To achieve goals of urban renewal and neighborhood revitalization, the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority’s focus over the years has been to “reposition” vacant, blighted buildings or lots that are causing distress in what is otherwise a stable neighborhood.
The only time that a Redevelopment Authority can use “
The Urban Redevelopment Law establishes rigid regulations governing the Redevelopment Authority’s exercise of when there is no Urban Renewal Plan. Candidate properties must be (1) vacant, (2) meet strict criteria to evidence “blight”, (3) must follow proscribed steps through an official “Harrisburg Vacant Property Reinvestment Board”, which has been established, and Board Members appointed by City Officials – not by the Redevelopment Authority.
As a practical matter, the Redevelopment Authority acquires many blighted properties through an “amicable purchase”, negotiating an acceptable purchase price with owners. Properties acquired through the Harrisburg Vacant Property Reinvestment Board, are nearly always abandoned by their owners, severely deteriorated, and the only legal way to renovate and move them back onto the tax roles is to use the legal process set forth in the Urban Redevelopment Law.
Lack of sufficient funds is the primary barrier to the Redevelopment Authority’s ability to acquire and turn around more blighted properties than it already does.
Conservatively, the Redevelopment Authority, from 2001 to 2011, has participated in the City’s redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization strategy by acquiring 697 vacant, blighted (or “distressed”) properties and successfully redeveloped 536 properties.
” to acquire occupied property is when that property is within an official “Urban Renewal Plan” area established by the City of Harrisburg, its Mayor, and City Council. A good example of this are plans adopted after the 1972 Agnes flood, where whole City blocks were destroyed, and in order to use federal flood assistance funds to help residents relocate and to rebuild, an Urban Renewal Plan was necessary. There are currently no active Urban Renewal Plans in the City of Harrisburg.