San Diego among Obama's new 'Promise Zones'

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jun 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-06 21:40:16-04

SAN DIEGO - A swath of San Diego that includes its most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods was designated a "Promise Zone" by the Obama administration Monday, which will give the area an edge in securing federal support to create jobs, ramp up the local economy, improve education and access to affordable housing, and lower the crime rate.

The San Diego Promise Zone is bordered by downtown San Diego and state Route 94 to the north, National City to the south, the San Diego Unified Port District to the west and the city of Lemon Grove to the east, according to the White House Press Office.

"The zone is characterized by high unemployment, low educational attainment, insufficient access to healthy foods, concentrated poverty, rising crime, high rates of youth unemployment, and the least affordable housing in the nation," according to a White House statement.

However, recent rezoning, vacant land along high traffic corridors and the area being well-served by public transit are assets that officials said would help "bring economic vitality to these underserved communities."

Also included in the third and final round of designations since President Barack Obama launched the Promise Zones Initiative in January 2014 were South Los Angeles; Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Evansville, Indiana; Spokane Tribe of Indians, Washington; Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, North Dakota; Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council; and Puerto Rico's Ceiba, Fajardo and Naguado Municipalities.

Officials said Promise Zones will receive federal support that includes preferred access to certain competitive federal investments, federal staffers to help implement programs and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members. The previous designates have received more than $550 million in federal funding, according to the White House.