Pennsylvania's Community Improvement and Revitalization Zone (CRIZ), is special designation to help the state's smaller cities use tax money to redevelop up to a 130 miles. The tax funding, which was based upon Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ), can help the chosen city rebuild its downtown, historical, and various other areas to attract business.
The strict requirements, which only allowed eight cities to qualify for the initial two designations that would be granted, was based upon size, need, and the scope of projects that were submitted in the applications for the special tax-zone designation.
The eight cities that qualified and applied for the new tax-zone funding were Altoona, Bethlehem, Chester, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, Wilkes-Barre, and York
The winners were Lancaster and Bethlehem; the Christmas City, listed 11 economic development projects in the submitted application, which will begin almost immediately in the New Year. These projects should lead to a $350 to $400 million investment in the Lehigh Valley's second largest city.
Bethlehem's, newly developed CRIZ Authority, will start right away on securing construction funding for the projects from private sources to be combined with the public money to get things underway.
One of the main reasons that Bethlehem was picked for the initial CRIZ designation over some of the other cities,was due to it having the most shovel ready projects of any that applied.