U.S. Housing Secretary Henry G. Cisneros yesterday announced awards totaling $4 million to aid nine historically black colleges in reviving their surrounding neighborhoods, including a $500,000 grant to Baltimore's Coppin State College.
"Coppin State's community empowerment efforts are a model for the nation," Mr. Cisneros said.
Flanked by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Coppin President Calvin W. Burnett, Mr. Cisneros announced the grants at the Inner Harbor Hyatt after speaking to a convention of black entrepreneurs.
Giving grants to help communities rebuild "just makes sense," he said.
"They are sources of jobs, they are sources of contracts, and they are sources of investment. They are located in communities that benefit from a ripple effect from their presence.
"The integration of the life of these universities and colleges and these communities is something we have to do."
The Coppin Heights Community Development Corp., across North Avenue from the West Baltimore campus, has worked with city agencies and area businesses to rejuvenate the often run-down areas bordering the school.
In applying for the grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Coppin officials promised to provide affordable-housing opportunities to single parents and lower-income residents in the West North Avenue corridor.
The college pledged also to develop a commercial "theme area" plan on the 2500 block of West North Avenue, including retail units and a restaurant; to provide social services through a family life center; and to provide job training and counseling to area residents.
Morgan State University received a similar $500,000 HUD award a year ago to provide education and employment training to welfare recipients.