By Maria Saporta
The City of Atlanta likely has been awarded a $30 million Choice grant to help revitalize communities in west Atlanta from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had a twinkle in his eye Friday morning when he said HUD Secretary Juliån Castro would be coming to Atlanta Monday morning to make an announcement.
Reed revealed Castro’s upcoming visit during a sit down interview with three reporters after the quarterly meeting of the Atlanta Committee for Progress at Invesco.
Although the mayor would not officially confirm that the city had won the $30 million Choice grant, he did say that HUD secretaries usually don’t come to cities that have lost out on an award.
This is the second time that the City of Atlanta has been a finalist for the $30 million Choice grant aimed at revitalizing portions of west Atlanta, including Vine City, Ashview Heights and the Atlanta University Center Neighborhood.
When the city did not make the final cut last year, it improved its application for this round, according to previous interviews with Mayor Reed and Joy Fitzgerald, the interim president and CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority.
“I’m looking forward to greeting the Secretary when he comes to Atlanta,” Reed said Friday, adding that every city that has won a Choice grant has been able to leverage that award into a quarter of a billion dollar investment in their communities.
So far, Invest Atlanta has dedicated $15 million towards the Westside communities; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has been investing another $15 million in the area.
“Just imagine doubling that amount,” the mayor said about the city possibly winning the $30 million Choice grant.
Reed said he did not know whether Secretary Castro would be traveling to other cities on Monday.
“I just know he is beginning here on the 28th,” Reed said.
The press conference will be held between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the Oasis of Scholars Landing at 134 John Hope Dr. S.W.
When Castro was in Atlanta in January to attend the 2015 Operation HOPE Forum, he had encouraging words about Atlanta’s chances of winning the Choice grant a second time around.
“Of course we would be pleased to get an application from Atlanta,” Castro said at the time. “I see great things happening in Atlanta with the leadership of Mayor Kasim Reed. I’m hopeful Atlanta will apply again. I know there’s a lot of need in Atlanta. It’s clear that Atlanta has significant momentum in the urban core.”