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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Department Of Commerce Invests $14.4 Million In Promise Zone Designated Communities Across The Nation

22 Projects Will Expand Access to Opportunity in 17 Communities

WASHINGTON — U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams today announced $14.4 million in investments to boost economic activity in the nation’s high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities. These 22 awards will provide funding in 17 communities to stimulate economic growth and opportunity in distressed areas by aligning federal government partners with local leaders to deliver comprehensive economic development planning and support to the Obama administration’s Promise Zone Initiative.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) collaborates with federal government partners, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to support Promise Zone activities.

“Promise Zones take the power of partnership to a whole new level as we seek to expand opportunity in older, distressed neighborhoods,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “This investment of more than $14 million by the U.S. Department of Commerce demonstrates the administration’s commitment to revitalizing communities that have long been locked out of opportunity. Having served as mayor in a city that includes a Promise Zone, I’ve seen firsthand how powerful these collaborations are when it comes to building stronger, economically vibrant neighborhoods.”

The awards provide communities that have suffered severe economic distress a means to invest in infrastructure, establish business innovation centers, and develop economic plans to diversify their local economies. These awards can serve as a catalyst for attracting additional funding, with nearly $87 million in investments from other public and private partners already secured.

“EDA has long recognized that each community is unique in its challenges, assets and capabilities; therefore, the Promise Zone designation will be a catalyst for ongoing collaboration and change that will drive future regional growth and prosperity,” said Assistant Secretary Williams. “These investments help Promise Zone communities create jobs; increase economic activity; improve educational outcomes and help citizens gain access to affordable housing.”

The projects announced today are:


  • $2,000,000 to the Economic Resources Corporation of Los Angeles, California, to support the growth and modernization initiative of an existing business/industrial park in the cities of Lynwood and Compton. The project will allow multiple businesses to lease building spaces to provide services to Promise Zone residents. Completion of the project will result in infrastructure development to retain and create new industry jobs in the region.
  • $233,000 to the South Los Angeles Economic Alliance of Los Angeles, California, to support the development and implementation of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the South Los Angeles Promise Zone. The strategy provides data analysis to assess the feasibility and probability of job creation, assess financial viability and develop likely outcomes for implementation. The CEDS process is designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic development roadmap to diversify and strengthen the regional economy.
  • $100,000 to the city of San Diego, California, to support the development and implementation of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the San Diego Promise Zone. The strategy will allow the city and its partners to provide increased job opportunities to residents while helping to bolster the economic vitality of the area. The CEDS process is designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic development roadmap to diversify and strengthen the regional economy.
  • $80,000 to California Capital FDC of Sacramento, California, to support California Capital’s re-launch of its Small Business Success Forums in four key commercial corridors within the federally-designated Sacramento Promise Zone. The forums are designed to help meet the educational, business development, and other critical needs of the region’s growing immigrant, refugee, and limited/non-English proficient business owners, to help them sustain and grow their businesses.


  • $2,922,513 to the Herman J. Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Atlanta, Georgia, to fund the design and renovation of an existing building for development of the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The new facility, which will be constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, will provide space for more than 100 emerging entrepreneurial companies to support long-term disaster recovery efforts by adding economic resiliency to the city of Atlanta through increased economic diversification. In addition, the project will be a model of public/private partnership to create economic opportunity and inclusive innovation and catalyze transformation of the Atlanta Westside, a designated Promise Zone area.


  • $375,000 to Citizens Energy Group of Indianapolis, Indiana, to fund a reuse facility strategy to conduct a site assessment, reuse and implementation strategy for a former coal manufacturing facility in Indianapolis region. This investment will support multiple economic and workforce development opportunities and revitalization of the impacted area where the former plant was located.
  • $355,000 to the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, to support the hiring of a Recovery Coordinator/Promise Zone Liaison for the city of Indianapolis. The liaison will engage regional stakeholders to develop a comprehensive set of projects that will help to mitigate the hardship of unemployment, determine the existence of alternative employment opportunities, job skill development, and other resources for individuals negatively affected by the closing of a major business in the area.


  • $945,000 to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Local Government, Frankfort, Kentucky, to support Kentucky’s Area Development Districts, which provide planning and development services on a local and regional basis to all 120 Kentucky counties. They also provide technical assistance to local units of government in various areas and assist the Department of Local Government in the conduct of programs deemed essential to the region’s economic development.


  • $200,000 to the Curators of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, to fund the fourth year of a five-year University Center Economic Development Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The program provides technical assistance and research and development tools to increase productivity, spur innovation, and promote entrepreneurship to help increase long-term regional competitiveness and economic diversification.
  • $50,000 to Beyond Housing, Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri, to fund a feasibility study to create an implementation plan for the chronically distressed area within the Promise Zone. The study will establish a community led vision for redevelopment, address site selection, and begin architectural and engineering assessments that will lead to job creation and private investment in the area.

