Sen. Judy Schwank

Reading, PA — June 26, 2024 — Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) recently announced her intent to introduce legislation that would designate a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) for the City of Reading and implement programmatic changes.

The CRIZ program was created by Act 52 of 2013. A CRIZ is an area of up to 130 acres designated by a contracting authority to boost economic development and create jobs within a political subdivision. Taxes collected from the state and local levels within the CRIZ are allocated to repay debt service and support economic development projects in the area.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development may approve two CRIZ applications each calendar year, but the department has not approved a CRIZ since 2015. Schwank believes Reading is the perfect contender for a CRIZ and that the programmatic changes she’s proposing will improve the program. These changes include expanding CRIZ eligibility, allowing more local flexibility in determining CRIZ projects, and requiring annual performance reporting for active CRIZ zones.

“A CRIZ is a powerful tool that would help us unlock Reading’s full potential,” Schwank said. “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. It would also help attract new developers to the area.”

Schwank acknowledged that there are several steps before Reading can secure a CRIZ. However, she emphasized her commitment to collaborating with Reading’s statehouse delegation, city officials, and the Shapiro administration to make this a reality.