City’s Network For Economic Opportunity Awarded U.S. Dept. Of Commerce $820K Grant
NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans’ Network for Economic Opportunity received an $820,000 grant from the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support the development of the Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District (CID), which is a 19-block transformation of the elevated I-10 expressway along Claiborne Avenue from Canal Street to St. Bernard Avenue currently under development.
“Since 2014, the Network for Economic Opportunity has worked diligently to find innovative ways to create pathways to prosperity for the people of New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “The Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District is a reflection of that work. We are grateful for the support of the United States Department of Commerce’s EDA on a project that will create new, unique opportunities for the residents of the New Orleans.”
The $820,000 EDA grant will be used toward construction on the first phase including performance spaces, cafés and classroom spaces, city reps said. Totaling $2 million, the first phase is expected to be completed by the city’s tri-centennial celebration.
Expected to be completely finished by Fall 2019, this three-phase project serves as an example of the Network for Economic Opportunity’s efforts to transform the Claiborne Corridor and address community issues around economic opportunity, housing affordability, cultural preservation, transportation access, environmental sustainability, and safe and healthy neighborhoods.
The CID will support local entrepreneurs in achieving their goals for equitable and sustainable community development, city reps said. With a focus on innovation, it will be a resident-governed effort focused on providing direct pathways to business ownership and workforce development through fulfilling the need for neighborhood serving retail and enhanced neighborhood services.
Using renewable energy, storm water management and eco-friendly construction, the CID will include classrooms, exhibit space, interactive technology and education demonstrations, and will be a site for youth programming, health, environmental, and social services, community projects, workshops, and special events for the residents of the Claiborne Corridor.
Network for Economic Opportunity executive director and Mayor Landrieu’s senior advisor Ashleigh Gardere said, “We are excited to have the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s EDA to help us develop the Cultural Innovation District. This investment will help us to not only produce a great project for New Orleans, but create innovative solutions to connected disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities.”
The New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (NORPA) and the Louisiana Department of Transportation (LADOTD) were instrumental partners in securing the grant, City reps said.
Deputy assistant secretary for regional affairs Dennis Alvord said, “We commend the city of New Orleans for continuing their successful strategy to foster innovation-based growth. The Claiborne Innovation District will help the city's underserved communities between the Central Business District and the Lower Ninth Ward with new economic development opportunities to be cultivated through entrepreneurship and small business development.”
Numerous city agencies have committed to this project including New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Recreation Department, Capital Projects Administration, Department of Public Works and the offices of Neighborhood Engagement, Community Development, Economic Development and Cultural Economy.
Additionally, the city is working with a number of external partners including Foundation for Louisiana, Re.Invest Initiative, New Corp, Inc. CDFI, Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center, N. O. Multicultural Tourism Network, Clark High School, Tambourine & Fan, Tremé/7th Ward Cultural District, 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, Housing Authority of New Orleans, Basin Street Station, and National Park Service and others to complete this project.
The CID is spearheaded by the Network for Economic Opportunity – Mayor Landrieu’s initiative to connect disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities.