Mantua Neighborhood Gets Federal ‘Promise Zone’ Designation

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Obama administration has chosen the Mantua section of West Philadelphia as one of five so-called “Promise Zones” across the country.

Maari Porter, chief grants officer for the Nutter administration (at left in photo), says the selection of Mantua as a Promise Zone means that neighborhood will be given preference when applying for a host of other federal grants.

“It means you get preferential points, and you get technical assistance from the federal government to apply,” she said today.  “And so you stand a very, very good chance — a better chance that other jurisdictions.   In a sense you’re in the game, and you’re ahead of the game of other localities in other cities.”

The area selected has a 50-percent poverty rate and an unemployment rate topping 13 percent.

Michael Thorpe (right), chairman of Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments in Mantua, said he is thrilled with the Promise Zone designation.

“Its just a wonderful opportunity to really develop a community that needs so much attention,” he said.

And Porter says one grant the city now intends to seek for Mantua is a $30-million Department of Education program with a similar title, “Promise Neighborhoods,” which she describes as a cradle-to-career program.

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