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Building Innovation is a collection of stories by 90.5 fm WESA reporters about the Pittsburgh region focusing on efficient government operation, infrastructure and transportation, innovative practices, energy and environment and neighborhoods and community.

Clairton To Exit Distressed Cities Program

Ryan Loew
For Keystone Crossroads


The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development is removing Clairton’s distressed city status.

Clairton, about 15 miles from Pittsburgh, entered the state’s Act 47 program — which is supposed to help distressed municipalities recover fiscally — in 1988. It had an eroding tax base, a reduction in municipal services (it was not able to maintain its local police force for several years), pension liabilities and budget deficits.

But Clairton has since downsized and professionalized its municipal staff, sold off its sewer system for $10 million, and collected on delinquent taxes, among other changes that have shored up its accounts. Last year, Clairton actually had a surplus in its general fund. 

Read more on this report on the website of our partner Keystone Crossroads