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Whitehall, Coplay and Catasauqua join forces for state redevelopment program application

By Olivia Albright, Assignment Editor / Web Producer, OAlbright@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 14 2013 09:57:35 PM CDT
Whitehall Township
WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

Whitehall Township has signed on to a community revitalization and investment joint application with Catasauqua and Coplay.

The Board of Commissioners of Whitehall passed a resolution in support of the pilot zone project at their meeting Monday night.

Whitehall’s application is to a program passed by the state legislature for cities of the third class only with populations over 30,000, according to Mayor Hozza of Whitehall. Whitehall, whose population is only 26,738, combined their application with the Borough of Catasauqua and the Borough of Coplay.

“Ours is a unique application,” Mayor Hozza said. “The two boroughs on their own would not qualify. It’s unique in that you have a township of the first class and two boroughs working together.”

Mayor Hozza noted that the state has been promoting regionalization and shared services between neighboring municipalities.

If Whitehall, Coplay and Catasauqua gain the state’s approval, they will be able to secure a developer to redevelop a maximum of 130 acres of property. The state’s program allows for state taxes to be abated for the term of the loan for the rehabilitation of the property.

The loan amount is still unknown until the state approves or denies their application and information about potential developers cannot be revealed yet.

The most recently drawn plans of their 130 acres include, in Whitehall, the Lehigh Valley Dairy and the waterfront. In Catasauqua, it will include FLSmidth and, in Coplay, General Supply.  These zones are tentative and can be changed.

After the Whitehall Board of Commissioners approved their resolution on Monday night, all three municipalities and the two school districts in the area approved the applications and the projected plans.