$60 million in grants to accelerate critical equity outcomes for EcoDistricts’ partner neighborhoods, Near North Side and Sun Valley
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded two EcoDistricts partners with Choice Neighborhood Implementation grants in December 2016. Denver, Colorado’s Sun Valley Ecodistrict and St. Louis, Missouri’s Near North Side neighborhood each received nearly $30 million. The two historically marginalized communities have purposefully taken a district-scale approach to develop highly inclusive, stakeholder-driven development plans.
“We stand behind the EcoDistricts Protocol because it demands a holistic, forward-thinking, inclusive approach to how we build our communities. It is a new model of community development.” said Ismael Guerrero, Executive Director of the Denver Housing Authority (DHA).
Cady Scott Seabaugh is Vice President of Communications and Sustainability at McCormack Baron Salazar, the developer on the Near North Side project. “The Protocol has guided us to put the right people at the decision making table. That has played a significant role in producing an inclusive neighborhood transformation plan, and in attracting funding like the HUD grant that will turn the plan into reality for this community.”
The two neighborhoods are among four HUD grant recipients. Funds will be utilized to support massive neighborhood transformations — including new education and job training facilities, parks, small business commercial space and mixed-income housing — for both communities.
Over the past few years, EcoDistricts has worked with Near North Side and Sun Valley leaders to advance their sustainability agendas. Cross-sector teams from each neighborhood were first introduced to the Protocol at the EcoDistricts Incubator, a three-day executive-level workshop designed to build an actionable sustainable development roadmap for participating districts. Sun Valley team joined Target Cities in 2014, to help each team elevate their sustainability strategy with an emphasis on project governance, performative roadmapping and EcoDistricts Certified readiness.
The Sun Valley Ecodistrict also recently attended the District Energy + Water Academy to incorporate integrated energy and water systems across their development plan. Sun Valley also is one of six communities to join the US Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Districts Accelerator, in which they will work with the Department, EcoDistricts, and several other national partners to develop best practices, address market barriers and promote industry-wide replication of net zero energy building adoption.
“EcoDistricts has been an invaluable partner in ensuring that our development plan will create a vibrant future for Sun Valley’s residents and businesses,” said Guerrero. “Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and make that future a reality.”
The Near North Side hopes to regain the vibrancy it once possessed as a primary gateway to downtown St. Louis. The funds will be used to redevelop the Preservation Square housing complex, redesign the local street grid, connect to a proposed light rail line and a bicycle-pedestrian greenway, renovate a vacant school into a community and recreation center; and increase community access to business and home loans, healthy food and education and employment opportunities.
Sun Valley will use the grant to support the development of 750 units of mixed-income housing, an education hub, open space, a commercial space for small businesses, and an international food market. DHA expects the grant to generate $500 million in investment, triple the density of Sun Valley, and reconnect it to the rest of the city.