Program Element: Keystone Communities

The following was taken from the Governor's Executive Budget 2012 - 2013, Community and Economic Development, Program PA Communities

The Keystone communities KC program is designed to encourage the creating of partnerships between the public (governmental) and private (non-governmental) sectors in the communities to jointly support local initiatives such as the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities; social and economic diversity and a strong and secure quality of life. The KC program incorporates three discontinued appropriations: Housing and Redevelopment Assistance, the Pennsylvania Accessible Housing program and the New Communities Appropriation, which was comprised of three programs – Main Street, Elm Street and Enterprise Zone – under one appropriation, Keystone Communities.

The Keystone communities program's new approach offers four designation types and four grant types that can for the most part be independently awarded. An applicant for a planning or development grant or accessible housing funding does not have to first seek or ultimately be seeking designation status. Any community may apply and receive designation or grant funding in whatever order the community deems appropriate depending upon its local needs and circumstances. With only two exceptions (Implementation Grants and Enterprise Zone revolving Loan Fund Grants) designation is not a prerequisite to apply for or to receive Keystone communities funding.

DCED is increasing the flexibility of benefits and financial resources in order to meet a variety of needs experienced by local communities. Designation does offer some benefits that may assist the community in non-financial ways, such as providing a road map and a process to guide a community's revitalization efforts. However as noted above , Keystone communities does not force a community to secure a designation just to access the funding opportunities offered through the KC program DCED will provide whether designation , grant funding or both as warranted to help communities achieve their local goals and address specific local revitalization needs.

DCED strongly encourages community-based organizations, public agencies, business leaders, private developers, financial institutions and private citizens to work in partnership with local governments to develop a comprehensive approach to address community development and housing needs. These partnerships can and will create more attractive places to live, and will encourage business and job expansion and retention in Pennsylvania.

The department works directly with the community and will tailor assistance to meet the real needs of that community's revitalization effort, accounting for the community's ability to implement the proposed the proposed programs. DCED will strive to make more applications competitive, to ensure that the best “asset based” projects rise to the top and focus greater resources on those communities most likely to show the greatest return on investment of state funds.