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Monday, September 18, 2006

Grant to help revitalize Morgan community

Morgan State University will receive a $600,000 federal grant to help revitalize neighborhoods around its Northeast Baltimore campus, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this week.

Morgan will use the money to create a community revitalization plan, help develop a neighborhood charter school and convert a 200-year-old grist mill on campus into a "community welcome center," said university spokesman Clinton Coleman.

The grant is part of $10.4 million allocated this year by HUD's Office of University Partnerships to 13 historically black colleges and universities.

Historically black colleges are often in underserved neighborhoods, said Darlene Williams, assistant secretary for policy development and research at HUD, which is why they are targeted for assistance.

"Historically, they are in areas where there's been some significant shifting in the demographics over time," she said. "But black colleges and universities have also been a key economic engine for revitalizing the community that surrounds them."

Previous community-revitalization grants in Maryland include $500,000 in 2001 to Bowie State University and $550,000 in 2004 to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for converting an abandoned 4.5-acre clam factory into a youth recreation center.

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