Greensboro to receive $1 million federal grant for economic development
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GREENSBORO — Greensboro will receive a $1 million federal grant aimed at generating ideas to spur economic development in the city and create jobs.
The money will come from the Obama administration's Strong Cities, Stronger Communities program, which also selected Las Vegas and Hartford, Conn. to receive grants.
In making the announcement, acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said the Strong Cities, Stronger Communities program is providing the economic development seed money to cities that have suffered economic distress but also show promise of a rebound.
"Why Greensboro? We know that Greensboro had been losing jobs since 2000. But local officials have come to believe that Greensboro is ripe for economic development," said Blank.
Greensboro, Hartford and Las Vegas were just among several cities that applied for the grants. Greensboro will chip in $250,000 and now hold its own competition to transform the city.
"We're going to host a competition that is going to bring some of the best and the brightest from across the country and study our city and come up with a way to transform jobs and economic development in the city," said Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins.
Those best and brightest could include experts in business start-ups, transportation and other fields.
"You know, you really want to try to bring the jobs in that are going to be good for the next 20, 25, 30 years. I don't know what we'll end up with but I think that certainly the high tech field will be one that will be looked at. We are very strong as a city in medicine," said Perkins.
The city will issue a request for proposals, select as many as six and look to cultivate any of the ideas it thinks would generate growth. Mayor Perkins calls the grant a 'shot in the arm.'
"The hope is that the ideas are going to be different. 'Out-of-the-box ideas' that are going to enable us to create jobs that will be transformational in our city," said Perkins.
Commerce secretary Blank said the program will award grants to three more cities sometime in the next six months.