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Marysol Torrres

Building On Strength Summer 2019 update

Marisol Torres, Housing and Economic Development Administrator, City of Lancaster

First help us understand what a land bank and CRIZ is

A land bank is a public authority that acts as a legal and financial mechanism to hold, manage and develop vacant, abandoned and/or tax foreclosed properties back to productive use.

A CRIZ is an area of up to 130 acres, comprised of parcels designated by the CRIZ authority, which will provide economic development and job creation within the City of Lancaster. State and local taxes collected within the CRIZ will be used to repay debt service to stimulate economic development projects within the CRIZ area.

Describe how tools like a land bank and CRIZ benefit the community.

The focus of the CRIZ program is to provide opportunity to spur new growth and to help revive our City by creating jobs for residents, developing underutilized or abandoned spaces, and by growing state and local tax revenues.

The Land Bank acts as a community development tool to help with revitalization of an abandoned area or properties in the City. Land banks can improve tax revenues, expand housing opportunities, remove public nuisances, assist in crime prevention, and promote economic development.

Can you provide an update for the community on where both of these projects stand?

The City of Lancaster Land Bank Authority approved the purchase of its first property at the Lancaster County Judicial Sale in November 2018. It will be working with the non-profit housing agencies to redevelop the property.

The CRIZ Authority has several successful projects occurring throughout the CRIZ area. It recently enacted a CRIZ Grant Program for small businesses in the CRIZ area to promote new businesses and/or to assist with the expansion of established businesses.