Government & Politics

Council president seeks oversight for economic development loans

City Council President Arnie Fielkow plans to introduce an ordinance this week that would require council approval for all loans from the Urban Development Action Grant fund, increasing public oversight of a development subsidy most recently awarded to Zulu organization and the Inspire entertainment complex in the Seventh Ward.

The UDAG program is a loan fund created in the 1970s by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department with a goal of spurring investment in poor and blighted areas. Though the federal government stopped putting new money into the program in the late 1980s, it lives on through revolving loan programs in cities across the country.

Though the $400,000 Zulu loand and the $2.5 million Inspire loan went before the council for its nod, such approval is not a requirement.

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