Before Pennsylvania has even completely provided the guidelines for its Community Revitalization and Investment Zone (CRIZ), many smaller cities around the state, the main benefactors of the newly created tax zone, are jumping to advantage of the initiative.
Many are looking to Allentown for providing the example of how to handle the process and development of the zone. The guidelines were created specifically based on a PA tax law that helped Allentown with the financing needed to build its new downtown hockey arena. In addition to the arena, many other business ventures and improvements are being funded by the money generated through the tax zone.
The CRIZ guidelines added as part of the state budget passed this summer is very similar to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ), although not as lucrative and dsigned and encoraged for use among Pennsylvania smaller cities (population of 30,000 or less). the NIZ was created years earlier and and began the investment funding for over $500 million in improvements to Allentown's impoverished downtown district.
Bethlehem is the only other city with an application approved for a NIZ, so far. However locations such as Lancaster, which wants to develop an unused downtown square, and Erie and Wilkes-Barre wanting to develop a former environmental-issue property or reinvent an used financial district respectively, are seeking to take advantage of the new PA tax zone.