East-side neighborhood among finalists for share of $15 million digital grant

Computer equipment, cash to go to 3 winners in national competition

January 24, 2001|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF

Baltimore is among six finalists competing for a grant to help push the city into the digital age.

Under Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Digital Village program, a total of up to $15 million in money and equipment will be awarded to underprivileged neighborhoods in three cities.

The program will help students in school, and adults and children who use the Internet in neighborhood centers and at home.

The Maryland Center for Arts and Technology Inc., an economic development organization in Baltimore, applied for the Hewlett-Packard grant for the East Baltimore empowerment zone.

The empowerment zone is made up of several neighborhoods around Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Michael Gaines, president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Center for Arts and Technology, said that if Baltimore wins the grant, the goal will be to create a digital community within the empowerment zone in which every aspect of residents' lives "would be connected to this new economy."

Officials from Hewlett-Packard visited Baltimore this week as they prepared to make a decision.

The company received 210 proposals for the three grants.

East Palo Alto, Calif., has been selected as one of the grant recipients.

Other finalists are El Paso, Texas; the San Diego Technology Partnership, California; Anacostia in Washington, D.C.; Chicago Humboldt Park Community; and the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association Inc., according to a company news release.

A decision on the other two grant recipients is expected Feb. 14.

Ellen Atkinson, director of development and marketing for the Maryland Center for Arts and Technology Inc., said if the grant is awarded, Hewlett-Packard will help create a plan.

"The hope and the vision," Atkinson said, "is that this vision can be replicated throughout other areas of the city."

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