The City of Tucson now has $1.3 million to renovate the Oracle neighborhood.
The award is a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, that took the city three years to get. Tucson is one of six cities in the country awarded this grant.
"This is a grant that we've been seeking for several years. We sought it because, one, it would give us immediate help in an area that we are intentionally trying to focus on improving," said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
The first $350,000 will be used to fund planning activities in the neighborhood focusing on bettering the community, resources and housing in the Oracle neighborhood.
"These grants are focused on areas where there are distressed low-income housing, and Tucson House is the primary focus of this grant," said Paul Durham, Tucson City Council Ward 3.
The main objective is to develop a plan to convert Tucson House from low-income based housing to mix-income based housing. The remaining $950,000 of the planning grant will be used for improving infrastructure in the area, such as sidewalks, parks, transportation, and housing.
"Its a real thrill because we are going to have to mobilize the entire community. businesses are going to have to be involved, many non-profits, the entire community has to get behind this," said Durham.
"Its a real good kick starter for this whole effort," said Rothschild.
This planning grant is part of a bigger plan to get another grant worth about $30 million, where $20 million of that is planned to go toward the complete renovation of the Tucson House.