Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today wrote the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to designate the City of Schenectady as a federal Promise Zone. The proposed Promise Zone would help address living conditions and economic development in the North End, Central Business District, Eastern Avenue, Hamilton Hill, Mont Pleasant, and Central State Street neighborhoods in the city. The designation would provide federal support to programs that focus on creating sustainable jobs, supporting economic development, improving educational opportunities, reducing crime and promoting access to healthcare through partnerships with local organizations in the region.
“The Promise Zone designation would allow Schenectady to continue and expand vital economic development initiatives in the region’s most distressed communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The new investments and opportunities would help revitalize these struggling areas, bringing in the resources needed to help jumpstart the city by making healthier and safer neighborhoods, launching new businesses, and creating new jobs.”
“The City of Schenectady’s readiness for Promise Zones designation is shown by the continued commitment by the City and its partners to increase the quality of life in the City’s neighborhoods and expand opportunities for its residents,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy, City of Schenectady.
If granted, the designation would bring additional investment, jobs, increased economic activity, more educational opportunities, and improved public safety to the City of Schenectady. Promise Zones are a White House initiative started by President Obama designed to bring federal and private investment to high-poverty communities across the country. The Promise Zone designation 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 Zone Designees will receive an opportunity to engage AmeriCorps VISTA members in their work, direct assistance in navigating federal resources, and preferences for certain competitive federal grant programs as well as technical assistance from participating federal agencies.
The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to HUD is included below.
The Honorable Julian Castro
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Dear Secretary Castro,
I write in support of the City of Schenectady’s proposal for designation as a Promise Zone through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This designation will provide access to the resources the City of Schenectady needs to create jobs, increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, and reduce crime in high poverty areas.
Schenectady has a long history of industry, driven by companies like General Electric and the American Locomotive company, which were sources of economic success and growth for the City in the last century. However, during the past few decades, the City of Schenectady has struggled economically, losing much of its industry and as a result, facing high poverty levels and conditions leading to high crime rates. The proposed Promise Zone will help address these challenges by targeting focused programming at improving living conditions and expanding opportunity in the North End, Central Business District, Eastern Avenue, Hamilton Hill, Mont Pleasant, and Central State Street neighborhoods of the City.
The requested designation will be particularly focused on assisting the City in developing new businesses, generating increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, reducing violent crime, increasing community health and wellness, along with increasing the availability of affordable and quality housing. By working with its public and private partners, the City of Schenectady remains determined to enhance the quality of life for all of its residents. Receiving this designation will support these efforts, helping the City to achieve its goals of drastically reducing unemployment, increasing educational opportunities and career readiness while improving high school graduation rates, stabilizing neighborhoods, and providing a stronger, more resilient economy for the region.
I ask that you please give this application your full consideration.
United States Senator