Wolf Administration Tours Blighted Properties, Outlines Benefits of Restore PA for Northampton County
Pen Argyl, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Executive Deputy Secretary Neil Weaver joined Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure and other local leaders for a tour of several blighted properties in Pen Argyl and Bangor boroughs. The tour included a discussion about the region’s fight against blight and how the bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania proposal could help municipalities eradicate blight.
“Restore Pennsylvania will enable municipalities like Bangor and Pen Argyl to tackle their blight challenges and increase quality of life for its residents,” Weaver said. “If we want to create strong and vibrant communities, we must take action now. Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will prevent our communities from falling behind.”
Restore Pennsylvania, the $4.5 billion bipartisan proposal funded through a commonsense severance tax, to rebuild Pennsylvania’s infrastructure, will increase resources for addressing blight by providing 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.
Currently, local governments like Penn Argyl and Bangor boroughs cannot fund the demolition or redevelopment of most of their blighted properties themselves. Northampton County contains more than 3,500 blighted properties, or 4.4 percent of all properties, posing a significant economic challenge for the area. 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.
“Blight imperils Northampton County’s ability to move forward into the future with our plans to improve the lives of the folks already living here and to attract new people that we desperately need to help us continue to expand our economy,” said County Executive Lamont McClure. “Governor Wolf and the Restore Pennsylvania plan present a bold and innovative opportunity to confront the scourge of blight in Northampton County and across the state.”
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