Gov. Tom Wolf was in New Castle last week and saw first hand the blight issue that plagues the city.
In a conference call Monday morning, the governor, who is up for re-election Nov. 6 as he faces challenger Scott Wagner, said he has visited many of Pennsylvania’s communities and doesn’t see being exclusive to New Castle.
“Blight is a problem that older communities have all around the state,” Wolf said. “It is an issue that I have been fighting in a number of different ways.” Wolf is hopeful that economic growth in Western Pennsylvania can help smaller, older communities overcome blight.
“There are direct investments in terms of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program,” he said.
RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. Projects in the program must have a multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues or other measures of economic activity.
Wolf also pointed to the Shell cracker plant being constructed in Beaver County and how ancillary businesses will stimulate economic growth in the region.
“Most of (eradicating blight) is trying to make places like New Castle attractive to businesses,” Wolf said. “It is going to benefit from what is going on with the cracker plant and manufacturing businesses that are going to sprout out of that coming from the cracker plant.
“It will help provide family-sustaining jobs. If that happens I think people will be fixing up buildings, rehabilitating buildings, and there are direct investments from RACP. The bigger, more effective thing is to keep moving the economy of Pennsylvania forward with wealth distributed around the state so that places like New Castle could benefit.”