Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett today awarded City Revitalization and Improvement Zone program designations to the cities of Bethlehem and Lancaster.
Corbett signed the CRIZ program into law in conjunction with the 2013-14 state budget to spur new growth in cities that have struggled to attract development, help revive downtown areas and create jobs for the residents in the regions.
CRIZ allows certain state and local taxes generated by businesses in the zone to be used to finance construction and development of a variety of buildings.
Bethlehem and Lancaster will work with the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the state Department of Revenue to identify priority projects within their applications.
Through the CRIZ program, vacant, desolate or abandoned space can be developed for commercial use, thereby creating jobs, increasing personal incomes, growing state and local tax revenues and reviving local economies.
Cities eligible to apply for CRIZ designation based on local economic indicators include Altoona, Bethlehem, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, Wilkes-Barre and York. Delaware County, a home rule county, was also eligible to apply for a CRIZ designation for the City of Chester.
Applications were reviewed by the state DCED, the Department of Revenue and the Office of the Budget, which awarded CRIZ designations based on eligibility requirements identified in program guidelines. The state agencies encourage eligible applicants that did not receive designations to reapply in the next round of applications.