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How federal 'Promise Zone' could benefit development in challenged Sacramento neighborhoods
Ben van der Meer | Sacramento Business Journal


Passengers disembark from a southbound Metra commuter train in Homewood, where village officials are pitching the Metra/Amtrak station there as a prime asset for businesses that locate nearby.

Housing projects and other developments in Sacramento’s more challenged neighborhoods should get a boost from the announcement Tuesday of a federal “Promise Zone” in the city.


According to city of Sacramento officials, the designation allows the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to get “priority points” when applying for federal grants, as well as tap into other resources.


“With the elimination of redevelopment, we lost more than $20 million annually in reinvestment dollars,” said LaShelle Dozier, SHRA’s executive director. Under the promise zone designation, SHRA will pursue five goals: job creation, increased economic activity, improved educational opportunities, improved health and wellness, and neighborhood revitalization.


Dozier said that could mean a greater chance of getting federal dollars for redeveloping the Alder Grove/Marina Vista and Twin Rivers public housing projects, all of which are within the designated zone. Dozier and other SHRA officials said there’s a long-term goal to convert those sites, possibly into mixed-use, mixed-income developments.


The zone designation includes North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights; the railyard, riverfront and downtown Sacramento west of 21st Street; Oak Park and Lemon Hill. A portion of unincorporated Sacramento County south of Sacramento city limits also is included.


Other potential boosts under the designation come from including transit-oriented development in business plans, programs aimed at increasing home ownership and creating more affordable housing and pedestrian/bike access on corridors, Dozier said.


“It gives us the opportunity to look at meeting these goals in a much broader way,” she said.


Sacramento was one of eight communities nationwide selected to be part of the second round of federal Promise Zone designations. Los Angeles was included in the first round, the only other one on the West Coast.