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Lancaster, Bethlehem win CRIZ designations

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Lancaster and Bethlehem have been awarded City Revitalization and Improvement Zone program designations, Gov. Tom Corbett's office announced today.

Cities eligible to apply for CRIZ designation based on local economic indicators included 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.

According to a news release, applicants that did not receive designations have been encouraged to reapply in the next round of applications.

The CRIZ program, signed into law in conjunction with the 2013-14 state budget, is intended to leverage anticipated taxes from development into millions in capital for that development, and Lancaster has been working closely with state Sen. Lloyd K. Smucker on it.

Corbett said the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Revenue will work closely with Lancaster and Bethlehem to identify priority projects within their applications. The CRIZ designation plays a key role in a proposed financing plan for the Lancaster County Convention Center.

“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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