The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has once again awarded a 5-year Enterprise Zone Designation to the City of Bethlehem.
The designation qualifies Bethlehem as a “distressed area” under the Neighborhood Assistance Program.
Bethlehem has been receiving the designation from the state since the mid-1980s. It is one of five Enterprise Zones in the state.
The Enterprise Zone designation helps to encourage investment in blighted, vacant, and underutilized properties within Bethlehem.
The designation comes through the Keystone Communities program and gives the city priority consideration under many of the state’s DECD programs.
It also gives the city access to the Enterprise Tax Credit Program, which Asher Schiavone, Bethlehem economic development coordinator said has been extremely helpful with economic development projects in the city.
Since 2015, there have been eight EZ Tax Credits approved for a total of $2.15M.
Projects funded through the tax credit program include work on the Flat Iron Building, the Gateway Building and The Factory.
The designation also gives businesses increased access to financing by lending institutions on mutually advantageous terms.
Eligible businesses located within the zone receive priority consideration when bidding on state government contracts, when applying for financial assistance to clean up contaminated sites under Act II and for any state resources that would assist in leveraging business investment and job creation in the Enterprise Zone.