chief Executive Officer Percival E. Clouden.

Choice Neighborhood Grant is designed to help community partners rebuild neighborhoods, expand early learning opportunities, and create pathways to jobs. Additionally, it is in support of solutions for transforming distressed neighborhoods, i.e. enterprise zones into revitalized communities to include business opportunities, reduced criminal activity, and better and affordable housing.

Choice Neighborhoods is a central part of the Obama Administration’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI). This initiative is an inter-agency partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Departments of Education, Health, Human Services, Justice, and Treasury to support locally-driven solutions for transforming distressed neighborhoods.

For more information, contact Director of the Enterprise Zone Commission Nadine Marchena Kean at 340.714.1700.

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