LANCASTER – Continuing to examine needed remediation for the blight plaguing the Commonwealth, Reps. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike), majority chairwoman of the House Urban Affairs Committee; and Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster), minority chairman of the House Urban Affairs Committee, along with other committee members met with local leaders and officials to discuss possible solutions to this critical community issue.
“Today, we again had another informative roundtable hearing, this time in Lancaster, to discuss the critical problems that blight poses on our neighborhoods, townships and municipalities,” said Brown. “Blighted properties not only adversely affect the safety of our residents, but our local economy. I want to sincerely thank all of today’s testifiers for their perspectives and the solutions they have proposed. This matter is incredibly serious and I will work diligently with my colleagues to create meaningful legislation that will assist our communities with reducing blight.”
Testifiers for today’s roundtable included: Chris Delfs, Community Planning and Economic Development director for the city of Lancaster; Marshall Snively, president of Lancaster City Alliance; Dana Hanchin, president and CEO of HDC Mid Atlantic; Carlos Graupera, CEO of Spanish American Civic Association; Mike McKenna, president of Tenfold; Samuel Bressi, president and CEO of Lancaster County Community Foundation; Tammie Fitzpatrick, director of Development, Community Basics Inc.; Mike Todd, vice president for finance and administration at F&M College; Larry Cohen, executive director of Lancaster Parking Authority; Joel Hendry, president of LEADS; Deborah Brandt, owner and creative director of FIG Industries and FIG Lancaster; and Tim Miller, executive director for the Lancaster Safety Coalition.
“We have, for the most part, been able to overcome blight in Lancaster over the past few decades,” said Sturla. “But history tells us that unless we remain vigilant, it is easy to slide backwards. It has been due to the countless efforts of private developers and entrepreneurs, non-profit and business organizations, government and community leaders, philanthropists, and civic organizations that we have come this far. But the day we say, ‘We are done!’, is the day we begin our backslide.”
Since 2012, led by research and legislation from its Bicameral Bipartisan Blight Task Force, Pennsylvania has enacted 12 laws to help communities clean up blight and address the concerns voiced by Pennsylvanians and local officials. The House Urban Affairs Committee and Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee played a vital role in helping craft and guide these bills through the process of becoming law.
The Urban Affairs Committee is responsible for reviewing legislation regarding housing, specifically affordable housing; community redevelopment; economic development; land use planning and zoning; growth management; infrastructure financing; and issues regarding Pennsylvania's cities.
Representative Rosemary M. Brown
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abby Chiumento