MONROE TWP. - Penny Campbell, director of the Clarion County Housing Authority, recently outlined the plans of the newly-formatted Clarion County Redevelopment Authority during the Clarion County Association of Township Officials convention in Monroe Township.
Campbell said the role of the redevelopment authority is to facilitate the return of blighted and abandoned and functionally obsolete properties to productive use.
"We looked at the redevelopment authority for blighted properties for a couple of reasons," Campbell explained. "There is some additional funding sources available through the authority to help with blighted properties and there is recent legislation that allows the authority to act as a land bank."
A land bank is an entity created by the government or a nonprofit group to help manage and dispose of vacant properties, vacant land, or tax-delinquent properties so the vacant lots or abandoned property can be redeveloped for a better, more productive use.
Campbell said redevelopment authorities across the state work with townships and municipalities for their projects.
The authority could assist in many ways including the application for funding.
Campbell said the redevelopment authority was originally activated in 1961 and was dormant for quite some time.
"The Clarion County commissioners re-established the redevelopment authority in June 2021," Campbell said. "We are planning for a county-wide blight study. We want to look throughout the county and make a list of properties and blighted areas. We hope that will pinpoint where we need to have our focus."
Campbell explained the authority is working with the commissioners on establishing land bank powers.
"That way we don't have to go through the process of forming a land bank," said Campbell.
She said the land bank powers would allow the authority to remove properties from the judicial sale list.
"Then we can put the properties back out for sale to the public," she said. "We don't want to own properties. We want to get the properties back on the tax rolls."
The housing authority is independent ofClarionCounty government.