- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - Less than two months after Camden’s mayor and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez visited a neighborhood to talk about how a $30 million infusion of federal money would pay for new homes, schools and park improvements the beleaguered city was denied the grant.

The city was one of nine finalists for the money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development but it lost out to Atlanta; Kansas City, Missouri; Memphis; Milwaukee; and Sacramento, California, when the final awards were made last month.

Mayor Dana Redd and Menendez had toured Mount Ephraim Avenue in August to talk about the city’s plans for the money, which included repaving the road.

City spokesman Vincent Basara told The Philadelphia Inquirer (https://bit.ly/1Mn1idn ) that the city will go ahead with the resurfacing project and will reapply next year.

“Obviously, not receiving the (HUD) grant limits what we can do,” he said. “But we do plan on moving forward with other strategies.”

The grant would have funded improvements to the Whitman Park and Centerville neighborhoods, including almost 500 new homes, senior housing and the redevelopment of two public housing complexes. Basara said the city will now re-evaluate those plans.

Basara said the city is now better positioned for the grant because of its designation in April as a federal “Promise Zone.” HUD’s Promise Zone program is designed to give municipalities a competitive edge while being evaluated for federal grants.

A spokesman for Menendez said last week that the senator was disappointed in HUD’s decision, but that he would continue supporting Camden’s efforts to rehabilitate the Mount Ephraim area.


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