Senator Judy Schwank Proposes Economic Boost for Reading with CRIZ Designation

Senator Judy SchwankSubmitted Image

READING, PASenator Judy Schwank (D-Berks) recently announced her plan to introduce legislation that would designate a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) for the City of Reading. This move aims to spur economic development and create jobs in the area.

What is a CRIZ?

The CRIZ program, established by Act 52 of 2013, designates up to 130 acres within a political subdivision to boost economic activity. Taxes collected from state and local levels within the CRIZ are used to repay debt service and support economic development projects.

Why Reading?

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development can approve two CRIZ applications each year. However, no CRIZ has been approved since 2015. Schwank believes Reading is a prime candidate and proposes changes to improve the program. These changes include expanding eligibility, allowing more local flexibility in choosing projects, and requiring annual performance reports for active CRIZ zones.

“A CRIZ is a powerful tool that would help us unlock Reading’s full potential,” Schwank stated. She highlighted ongoing redevelopment projects and the potential return of passenger rail as initiatives that would benefit from a CRIZ. Schwank also believes a CRIZ would attract new developers to Reading.

Next Steps

Schwank acknowledged that several steps remain before Reading can secure a CRIZ. She committed to working closely with Reading’s statehouse delegation, city officials, and the Shapiro administration to achieve this goal. “We have so many redevelopment projects underway and a lot of excitement around the potential return of passenger rail that would be greatly aided by a CRIZ,” she said.

Schwank’s proposal is seen as a significant opportunity to catalyze economic growth and rejuvenate the city. Her commitment to this initiative underscores the potential transformative impact a CRIZ could have on Reading.

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