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We’re now in the zone–the Promise Zone!

Today, April 28, 2015, Near East Area Renewal (NEAR) participated with community partners in a news conference to hear that our Near Eastside community has become a Federally-designated Promise Zone.

The intense effort of a handful of vision-bearing, determined community partners to put together a winning proposal in a highly-competitive process paid off. The Near Eastside is one of only six urban communities selected out of 97 applicants nationally in 2015. The designation extends over 10 years.

Near Eastside partners in the Promise Zone application include the John H. Boner Community Center, Near East Area Renewal (NEAR), East 10th Street Civic Association, Englewood Community Development Corporation, and Westminster Neighborhood Services. City-wide implementing partners include the City of Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development and Department of Public Safety, IUPUI, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, United Way of Central Indiana, LISC Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Housing Agency.

The Promise Zone initiative was created by the Obama Administration two years ago as a way to try to make a transformative impact on communities that face high poverty and social and economic challenges by coordinating and focusing the available capacities of 12 different Federal agencies.

Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (which oversees AmeriCorps, VISTA, and other volunteer service initiatives) made the announcement today at the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center. She was joined by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and other local dignitaries.

So, we’re a Promise Zone!

So, what does that mean?

It means that the Near Eastside will receive Federal technical support, VISTA volunteers, and preference on selected Federal grant applications related to proposals to improve opportunities for job development, affordable housing, education, public safety, and economic development within the Promise Zone.

Technically, no money comes with the designation of a Promise Zone. But the designation assists the community to apply for funding and support to achieve very specific community-transforming outcomes.

In the Near Eastside Promise Zone application, our team committed to attempt visionary-level outcomes in housing, jobs, safety, education, and economic outcomes over the next ten years. If achieved–WHEN achieved–the Near Eastside will shine as a community of opportunity and legacy neighborhoods.

NEAR co-developed the housing section of the Promise Zone application and we anticipate leading the multi-year effort to reach and fulfill high goals for housing development in the Near Eastside Promise Zone.

Over the next month, we will do our best to familiarize our neighbors with the Promise Zone commitments and possibilities. For now, we just wanted you to know, to celebrate this designation with us, and to begin to dream and plan with us for the great place that the Near Eastside is and will become.

See this story by Bobby King in the Indy Star about the Near Eastside Promise Zone.