The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Pulaski County, Ark., to receive designation as a brownfield pilot project. The program's goal is to assess brownfield sites and to test cleanup and redevelopment models. The Pulaski County project will receive $200,000 in funding over the two-year period. Pulaski County was also selected for additional funding to assess brownfield properties that will be used as green space.
The pilot is targeting two cities in Pulaski County: Little Rock and North Little Rock. The sister cities have sprawled into suburban greenfields since World War II and their urban cores are being abandoned. The cities are facing many obstacles in redeveloping this core. Although both cities have started an ambitious downtown/river area redevelopment, the nature of the brownfields locations and their associated liabilities are a major deterrent to the urban core redevelopment.
The objective of the pilot program is to survey the target area to provide private developers and public agencies with thorough data on development sites. It also plans to coordinate long-term municipal redevelopment plans with the brownfields data.
The additional green space funding will assist the cities in plans for an integrated park/recreational system that will connect both city centers to the downtown library. Conceptual plans call for a botanical garden, esplanades and overlooks along both banks of the Arkansas River, as well as a marina, a boat launch, the proposed Central Arkansas Aquarium, an entertainment center and further development of the riverfront parks. Finally, the plan calls for the two city parks to be joined by the abandoned Rock Island Rail Bridge, which will be converted into a pedestrian walkway.
For more information on this program, contact Metroplan in Little Rock at (501) 340-8305 or the U.S. EPA-Region 6, Regional Brownfields Team.
The Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) recently set up a Pre-development Loan Program to spur affordable housing construction. Pre-development expenses, such as architectural and engineering fees, appraisals, permits and land holding costs, pose a stumbling block for many developers. The new program offers loans of up to $100,000 at 3 percent interest to assist with these expenses.
To qualify, a nonprofit developer must be proposing a rental development financed by KHC. The development can either be new construction or acquisition with rehabilitation. Borrowers must provide bank letters of credit, property mortgages or other acceptable security as collateral.
To apply, call Karen Jones, (502) 564-7630 or 1-800-633-8896, ext. 331, or e-mail email@example.com.
The Ecumenical Housing Production Corporation has helped St. Louis families achieve an improved family life, community living and financial independence for the last 20 years. Recently, the organization changed its name to Beyond Housing to reflect its new, broader goal--rebuilding communities.
In conjunction with governments, other nonprofits and faith organizations, Beyond Housing provides scattered-site, single-family affordable housing with the goal of achieving a more rapid assimilation into each neighborhood. Beyond Housing's value-added approach includes a tailored package of services such as job training, home maintenance assistance and education financing.
Chris Krehmeyer, Beyond Housing's executive director, says this holistic approach is essential in helping low-income families achieve self sufficiency. "We have to deal with the issues the families face in their communities, or we'll find ourselves back in 10 years doing it all over again."
Beyond Housing has enjoyed phenomenal success in the Castle Point neighborhood in north St. Louis County and is beginning new endeavors in north University City and Pagedale.
For more information about Beyond Housing, call (314) 862-8130 or visit its web site at www.beyondhousing.org.
Technology 2020, a not-for-profit organization based in Oak Ridge, Tenn., recently announced two investment opportunities. The TennesSeed Fund I and the Appalachian Corridor Technology Fund are venture capital funds for high-tech and other small business start-ups throughout the state of Tennessee and the Appalachian Corridor. Both funds are structured to meet a particular market demand and to provide not only loans, but also equity investments in small businesses. Technology 2020 will provide oversight for these two funds.
In addition, TennesSeed Fund I is designated as a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), and the Appalachian Corridor Technology Fund has a pending Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certification. Both funds offer opportunities for financial institutions to make investments that will benefit small businesses in their area.
For more information about either fund, contact Don Welty of Technology 2020 at (865) 220-2028.
Reports of 1999 mortgage lending activity, required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and small farm and community development lending, required by the Community Reinvestment Act, are available now.
For HMDA statements on individual lenders, contact lenders directly. For aggregate reports, contact the central depository in each MSA, which can be obtained by calling the FFIEC at (202) 872-7500 or visiting their web site at www.ffiec.gov/. For individual and aggregate reports in a variety of formats, request an order form by calling (202) 452-2016, or fax a request for an order form to (202) 452-6497. The order form is also available at www.ffiec.gov/hmda/orderform.htm. The order form gives descriptions of the various reports, prices and formats. Advance orders may be placed to be filled when data become available.