Clairton Mayor Rich Lattanzi can recall a time when the city’s credit was so poor, they couldn’t purchase Easter candy. Lattanzi said the story is a good example of how far the town has come from its nearly 30 years in Act 47 financial distressed status.
Friday, he announced the community had received $3.3 million in state tax credits and corporate grants.
“There were times when the cupboards were bare,” Lattanzi said. “And the city of Clairton just kept clawing and clawing.”
About $2.8 million of the funds will be raised over six years through a Pennsylvania Neighborhood Partnership Program tax credit. NPP gives businesses tax credits for investing in distressed communities.
BNY Mellon will invest $375,000 and Highmark will give $100,000 annually. Both companies will receive 80 percent in tax credits.
Economic Development South director Stephanie Miller said the NPP funds will primarily go toward improving the city’s image.
“We’re going to address a couple areas of impact,” Miller said, “community and commercial district revitalization, where we’ll look at attracting businesses and residents, addressing blight and better marketing opportunities in Clairton.”
Lattanzi said additional grants came from the Jefferson Regional Foundation and Allegheny County.
Seven objectives were laid out by city and county representatives, including increasing social opportunities for youth and seniors, enhancing the region’s cultural programs and improving Clairton schools.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he knows it hasn’t been easy for the Mon Valley community recovering from financial distress.
“What we’re talking about today, really, is hope,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s about hope for this community.”
A Speedway full-service gas station is expected to be built this year, which Lattanzi said will add about 35 jobs. He added the city’s 6,600 residents will also see improvements to their sewage system.
Average annual income for Clairton residents is about $25,000.