Berks lawmakers announce grants for redevelopment in Reading

READING, May 26 – State Reps. Mark Rozzi and Manny Guzman announced today a state investment in affordable housing in Reading.

According to the lawmakers, $200,000 in state Redevelopment Authority grant funding to help rehabilitate and sell properties will help address a shortage of affordable housing in Reading.

"Rehabilitating Reading neighborhoods' is a priority," Reading Mayor Eddie Moran said. "We are equally committed to bringing economic development as to invest in our surroundings. With these funds, we can now invest comprehensively and adequately in communities that urgently need improvements. Public investment and partnerships are essential to continue making our city more livable, walkable, sustainable and affordable."

$75,000 in Blight Remediation Program funds were awarded in the City of Reading's South of Penn area. The county will oversee rehabilitation on three properties they currently own. Once the three property renovations are completed, these affordable homes can be sold.

The total project cost is $575,000 with Reading HOME Program providing $150,000, Wyomissing Foundation providing $100,000 and Customers Bank Loan providing $250,000 of matching funds.

“Our focus is investment into people who want to live and work in Reading,” Guzman, D-Berks, said. “Housing insecurity and blight have been a concern for some time throughout many areas and they have only become more important in the wake of the pandemic. This development is how we fix things.”

Another Blight Remediation Program grant for $125,000 was awarded for the Buttonwood Gateway West Improvements project in Reading.

The project involves street improvements made to the roadway, curbs, ADA ramps, pavement markings and the replacement of storm water inlets along the 400 block of Miltimore Street. This road and sidewalk area has been designated by the city as a blighted area. Funds will be used for construction, engineering and infrastructure costs. The total project cost is $300,000 and was approved for state funding with other matching funds.

“I was proud to work behind the scenes to bring home this grant for the city of Reading to help provide some much-needed updates, improving traffic flow, stormwater management and pedestrian safety throughout the Buttonwood Gateway,” Rozzi, D-Berks, said.