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Department of Metropolitan Development
1 NW Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Civic Center Complex Room 306
Evansville, IN 47708
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Promise Zone

In June of 2016, the city of Evansville received a federal 10-year Promise Zone designation to support its most at-risk, yet most promising neighborhoods within its urban core.  According to the 2020 Census 20,914 people live within the Promise Zone, down approximately 6% from the 2010 Census.    Residents of the Promise Zone are some of the City’s most challenged by poverty and low educational attainment.

ECHO Housing serves as the head organization and the City’s Department of Metropolitan Development as the lead partner.  An additional 25 some agencies, non-profits and businesses assist in developing strategies and mobilizing resources to support the Zone’s initiatives. 

 

Promise Zone goals include:

  • Increase access to job skills education and training for better career opportunities
  • Support new business establishments within a dynamic economic environment
  • Improve the academic, social and emotional well-being of youth and families
  • Reduce criminal activity
  • Promote overall health and well-being
  • Expand the number of quality-affordable housing units

 

Ongoing work within the Promise Zone

  • In response to the increase usage of internet services due to the Coronavirus, the City of Evansville created 5 free public Wi-Fi beacons within the Promise Zone in December 2021. These beacons operate 24/7 with signal strength to support multiple users accessing multiple platforms all at the same time.  Approximately 1,500 unique residents use the system with more than 200 users on a daily basis. See map
  • Housing Organizations United Serving Evansville (HOUSE) serves as the Promise Zone’s Housing Workgroup. In the fall of 2022, HOUSE created a strategic plan to serve the group through 2026.  The plan includes building and rehabbing housing units while advocating for residents facing housing issues and providing resources to these residents.  More on HOUSE can be found under DMD’s Housing Programs.

 

  • With the closing of the only large-scale grocery store in the Promise Zone in 2018, the Zone was considered a food desert for nearly five-years. However, in March of 2023, the DG Market opened within The Forge, a new apartment complex, on North Main Street giving residents access to fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs and meat.  The City worked with Echo Housing and House Investments to encourage the DG Market to locate its new grocery store model within the Promise Zone by providing a grant through the City’s Redevelopment Commission.

 

  • To gauge progress towards goals, the Promise Zone draws on a variety of existing data sources. A community survey is distributed to residents during the fall of the odd numbered years to examine community perception.  The first survey was distributed in 2017, then 2019 and most recently in 2021.  Results from that survey can be seen here. 

 

For more information on the Promise Zone:

Silas Matchem
Evansville Promise Zone Director
318 Main Street
Evansville, IN 47708
silas.matchem@echohousing.org

Christine Prior
Project Manager/Promise Zone Liaison
Department of Metropolitan Development
306 Civic Center Complex
One NW Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47708
cprior@evansville.in.gov
812-436-4555