Ways to revitalize the urban core and utilize federal stimulus dollars:
Repair or replace sidewalks and curbs in decaying areas. A neighborhood can be transformed by new curbs and sidewalks.
Build smaller, neighborhood-based police stations in high-crime areas. Residents would be more apt to ask for help with a stable police presence, and situations might be defused before escalating to more serious crimes.
Use federal stimulus money to offer low interest loans to qualified homeowners in decaying areas for property repairs. Perhaps set aside some money for grants to elderly and fixed-income residents for repairs.
Demolish abandoned buildings.
Consider using TIF to help create small businesses in the urban core, such as corner grocery stores and barber shops. Ideally, these would be located near the neighborhood police station.
These concepts would create jobs and make the urban core a safer and more attractive place to live.