North Carolina

  • $1,353,450 to Camden County, North Carolina, to support the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant to serve the Courthouse Township sewer district in Camden County. The new infrastructure will yield long-term benefits to the region by providing residents with greater access to health care services and opening up 2,000 acres for commercial development.

North Dakota

  • $214,711 to the Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota, to fund the services of a Promise Zone coordinator to coordinate federal, state, and local resources for the Tribe. The coordinator will serve as a tribal point-of-contact to facilitate and hold strategic planning sessions to engage tribal and community members in the development of community and economic development activities in the designated Promise Zone resulting in more community engagement, investments in skills for future job opportunities, more infrastructure investments, and overall economic diversification of the Tribe.


  • $1,000,000 to the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology of Oklahoma, City, Oklahoma, to provide technical assistance and business support for manufacturers and supply chain providers in 38 of Oklahoma’s 44 counties hardest hit by the downturn in the oil and natural gas industry. This assistance supports the expansion and sustainability of Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry by enhancing diversification of the region’s advanced manufacturing cluster, boosting new commercial and industrial development, and creating opportunities for job creation in the region.
  • $750,000 to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, Oklahoma, to support the development and implementation of the Choctaw Nation Economic Development Initiative in Southeast Oklahoma, a designated Promise Zone. Feasibility and analytical studies will be conducted to gain vital knowledge to support the exploration of business development, industrial parks, ports, and other economic development activities to diversify and strengthen the regional economy in the Promise Zone.


  • $1,500,000 to Drexel University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to fund infrastructure improvements necessary to reconstruct and reestablish 37th, Warren, and Cuthbert Streets located in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone. The project supports redevelopment of the former University City High School “superblock” to create a new innovation center with large scale offices, commercial, lab, and academic spaces, which will serve as a catalyst for attracting private investment and job creation to the Promise Zone.
  • $250,000 to Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to provide SEED Fund support for the creation, development and launch of the Greater Philadelphia Impact Partners, a fund to seed innovation-based startups with high potential for growth. Impact Partners, led by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, will invest in impact entrepreneurs and impact start-up companies across all sectors in the Greater Philadelphia region consisting of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania. The funds will be used to support the creation, development and launch of Impact Partners.

Puerto Rico

  • $120,000 to the Municipality of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, to fund a strategic plan to evaluate, assess and review regional resources to target viable investment opportunities for an improved economy within the Puerto Rico Promise Zone. The investment will assess the region’s natural capital assets, recommend mechanisms to develop cross-regional systems, and public/private participation.

South Dakota

  • $240,000 to the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, to fund a comprehensive assessment, evaluation and preliminary engineering design study of wastewater treatment systems located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a designated Promise Zone. The study will help identify best practices for utilizing and upgrading the current wastewater systems to meet current needs and accommodate entrepreneurial business and job creation opportunities on the Reservation.
  • $140,000 to the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, to support the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Organic Gardening and Livestock Project, which will hire a qualified consultant to conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability of developing a micro-organic garden and cooperative in each of the Reservation’s nine districts, which are located in a designated Promise Zone. The project involves research, marketing, planning, and economic assessment activities, and will seek to promote a sustainable and diverse agricultural economy and create the potential for new business networks across the Reservation.
  • $51,000 to the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, to support the development of a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) for the region served by the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which comprises all of Shannon County and half of the counties of Jackson and Bennett. The CEDS process is designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic development roadmap to diversify and strengthen the regional economy.


  • $1,500,000 to the Alamo Community College District of San Antonio, Texas, to fund the renovation of an existing building to create the Eastside Education and Training Center in East San Antonio, a designated Promise Zone. The Alamo Community College District, along with its partners, will coordinate the Center’s programs to include coordinated and targeted workforce job training and placement services, adult education, and food maker space. The project will serve as a catalyst for attracting private investment and jobs to the Promise Zone community.


  • $100,000 to the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Wellpinit, Washington, to fund a feasibility study to determine the requirements for developing a green industrial park. The study provides analysis to assess the feasibility and probability of developing a green industrial park, assess viability and establish requirements for construction.

The Promise Zone designation lasts for a term of 10 years and partners the federal government with local leaders who are addressing multiple community revitalization challenges in a collaborative way, and have demonstrated a commitment to results. Promise Zones receive: an opportunity to engage five AmeriCorps VISTA members in the Promise Zone’s work; a federal liaison assigned to help designees navigate federal programs; and preferences for certain competitive federal grant programs and technical assistance from participating federal agencies.

Additional information about the Promise Zone Initiative is available at: www.hudexchange.info/programs/promise-zones.

About the Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth. To learn more about EDA, visit www.eda.gov.