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Authority is able to market Jeannette properties

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Rob Fejes and Bill Hoffman listen to a report at a Jeannette Redevelopment Authority meeting. PHOTOS:Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Jeff Means, Chuck Highlands and Pamela Neiderhiser take notes on the treasurer’s report at an authority meeting.
Jeff Means, Chuck Highlands, Pamela Neiderhiser, Rob Fejes and Bill Hoffman conduct business at a Jeannette Redevelopment Authority meeting.

Redevelopment authorities generally do work that falls into one of three categories.

The authority may redevelop properties such as brownfields for new industrial usage or for mixed usage, work to provide denser housing in high population areas, or redevelop properties that are outdated or have outlived their usefulness.

According to an informational flyer about the Jeannette Redevelopment Authority, “The Jeannette Redevelopment Authority was established by the City of Jeannette to redevelop and rehabilitate blighted areas and to prevent property deterioration in other areas.

“The JRA derives its powers and duties from the Pennsylvania Urban Redevelopment Law to act as permitted by the other statues of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and those statutes as amended from time to time. Members are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Jeannette.”

The Jeannette Redevelopment Authority concentrates most of its work on the central downtown area which is bordered by Magee and Clay avenues to the north, Penn Avenue to the west, Old Hill Road, Chestnut and Division streets to the south and Lewis Avenue to the east.

The Redevelopment Authority has title to properties on Division Street and Magee and Chambers avenues.

The advantage to retaining a redevelopment authority in a community is that city government can give property titles to the authority, which can then list those properties for sale along with restrictions and caveats in regard to the sale.

The city itself cannot sell property in the same manner that a private entity can and the city would have to enter into a bidding process and ultimately council would have no input into how the property would be used or developed once it would be sold.

After property is sold by a redevelopment authority, the majority of the money made on the sale is returned to city government, with the redevelopment authority being able to keep a portion for operating expenses.

This process can make money for a city and saves tax money by getting properties back on the tax roles at a profit.

The mission of the Jeannette Redevelopment Authority is, “to enhance the quality of life and the social and economic development of Jeannette by eliminating blight and dangerous conditions through strategically acquiring and selling real estate, judiciously utilizing eminent domain and other revitalization and economic development tools in collaboration with resident and other stakeholders to make the City of Jeannette a community of investment.”

The Jeannette Redevelopment Authority does have the right to condemn properties as dangerous or blighted and then acquire them for sale.

“More new construction makes the city look good,” said city Councilman Bill Bedont.

“I've been in business in this town for 38 years, and have lived here for 62 years,” said Bill Hoffman, authority treasurer.

“I have seen Jeannette go a long way and if something doesn't happen, we won't see another 30 years and my kids won't have a business to take over. I like the town and the community and hopefully I can do some good.”

Members of the Jeannette Redevelopment Authority are all residents or business owners within the City of Jeannette. The authority includes Chairperson Pamela Neiderhiser, Chuck Highlands, co-chair, Jeffrey Means, secretary, Hoffman, and Rob Fejes member-at-large.

The authority meets the first Monday of each month at Jeannette City Hall at 6 p.m.

Margie Stanislaw is a freelance writer.