Wolf Administration: Restore Pennsylvania Key to Battling Blight
Wilkinsburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Executive Director for Local Government Services Kim Bracey joined local officials and community members to tour blighted properties in Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County and discuss how the governor’s bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania will help municipalities eradicate blight.
“Blighted neighborhoods like the Wilkinsburg Business District serve as a great example of how Restore Pennsylvania will meet the needs of Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth, whether they’re dealing with blight or broadband connectivity issues,” said Executive Director Bracey. “This is the only plan that will implement commonsense measures critical to addressing those challenges.”
Nestled in an area less than ten miles from downtown Pittsburgh, the Borough of Wilkinsburg is a network of residential neighborhoods near one of the most livable cities in the United States. Despite its prime location and rich history, the borough, like other communities across Pennsylvania, is combatting blighted areas, notably in the Wilkinsburg business district.
“Wilkinsburg is a place I am proud to call home, and am proud to represent each day,” said Mayor Marita Garrett. “We appreciate the continued support from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, but partnerships are not enough to truly tackle blight. We need a strong funding source like Restore Pennsylvania to truly revitalize our community.”
In 2016, data showed Wilkinsburg had 19 percent of its housing stock vacant/blighted, or about 800 properties, each coming with a significant price tag for renovation or demolition. In Pennsylvania, more than 300,000 blighted properties exist, causing health and safety concerns and lowering property values and tax revenues. If passed into law, Restore Pennsylvania would fund blight remediation efforts at a level far beyond any existing funding mechanisms at the local and state levels, and allow municipalities to direct funding to other economic development projects.
Restore Pennsylvania will invest $4.5 billion over the next four years in significant, high-impact projects throughout the commonwealth to help move Pennsylvania forward by increasing financial resources at the local level to acquire and demolish blighted properties to create new development opportunities and provide new green space. It would also help communities reach the “last mile” in broadband connectivity, mitigate flooding, build roads and bridges, and address other infrastructure needs.
Learn more about what critical infrastructure could be addressed in your community by visiting the Restore Pennsylvania website.
Casey Smith, DCED, 717.783.1132