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A New Canvas for Baltimore: First Round of Project C.O.R.E. Applications Received
The astounding response to the initial request for applications for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Project C.O.R.E. initiative is a positive sign for the program’s future. Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) targets investment in Baltimore City neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by blight and disinvestment.
Since launching Project C.O.R.E. in January 2016, the department has actively engaged community organizations to strengthen partnerships and identify their particular needs. The department is also soliciting community input on providing access to jobs from C.O.R.E. investments.
As a result of its community outreach and collaboration, the department drafted a Request for Applications for the public and private sectors to secure blight removal funding. As of the August 19 application deadline, it had received applications from 36 different organizations for 76 projects requesting more than $76.7 million – well beyond the allotted funding for FY 2017. If the department were capable of funding all project requests, $76.7 million would leverage total project costs of nearly $343.7 million.
Awardees will be announced before the end of the year. Awards will be based upon readiness to proceed, community need, catalyzing new investment, and cost effectiveness.
The department received more applications than expected, featuring a range of project ideas, from mixed-income and mixed-use developments to affordable housing projects. Assistant Secretary for the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization Carol Gilbert, who oversees the Project C.O.R.E. funding team, is “very excited” about the quality of the applications.
“This is a very good sign of Project C.O.R.E.’s potential to have a transformative effect on Baltimore neighborhoods,” Gilbert said.
“A New Canvas for Baltimore” is a regular series covering Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. will clear the way for new green space, new affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for small business owners in Baltimore City. The initiative will generate jobs, strengthen the partnership between the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and lead to safer, healthier and more attractive communities. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/.