Wolf administration tours blighted properties

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ST. MARYS, Pa. (WTAJ) — Members from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development toured St. Marys Thursday.

On this statewide tour, they are assessing which communities need help and will come up with a plan on how to use $4.5 billion over the next 4 years.

The Restore Pennsylvania proposal, which would be funded by a new severance tax on natural gas, would address blight, infrastructure, sewer and water and broadband issues in the state.

“The governor’s Restore program is an opportunity that we see to secure our future,” deputy secretary Rick Vilello said. “There isn’t one place in Pennsylvania that isn’t touched by these needs.”

The tour took them through downtown, past blighted storefronts that are planned to be torn down to make way for a new park. They also visited this parking lot in disrepair.

St. Marys Mayor Lou Radkowski believes the state’s support will help the city improve.

“It’s fantastic that we were able to get some folks from the state up here to help us solve some of the problems we have here in town, we’re doing a lot on the ground ourselves.”

According to the Wolf Administration, in downtown St. Marys, there are nearly 15 blighted properties that would require at least $1 million for demolition or rehabilitation.

As members of the governor’s administration toured St. Marys, city officials showed off the improvements they’re making themselves.

The city is taking on projects like turning vacant property and blighted businesses into a new city park, and considering a soccer facility at Kaulmont Park.

“When places have a vision where they want to go, it’s easier for me to help them get there,” Vilello said. “When there’s vision, when there’s foresight, when there’s leadership, it makes a difference.”

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