Wolf Administration Tours Blighted Properties, Details Benefits of Restore PA for St. Marys
St. Marys, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Deputy Secretary for Community Affairs and Development Rick Vilello joined local officials and community leaders on a tour of blighted properties in Saint Marys, Elk County. The tour included a discussion about the region’s challenges in its fight against blight. They also discussed how the Restore Pennsylvania proposal could help municipalities eliminate blight.
“Too many communities in Pennsylvania are dealing with blight issues. We need to act now to create healthy and vibrant neighborhoods for our residents,” Vilello said. “Restore Pennsylvania takes a unique approach to tackle blight across the commonwealth. It is an investment to protect our communities from threats to their health and safety, and an invaluable tool for economic development in the region.”
Restore Pennsylvania, the $4.5 billion bipartisan proposal funded through a commonsense severance tax, would increase financial resources at the local level to acquire and demolish blighted properties to create new development opportunities and provide new green space.
In the downtown neighborhood of St. Marys alone, there are nearly 15 blighted properties that would require at least $1 million for demolition or rehabilitation. Beyond St. Marys, blight is a pervasive problem throughout Elk County. 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.
“Saint Marys continues to look at efforts to deal with blight in our community,” said St. Marys City Manager Tim Pearson. “We are encouraged that the state is taking up this very important problem to help communities like ours resolve issues with blighted properties across our region, and we welcome responsibly-funded programs like the proposed Restore Pennsylvania. We think this could be an important tool in a community’s toolbox to help solve these problems.”
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