Wolf Administration Discusses How Restore Pennsylvania Could Help Erie County Combat Blight
North East, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin joined local officials and community leaders to discuss Erie’s challenges in its fight against blight, and how the bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania infrastructure proposal could help the region eliminate blight.
“Municipalities in Erie County have assets that could position the region for success,” Secretary Davin said. “But to create strong and vibrant communities and promote new development we must facilitate more resources. Restore PA will catapult Pennsylvania ahead of every state in the country in terms of technology, development, and infrastructure.”
Restore Pennsylvania, the $4.5 billion bipartisan proposal funded through a commonsense severance tax will provide financial resources at the local level to establish land banks and acquire and demolish blighted buildings to create new development opportunities or provide new green space. The funding will be administered by entities established by the legislature as land banks or demolition funds.
Local municipalities are often unable to fund the demolitions or redevelopment themselves. North East Borough and Erie County have thousands of blighted properties. According to the 2016 Erie Refocused comprehensive plan, the City of Erie alone has 9,500 homes showing signs of “moderate to severe distress,” 4,700 vacant units and 1,900 abandoned houses.
If passed into law, Restore Pennsylvania would fund blight remediation efforts at a level far beyond any existing funding mechanisms.
“Erie County has made forward movement on fighting blight with the formation of the Erie County Land Bank, but we know that we have great need in our communities,” Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said. “Erie County neighborhoods will not see widespread and timely change unless we have a meaningful increase in resources. Restore PA is essential to helping Erie County continue its forward momentum.”
Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth’s vital infrastructure needs. Funded through a commonsense severance tax, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century.
Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132