Atlanta’s Westside is now a federal ‘Promise Zone’

Atlanta has become a federally designated “Promise Zone” community, with initiatives targeting a “Westside Promise Zone” made up of the Atlanta University Center, Ashview Heights, Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill neighborhoods.

The city will work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies to boost economic activity and job growth, improve educational opportunities, reduce crime and leverage private investment to improve quality of life, according to an announcement by Mayor Kasim Reed’s office.

Westside will have priority access to federal, federal staff to help them implement their goals, and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage volunteers and assist initiatives.

The area in 2015 benefited from a $30 million CHOICE Neighborhoods Implementation Grant from HUD, which the city used to leverage public and private funds to help revitalize the Westside.

The city Department of Planning and Community Development led the Promise Zone application, joined by the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta University Center Consortium Inc., Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, Invest Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta.