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.

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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.

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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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