After years of competing, Larimer has finally won a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to move forward with redevelopment plans.
The announcement was made Monday by Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner and Assistant HUD Secretary Carol Galante at the Kingsley Center.
“This is really big,” U.S. Representative Michael Doyle (D - PA - 14) said. “We were up against 43 other communities all across the United States of America, this was a serious competition.”
The funds will be used to create more than 300 units of mixed-income housing in Larimer.
They will also be used to help carry out the 2010 Larimer Vision Plan, which calls for green infrastructure throughout the community.
“We are standing at the beginning of the greenest development not in Pittsburgh, but the greenest housing development to be built in the United States,” Mayor Billl Peduto said.
According to the Peduto administration, Larimer has more vacant lots than occupied homes.
The grant is part of the federal government’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which awards planning grants to help cities develop a transformation plan or implementation grants to help cities carry out their own plans.
Larimer was awarded the implementation grant.
In total, HUD awarded grants to four cities this year: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Norwalk, Connecticut and Columbus, Ohio.
“These four awardees plan to take approximately 850 distressed public and HUD assisted housing units and replace them with 1,400 new, mixed-income, mixed-use homes,” Galante said. “And for every dollar of ‘Choice’ funding, each of these communities are leveraging an additional five to achieve their plans.”
Galante said the FHA is also issuing a commitment for the gap financing and low-income tax credits for 40 units of multi-family rental housing.
According to Malik Bankston, Executive Director of the Kingsley Center, the community has been fighting to get funds for its Larimer Plan for the last several years.
“We tried unsuccessfully twice…to get one of these Choice Neighborhood Planning grants, but we weren’t deterred by that because we knew that we were on the right path,” said. “And with or without the federal support that we had a vision for what this neighborhood could be - not just what it once was, but what it could be.”