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Date April 2018
Client City of Bethlehem
Length 52 pages

Reactivation Plan

Bethlehem Blight Betterment Initiative

Winner of the 2018 Lehigh Valley Award for Plan or Policy

Working with the Reinvestment Fund and Atria Planning, May 8 created a plan for the City of Bethlehem to reactivate its blighted properties and equitably grow their diverse neighborhood markets. Our team worked with city, county, business and non-profit leaders to create a detailed plan to enact effective solutions to vacancy, abandonment, and persistent deferred maintenance that will not displace residents.

"This study puts us on the path to ensure a more data-driven approach to mitigating blight in Bethlehem," Mayor Robert Donchez said in a news release. "The findings provide a framework to help the City target future housing, recreation and public works investments, build partnerships with community organizations on initiatives and amend policies to better combat blight."

This plan included a toolkit of legal and community tools authorized by state law that Bethlehem can adopt to create inclusive growth. Detailed recommendations include data driven, strategic code enforcement, enhanced use of conservatorship, and policies that prevent owners with code violation judgments from purchasing properties at tax sale. All 22 government, non-profit and private organizations that served on the advisory committee agreed to actively participate in the implementation of the action plan.