GREENVILLE — Action in Harrisburg today could bring Greenville one step closer to having another revitalization tool.
A proposed law, House Bill 1860, will likely be passed in the House of Representatives today to change the population limits with regard to weapons to combat blight.
State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-7, Hermitage, who wrote the bill, said Greenville could benefit from the law if it passes. Under the law as it now exists, only municipalities with populations of 10,000 or more can create a redevelopment authority. Longietti’s proposal would remove the population minimum.
Greenville, which had a population of 5,919 in the 2010 census, would be able to form a redevelopment authority.
If the bill becomes law, it could give smaller municipalities like Greenville an option to clear blighted properties and get them back on the tax rolls, said Rev. Dr. Sean Hall, Greenville town councilman.
He said a redevelopment authority would allow the town to sell vacant properties and use the sale proceeds to improve blighted neighborhoods and properties, and continue the cycle.
Longietti said he is optimistic that House Bill 1860 will become law.
“In my personal view, I think we can largely dispense of these population requirements,” Longietti said. “It seems like we have a consensus in the House.”
Cities in Pennsylvania with populations less than 10,000 people can form redevelopment authorities and are not restricted to the same laws applied to boroughs.
With Greenville looking to exit the state’s Act 47 distressed community status, Hall said the town needs every resource at its disposal.
“We’re trying to revitalize Greenville,” he said. “There’s a tool other communities have that we’re not allowed to use.”
So last summer, town council members approved a resolution urging the state eliminate the 10,000-population threshold. Greenville officials, including council President Paul Hamill, forwarded the resolution to Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.
“They concurred and recommended it to Harrisburg and Rep. Longietti has been working with President Hamill,” Hall said.
Longietti credited Hamill with bringing the matter to his attention.
“He did some good work on his end,” Longietti said of Hamill.
Longietti is optimistic the bill will pass in the House, he said.
“There’s really no opposition to the bill,” Longietti said. “Hopefully, we’ll get it out of the House and into the Senate. It’s always a journey.”