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Erie Loses Out on CRIZ Designation

Governor Corbett passes over Erie in favor of Bethlehem and Lancaster
December 30, 2013 - Harrisburg– Today, Governor Tom Corbett awarded two City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) program designations to the cities of Bethlehem and Lancaster.

Governor 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.

“Our local communities are the foundation of Pennsylvania’s economy. We developed the CRIZ program to spark local economic growth, create jobs, and improve the lives of city residents and visitors,” Corbett said.

Erie had applied for the CRIZ to help with planned development on Erie's bayfront, including Scott Enterprises $150 million Harbor Place; Bayfront Place, the Erie County Convention Center Authority's development at the former GAF Materials Corp. site; and McAllister Place, the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority project on East Dobbins Landing.

Local officials in Bethlehem and Lancaster were recently informed of their CRIZ designations. These cities will work closely with the Department of Community and Economic Development and the 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 Department of Community and Economic Development, the Department of Revenue and the Office of the Budget, which awarded CRIZ designations based on eligibility requirements identified in program guidelines. Eligible applicants that did not receive designations have been encouraged to reapply in the next round of applications.

“Eventually, all eligible Pennsylvania cities that develop quality proposals could have successful economic development projects. I have directed DCED to work with cities that did not receive designations to help them improve their applications,” said Corbett. “We want to inspire our cities to start thinking creatively about spurring new growth through economic development strategies and the CRIZ program has certainly helped in that effort.”

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