BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A group from Baltimore, including a local pastor that invited the President to visit the city, were in the White House Wednesday, where President Donald Trump made an announcement that could bring federal funds and resources to the city.
This comes after he cancelled a visit to an East Baltimore neighborhood. He instead signed an executive order Wednesday announcing a new revitalization council to help impoverished neighborhoods that need it the most.
The council, led by Baltimore surgeon and HUD Secretary Ben Carson, would help poorer communities with jobs, investment and growth, he said.
“With the announcement of today’s council, the whole resources of the federal government will be leveraged to rebuild low-income and impoverished neighborhood that have been ignored by Washington in year’s past,” Trump said.
Trump said the “opportunity zones” would “draw investments into neglected, undeserved communities of America, so that all Americans regardless of zip code have access to the American dream.”
The council, Trump said, would support communities like East Baltimore. where Pastor Donte Hickman is helping to lead a “groundbreaking project” in the newly designated opportunity zone.
Baltimore pastor Donte Hickman, of the Southern Baptist Church, was there for the announcement and thanked the president in advanced for “funding and resources” he will direct to the urban communities like Baltimore.
“The executive order you signed today will make it possible for us to work with your administration on a common goal of investing to restore people as we rebuild properties in neglected communities,” Hickman said.
Hickman said that Trump’s plan will help to investing into 100 acres of East Baltimore north of Johns Hopkins Hospital.
“The resources of the whole federal government will be leveraged to rebuild low income and impoverished neighborhoods that have been ignored by Washington in years past. No community will be ignored, left on the sidelines,” Trump said.
A recent revision of federal tax code creates incentives for developers to invest in neighborhoods such as Broadway East, as that neighborhood is called, was designated an opportunity zone as well.
“Mr. President I want you and every agency and potential investor to know that in Baltimore, and in particular, Broadway East Baltimore, that we have the plan, that we have the property, we have the people, we have the professional expertise and we have a perspective to jump start your urban initiative,” Hickman added. “Baltimore is prepared to be a demonstration project for a national, urban revitalization strategy.”
Hickman then invited Trump back to Baltimore to see the potential.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Congressman Elijah Cummings and Gov. Larry Hogan all declined to attend Wednesday’s signing ceremony.