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Community & Economic Development

Community & Economic Development


The Community and Economic Development Office (“CEDO”) is a self-sufficient department, and acts as the grants administration arm of the City of Lebanon.  The CEDO identifies grant programs that could provide sources of support for a variety of community and economic development initiatives and aggressively pursues these funds. The administrator is responsible for administering these grants, taking care to allocate funds to activities that best address important community and economic development needs and ensuring compliance with their regulations. The CEDO will serve all citizens striving to make Lebanon a better place.  The CEDO encourages citizen participation in our program and works closely with other governmental agencies and private nonprofit organizations to ensure effective collaboration and collective problem-solving.


American Rescue Plan Act:

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is a $1.9 trillion federal aid package passed by Congress in March 2021 to provide financial aid to families, governments, businesses, schools, non-profits and others impacted by the pandemic.  Of that $1.9 trillion, $350 billion is going to state and local governments as part of the Fiscal Recovery Fund.

ARPA provides a substantial infusion of resources to eligible state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to help reverse the negative impacts of the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong recovery.  ARPA funding builds a bridge toward economic improvement and provides vital support to communities in crisis.

In May 2022, the City of Lebanon awarded $1 million in ARPA grants to non-profits to assist in programs that respond to the public health emergency or its negative impact on the community.   Please click here to review the list of awarded non-profits.

On August 31, 2022, the City of Lebanon held a public meeting regarding three additional ARPA-funded city projects.  Those projects include the Cumberland Streetscape, Liberty Trail Park, and Storm Sewer Improvements.   To review the information presented at the meeting, please click here.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG):

The City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania is designated as an urban area and therefore is an entitlement community under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The City of Lebanon receives an annual appropriation of CDBG funds.  In order to participate in the CDBG Program, the City of Lebanon contractually agrees to implement the local CDBG Program in accordance with the Housing and Community Development Act (HCD) of 1974, as amended, and the CDBG Program Regulations found in 24 CFR Part 570.  In addition, all CDBG funds are subject to the regulations found in OMB Circulars A-110 and A-122, as well as, various other Federal Acts.   Please click on the links below to view the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan, 2022 Annual Action Plan and the 2021 CAPER.  

The City also funds the Owner Occupied Emergency Rehabilitation Program through CDBG. The objective of this program is to provided assistance to eligible owner-occupied single-family dwellings that are in need of emergency home repairs to correct substandard conditions and code violations that are immediate health and safety hazards. The Emergency Rehabilitation Program is designed to address only those items that meet the objective of the program and is not intended to be a general home rehabilitation program.

HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME):  

The City of Lebanon received a grant from DCED to fund the Homeowner Rehabilitation Program (HRP).   The HRP assists low- and moderate-income homeowners to repair and improve home health and safety (roof, plumbing, electrical, heating and more.  Eligible families must reside in the City of Lebanon and meet HUD income eligibility requirements.   For more information, contact Jody Chernich with the Lebanon County Redevelopment Authority at 717-274-1491, Ext. 134.

Why pay high rent costs when you could pay that or less to own a home?  The Lebanon County Redevelopment Authority can provide generous financial assistance to income eligible buyers to take the important step to homeownership.  You'll need a little money of your own, reasonable good credit and steady income to qualify for BIG benefits.   Contact the Lebanon County Redevelopment Authority for more information about the FTHB Program and their other housing programs like the Housing Access Program and Senior Home Modification Program.  Visit LebanonCountyhousing.com or call 717-274-1401.

Fair Housing:

The Community and Economic Development Office is affirmatively furthering fair housing.  Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability.  If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a Fair Housing Complaint.  Visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website for instructions on how to file a complaint.  For additional information on the Fair Housing Law, click here.  The City of Lebanon through the Community Development Office completed the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice in 2011. A copy of the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice is available for public review in the Office of Community and Economic Development.

Economic Development Incentive Programs:

The City of Lebanon utilizes the Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) and Local Economic Revitalization Tax Abatement (LERTA) incentives to encourage improvements, rehabilitation and new construction in certain designated areas in the City of Lebanon.

Local Economic Revitalization Tax Abatement:

The Local Economic Revitalization Tax Abatement (LERTA) was created in the City of Lebanon to improve the economic and business climate of certain residential and commercial districts by lessening the tax burden on new development.   Whatever amount is being paid on taxes before a LERTA – whether it is taxes paid on vacant land or on an existing building – that tax bill would remain the same.  The program provides phased out exemptions from all three taxing entities:  city school district, city, and county.   The exemption is 100 percent in years 1-3; and 50 percent years 4-5.   The program applies to commercial and retail-related new construction and rehabilitation projects on properties located on both sides of Cumberland Street, north to the city line.

Keystone Opportunity Zones:

Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ) are geographic areas that can provide specific state and local tax benefits.   The goal of the KOZ program is to revive economically distressed urban and rural communities with one of the most powerful market-based incentives - reducing and/or eliminating taxes.   Businesses that locate in designated KOZ parcels are eligible to have the tax burden reduced through exemptions, deductions, abatements and credits.   For a complete list and more information, please click here.    

There is currently one Keystone Opportunity Zone site in the City, as follows:

Schneider Drive - Lots 2 and 8  

This lot is located on the south side of Schneider Drive near the Lebanon Transit Park and Ride facility.   It is slightly over two acres and on a site where Bethlehem Steel once was located.   The lot has since been cleared and is vacant.   It is in close proximity to Route 72 and Route 422.

Economic Development Strategic Plan: Grow Lebanon 2020 Economic Plan

The Grow Lebanon 2020 Plan is a product of considerable research and stakeholder engagement. The process began in the fall of 2014 with a “kick off” meeting and site visit. The Fourth Economy Team joined with City officials and staff to tour the City’s neighborhoods, parks, development areas and central business district. Previous planning documents and other background literature were assembled and reviewed by the consulting team.

Several focus group meetings took place with industry representatives, developers, education officials and economic development organizations. A community survey was also administered, allowing for broader feedback from the residency-at-large while numerous phone interviews rounded out the data collection process.

Fourth Economy and Civitas Consultants prepared summary finding memos at regular intervals throughout the process along with formal statistical reports that included an economic structure analysis and business improvement district strategy report. Portions of the economic structure analysis are summarized in the following sections and the full business improvement district report is provided as an addendum.

Together these activities resulted in a solid understanding of the challenges, market conditions, opportunities and priorities that shaped the formation of the Grow Lebanon 2020 Plan.

Mayor Capello and the Grow Lebanon Revitalization Committee continually strive to accomplish the priorities and action items established in the plan.