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Tamaqua receives over $600K through CRIZ program

Due to its participation as a pilot in the Community Revitalization and Improvement Zone program, Tamaqua will receive $608,561 for the 2020 reporting year.

Those funds may now be reinvested into qualified projects within Tamaqua CRIZ locations.

“I have to thank all of those who file their annual CRIZ reports. Without their participation, we would not see this money returning to our town,” said Ann Marie Calabrese, Tamaqua borough’s Director of Community Development.

Calabrese said the 2020 reported number is an increase from the previous year.

“This shows the resilience of our businesses, even during one of the most difficult years. I am excited to watch that money turn visions into reality,” Calabrese added.

What is CRIZ?

The CRIZ Program was established in 2013 and encourages growth in areas that have been underutilized. There are only two cities in the state that are included in the program; Lancaster and Bethlehem. Tamaqua is the only borough in Pennsylvania that is a part of the pilot program, which is overseen by the Department of Revenue, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor’s Budget Office.

A business within a CRIZ zone can apply for funding, which can be used for specific projects.

Interested Tamaqua business owners should contact Calabrese for initial information and to determine if their property of interest is a CRIZ parcel.

A prospective CRIZ business owner should attend a CRIZ meeting at Tamaqua Borough Hall. Meetings are open to the public during the first and third Monday of each month at 6 p.m.

Lastly, the business owner must create a letter of intent to describe the project in detail for initial approval by the CRIZ Authority.

“If approved by the CRIZ Authority, this is when the application fee is paid,” Calabrese said.

“CRIZ funds can only be used as a repayment of a debt service, so the next steps will include your financial and business plan, which we can offer resources for you to explore.”

Seeing what CRIZ does

Residents of Tamaqua have likely noticed the new look and expansion of the Boyer’s Food Market in town.

Part of that large project was made possible through CRIZ.

“With the help of CRIZ funding, our two partnerships were able to relocate and expand the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits store in downtown Tamaqua, provide a first-class beer distributor and expand the Boyer’s Food Markets footprint,” said John Boyer, HJJT Family Limited Partnership, Tamaqua site.

“Working with the CRIZ Authority and the Borough of Tamaqua provided a real win for all involved,” Boyer added.

WHEEL, a newer downtown Tamaqua business, has already established itself well within the community - with a little help from CRIZ as a springboard.

“The CRIZ program helped to facilitate our business’ expansion to the borough of Tamaqua,” said Savas Logothetides, WHEEL owner.

“Even though we opened during a health crisis, financial support garnered from the program allowed us to continue to operate and maintain our employees throughout. I would urge any business owner to research the CRIZ program available in the borough.”

For more information about CRIZ, call 570-668-0300.

John Boyer of HJJT stands in front of Boyer's Food Market and its new look in Tamaqua. JUSTIN CARLUCCI/TIMES NEWS