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                                                      PRINTER'S NO. 1506



No. 1201 Session of 2001



                                     AN ACT

     1  Providing for a residential neighborhood enhancement program to
     2     be administered by the Department of Community and Economic
     3     Development; and making an appropriation.

     4     The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
     5  hereby enacts as follows:
     6  Section 1.  Short title.
     7     This act shall be known and may be cited as the Elm Street
     8  Act.
     9  Section 2.  Legislative findings and purpose.
    10     (a)  Findings.--The General Assembly finds as follows:
    11         (1)  The viability and desirability of established
    12     residential neighborhoods in this Commonwealth's urban areas
    13     have been in a state of decline for more than 50 years.
    14         (2)  Suburban sprawl has lured homeowners away from
    15     established residential neighborhoods.
    16         (3)  Suburban sprawl has led to great losses of valuable
    17     farmland and open space throughout this Commonwealth.

     1         (4)  Many established residential neighborhoods suffer
     2     from deteriorating infrastructures and structural decline.
     3         (5)  Many established residential neighborhoods suffer
     4     from the adverse effects of criminal activity.
     5     (b)  Purpose.--The purpose of this act is to establish a plan
     6  within the department to enhance the desirability and viability
     7  of established residential neighborhoods through a comprehensive
     8  plan to:
     9         (1)  Address the issues of infrastructure and structural
    10     decline in established residential neighborhoods.
    11         (2)  Address the adverse effects of criminal activity in
    12     established residential neighborhoods.
    13         (3)  Improve the public image of established residential
    14     neighborhoods.
    15         (4)  Enhance the economic and social aspects of living in
    16     an established residential neighborhood.
    17         (5)  Compliment downtown commercial corridors.
    18  Section 3.  Definitions.
    19     The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
    20  have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
    21  context clearly indicates otherwise:
    22     "Department."  The Department of Community and Economic
    23  Development of the Commonwealth.
    24     "Elm Street Program."  A comprehensive plan to develop and
    25  revitalize established residential neighborhoods either in the
    26  vicinity of a Main Street project or in close proximity to an
    27  existing commercial core.
    28     "Established residential neighborhood."  A defined geographic
    29  area which has historically consisted of buildings and
    30  structures for housing individuals and families in close
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     1  proximity to a commercial core and which has existed as a
     2  residential neighborhood for 40 or more years.
     3     "Main Street Program."  The program administered by the
     4  Department of Community and Economic Development designed to
     5  help a community's downtown economic development effort through
     6  the establishment of a local organization dedicated to downtown
     7  revitalization and management of downtown revitalization by
     8  hiring a full-time professional downtown coordinator.
     9     "Municipality."  Any city, borough, township, county or home
    10  rule municipality.
    11  Section 4.  Elm Street Program.
    12     (a)  Establishment.--There is hereby established an Elm
    13  Street Program within the department.
    14     (b)  Program guidelines.--The Elm Street Program shall, at a
    15  minimum, include the following components:
    16         (1)  Five-year maximum State financial assistance.
    17         (2)  Basic grants for administrative costs associated
    18     with the hiring of a professional Elm Street Manager, who may
    19     serve as an assistant to the Main Street Manager when a Main
    20     Street Program exists within a municipality.
    21         (3)  Basic grants for infrastructure and structural
    22     improvements, including, but not limited to, streets, street
    23     lights, trees, housing facades and sidewalks or other
    24     pedestrian-oriented features.
    25         (4)  Plans for marketing and promoting downtown
    26     residential living within a designated Elm Street area.
    27         (5)  Plans to leverage additional private and public
    28     investment in the designated area.
    29         (6)  Plans to address any social or economic concerns
    30     within the designated area.
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     1         (7)  Plans to, the greatest extent possible, achieve
     2     consistency with any existing commercial and residential
     3     revitalization efforts.
     4         (8)  An assessment of the potential need for the
     5     following components:
     6             (i)  The establishment of a neighborhood improvement
     7         district as defined in the act of December 20, 2000
     8         (P.L.949, No.130), known as the Neighborhood Improvement
     9         District Act.
    10             (ii)  A review of local comprehensive plans and
    11         zoning and other land use ordinances to foster the
    12         viability of established residential neighborhoods, with
    13         a balanced mix of commercial, civic, employment and
    14         residential uses, with particular attention to a
    15         diversity of housing options.
    16             (iii)  A review of educational and recreational
    17         opportunities and facilities.
    18     (c)  Eligibility.--Municipalities or their designated
    19  agencies must meet the following criteria to participate in the
    20  Elm Street Program:
    21         (1)  Have a clearly defined residential neighborhood in
    22     need of revitalization in proximity to a downtown commercial
    23     district.
    24         (2)  Have demonstrated support by local residents,
    25     merchants and government officials.
    26         (3)  Have ability to provide up to a 50% match in
    27     financial and/or in-kind support for any department grants
    28     from other public or private sources based upon departmental
    29     guidelines. The department may waive any matching
    30     requirements if it is determined that such requirements would
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     1     constitute an unusual hardship upon the municipality or its
     2     designated agency.
     3     (d)  Limits.--The department shall establish limits on the
     4  amount of money available to each applicant so as to distribute
     5  the available funds as fairly as possible throughout this
     6  Commonwealth.
     7  Section 5.  Appropriation.
     8     The sum of $2,500,000, or as much thereof as may be
     9  necessary, is hereby appropriated to the Department of Community
    10  and Economic Development to carry out the purposes of this act
    11  for the first fiscal year of its implementation.
    12  Section 6.  Effective date.
    13     This act shall take effect immediately.

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