Officials Announce Plans To Apply For Redevelopment Runding For Reading

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city’s plans to apply for a major revitalization zone went public this morning, as the effort won approval from local business and community groups, county officials and even colleges and state legislators that will collaborate on the effort.

“We’re a team,” said state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat.

“We’re totally committed to work on a united effort to get a proposal in place,” Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said.

Council and the local businesses clearly are in on the effort, Council President Francis G. Acosta said.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=515531

Corbett Signs Bill Creating City Revitalization Zones

Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed into law the bill that will give Reading and other Pennsylvania cities a chance to create so-called City Revitalization and Improvement Zones to attract new businesses.

The 130-acre zones will be funded with public bonds issued by a local municipal authority running the zone.  The bonds will be repaid by local and state tax revenue raised within the zone.

The law resulted in large part from the work of state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, who noted that the original bill sponsored by Sen. Lloyd Smucker, a Lancaster Republican, would have frozen out Reading.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=503396

Reading Eligible For Revitalization Funds; May Miss Application Deadline

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state has given Reading the eligibility it wants to compete for a highly prized City Revitalization and Improvement Zone that, similar to Allentown, would use state and local tax revenue to attract jobs and millions of dollars in private investment.

But it’s still uncertain whether Reading will be one of the two pilot cities the state chooses in the first round this year, or even whether the city will apply in time.

Lancaster already has submitted its own proposal, and Bethlehem is expected to shortly.  The second round for two more cities doesn’t begin until 2016.

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer could not be reached for comment.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=494416

Bill To Boost Neighborhood Climate Could Freeze Out Reading

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two competing bills are being introduced in the state Senate that would expand Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone – unique and highly successful but also highly criticized – to other Pennsylvania cities.

One bill would include Reading; the other would not.

The prize for any city is the zones’ new ability to retain state personal income and sales tax revenue generated in the zone, using it to repay bond issues for demolition, infrastructure and even new buildings.

But both bills, in answer to charges that Allentown’s gains are the state’s losses, would limit how much state tax can be kept locally.

Sen. Lloyd Smucker, a Lancaster Republican, introduced the first bill in early May to authorize what he calls City Revitalization and Improvement Zones.  Its pilot program applies only to cities with 40,000 to 70,000 people.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=484975