Choice Neighborhoods grant

Shreveport will receive a $24.2 million federal grant to bring new life to three neighborhoods.

The money is part of the Choice Neighborhoods program, which aims to redevelopment Allendale, Ledbetter Heights and the West Edge arts area. The city has been working on the project for more than seven years.

The city plans to build 486 units of mixed-income housing with some of the grant.

"We believe there is opportunity to leverage well over 500 additional developments," said Mayor Ollie Tyler.

A kitchen incubator is already under construction in partnership with Southern University-Shreveport on Milam Street.

"We have over a $100 million investment in this community lined up as a result of this grant," said Bobby Collins, executive director of the Shreveport Housing Authority. "Shreveport has won the Superbowl today."

The first projects should break ground in September or October, city officials said.

The federal government only makes five to seven Choice Neighborhood grants each year, Tyler said.

Shreveport received a planning grant but got turned down for larger federal housing grants more than once. City officials persisted.

"We had made a promise to (the people) back in 2011 that we would change their lives, and we were determined," said Bonnie Moore, director of Shreveport's Community Development Office.

Collins said up to 50 partners -- including local governments, nonprofits and businesses -- helped put together the successful grant application.

"This will expand affordable housing, provide supportive services and revitalize and entire community," Collins said.


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