The Community Revitalization and Improvement Zone Act (CRIZ), updated in Pennsylvania's 2013-2014 budget, is a special designation that allows for the approved cities to redevelop an urban area using state and local taxes, is now being directed towards third-tier locations. Two population center that have between 30,000 and 70,000 residents will be selected by the states Department of Economic and Community Development (DCED).
After an application is submitted and approved, the designated city's zone will be defined, municipal bonds can be issued and sold for funding, any taxes collected will be directed back to the city, and construction can commence in the 100 acre plus defined area. Allentown used an earlier version of this CRIZ Act to build its new hockey area and Bethlehem (the first approved under the new CRIZ guidelines) will use the same to start renovating its South Side district.
The Township of Whitehall is attempting something different, with a population of only 26,000, it has decided to join forces with the Boroughs of Catasauqa and Coplay, nearby neighbors, and submit a joint application for the CRIZ designation.
The joint application is the first of its kind and it 130 acres potential zone will include locations from all three places. Whitehall wants to revitalize the Lehigh Valley Diary property and its waterfront section; while Catasauqa and Coplay would redevelop their FL Smidth and General Supply warehousing sites respectively, making them available for other uses.