Lehigh Valley

Folks interested in York CRIZ tour Allentown NIZ

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Officials interested in a CRIZ for the city of York came to Allentown Friday to learn about the success of the city's NIZ.

The visitors were given a presentation about the status of Allentown's NIZ sites in center-city and along the Lehigh River and took a tour.

Those visitors included York Mayor Kim Bracey, State Rep. Kevin Schreiber, York Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Development Shilvosky Buffaloe, York City Councilman Henry Dixon, former York Mayor Bill Althaus, Sonia Huntzinger and Tim Miller of Downtown Inc. and Eric Menzer of York Revolution Baseball.

York is among the eight Pennsylvania cities eligible to be designated a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ), which was approved by the state legislature in June and signed by Governor Tom Corbett.

As many as two CRIZ zones can be created in Pennsylvania this year. The CRIZ zones are similar to the Allentown's NIZ -- Neighborhood Improvement Zone -- but the financial benefits to developers are not as generous and come with additional financial safeguards for the state.

The York delegation was hosted by a local contingent that included Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, State Sen. Pat Browne,  State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Allentown City Councilman Peter Schweyer,  Allentown Director of the Department of Community & Economic Development Sara Hailstone and ANIZDA Chairman Sy Traub.

"Our downtown redevelopment is the talk of Pennsylvania," said Pawlowski. "I was delighted to show Mayor Bracey and her party what the NIZ is doing for Allentown and what the CRIZ can mean for York. I'd be happy to host similar events for my colleagues in other CRIZ qualifying cities."

"Allentown is transforming before our eyes," said Schlossberg. "With cranes, construction crews and equipment running constantly, we are building prosperity.

"I am also happy to welcome leaders from the City of York to Allentown so they can see the opportunity the Neighborhood Improvement Zone can create.

"The City Revitalization and Improvement Zone could be an exciting tool for cities like York. Each city that can use this tool will help Pennsylvania to prosper, putting thousands to work and attracting new businesses to our Commonwealth."

In just its second year, Allentown's NIZ has produced half a billion dollars in proposed development. The zone also includes the Lehigh River waterfront. A $285 million two-phase development of office and residential buildings there has received tentative approval from the Allentown Planning Commission.

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