When I ran for the City Council three years ago, I made a commitment to push for more federal dollars for our City. I am pleased to report that the City is becoming more aggressive in seeking federal grants.

In June, the Council approved applying for the following federal grants that will benefit East Dallas.

Weed and Seed

The Police Department is applying for funding from the U.S. Department of Justice for a Weed and Seed Program grant. Operation Weed and Seed is designed to rid neighborhoods of violent crime, gangs, drug use and drug trafficking (weeding), followed by a comprehensive plan to restore the neighborhood through social and economic revitalization (seeding).

In March, the U.S. Attorney General announced the availability of funds for 10 cities to obtain Weed and Seed Program funding. Dallas is one of 49 cities selected to compete for Weed and Seed funds. If approved, the grant would bring $750,000 in fiscal year 1995 and at least two more years of funding after that.

The Weed and Seed Task Force selected a portion of Old East Dallas along the Gaston Corridor as the targeted neighborhood for the program. The area includes part of Mill Creek, Munger Place, Peak/Bryan, Swiss Avenue, Junius Heights, Lower Greenville and Edgemont Park. These neighborhoods are ethnically diverse and have a strong history of community involvement.

The area was selected based on the level of crime and drug activity that exists and because of the strong grass root organizations already in place to support the program’s strategy. The Old East Dallas Renaissance Project has been helpful in preparing the grant application. Additionally, this umbrella group has been effective in addressing neighborhood problems.

If the City is successful in obtaining Weed and Seed funding, more than half of the $750,000 must be used to support “seeding” activities within the community. The remainder will be used to support the “weeding,” or law enforcement aspect of the program.

If you have any questions about this program, please call Deputy Chief of Police Frank Hearon at 670-0659.

Empowering Communities

Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Grant is a federal program that assists distressed communities and families by obtaining economic self-sufficiency (empowerment).

Communities identify their priorities and determine what resources are available to address them. Governments, community-based organizations, businesses, churches and individuals then work together to accomplish this mission.

The program has two levels of grants and tax incentives. The Empowerment Zone includes a $100 million grant and a greater level of Federal tax benefits. The Enterprise Community includes a $3 million grant and a lesser level of Federal tax benefits.

Nationwide, the federal government will designate six urban areas as Empowerment Zones and 65 urban areas as Enterprise Communities.

Dallas is applying for Empowerment Zone designation. If we don’t get it, the application is automatically considered for an Enterprise Community designation. Empowerment Zone designations are expected this fall with Enterprise Community designations following in spring 1995.

The grant money can be spent on a wide variety of projects including:

  • Training and employment of adults and youth
  • Rehabilitation of housing, public infrastructure and community facilities
  • Entrepreneur and self-employment training
  • Services to promote community and economic development
  • Drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs

The nominated area cannot exceed 20 square miles and must meet poverty level requirements. The East Dallas area nominated includes parts of Roseland Homes, Cityplace, Mill Creek, Peak/Bryan, Baylor Hospital area, Junius Heights, East Side and Bryan Place.

If you have any questions about this program, please call program manager Ryan Evans at 670-1684.

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