Uncle Sam Wants You

Zoning In

The 20 communities recently designated as empowerment zones by the federal government are now eligible to share $3.8 billion in proposed federal grants and tax-exempt bonding authority over the next 10 years. Here are the facts on some of these areas:

*For the first time, American Indian tribes in poverty-stricken areas were allowed to apply for empowerment zone designation. The Oglala Sioux Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, was the big winner in this category.

*Lake Agassiz, North Dakota, was the first moderate-income area to earn zone status, due to its severe population outmigration.

*Eight banks in the Knoxville, Tennessee zone have invested $650,000 in a Community Investment Fund, which will provide low-interest, short-term loans to nonprofit and for-profit housing and community development agencies.

*Community organizations and residents - not business factions or the government - in Cincinnati launched the initial drive to seek empowerment zone status.

*Columbus, Ohio and Minneapolis have incorporated technology into the redevelopment of their empowerment zones.

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This article was originally published in the May 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Uncle Sam Wants You.

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