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NEW YORK CITY-More than $155 million dollars in grants has been approved and over 38,000 applications have been received through Lower Manhattan Development Corp.’s Residential Grant Program. The program provides assistance to residents who lived downtown on September 11, 2001 and continue to reside in Lower Manhattan, as well as offering financial incentives to new residents who make a two-year commitment to live downtown. The LMDC also noted registration period for the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition will close on Thursday, May 29 at 5 p.m.

Residents eligible for the grants may apply online by visiting www.RenewNYC.com or by calling the hotline at 1-866 RenewNY (1-866-736-3969. All leases must commence on or prior to Saturday, May 31 for new residents to be eligible. An LMDC spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that the group recently went door to door in an effort to spread the word about the application deadline.

“The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is committed to downtown residents,” says Lower MDC interim president Kevin M. Rampe. “As the rebuilding process goes forward, a thriving community base will be the cornerstone of Lower Manhattan’s revitalization.”

The $306 million dollars allocated for the Residential Grant Program is part of a $2 billion grant from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program. The program establishes three zones of eligibility and offers three types of grants to owners and renters living south of Delancey and Kenmare Streets: the September 11, 2001 Residents Grant; the Family Grant; and the Two-Year Commitment-Based Grant. Funds are distributed based on proximity to Ground Zero.

The September 11, 2001 Residents Grant is a one time $1,000 grant available to each housing unit whose residents lived in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and continue to be on-going residents in any of the three zones. The Family Grant, a one time grant of $1,500 or $750 depending on location, is available to housing units with children under the age of 18 that make a one-year commitment to living in lower Manhattan. The Two-Year Commitment-Based Grant is available to residents, per apartment, that make at least a two-year commitment to living in lower Manhattan.

Under the program guidelines, Zone 1 is eligible for 30% of the monthly rent (or mortgage payments, plus maintenance costs and real estate and related taxes for owner occupied units), up to $12,000 over two years. And Zone 2 is eligible for 30% of the monthly rent (or mortgage payments, plus maintenance costs and real estate and related taxes for owner-occupied units), up to $6,000 over two years.

The Residential Grant program has successfully attracted new residents to the downtown area, Amy Peterson, VP for development programs and economics, tells GlobeSt.com. “The Residential Grant Program has been critical to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan. It has also has attracted new residents to the area – in fact, of the applications approved, more than 56% of Zone 1 applicants have identified themselves as new residents,” she says.

If any resident has questions about filling out their application or about how they can provide supporting documentation, they should contact the LMDC hotline at 1-866-RenewNYC or make an appointment at one of the community offices. All applications must be submitted no later than Saturday, May 31. New residents that move in during May can submit partial applications while they wait to receive their first utility bill or other required supporting documentation.

To date more than 7,000 prospective participants have registered for the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition from all 50 states and more than 80 countries. “Individuals from nearly half of the world’s nations have indicated their interest in participating in this competition,” Rampe notes. “This overwhelming response is a testament to the global impact of the attacks and the world’s unwavering commitment to honor the thousands of innocent victims.

LMDC will accept memorial design proposals from registered participants from June 9 through June 30 All proposals will be evaluated by the 13 member memorial jury and a final design for the competition will be selected by fall 2003. Registration information and the competition guidelines are available at, www.WTCSiteMemorial.org. Interested participants may also call 1-800-696-0081 to hear an overview of the guidelines or fax a written request for registration materials to 1-800-718-5699. The competition is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, 18 years of age or older, regardless of professional accreditation.

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