Financially distressed cities have pressing problems, like how to balance the budget. But then there are also issues like building renewal and long-term growth.
"All of the buildings down here, they all have a really neat look to the outside of them," said Altoona Mayor Matt Pacifico. "But they just need so much work done to them."
It's a common sentiment in Pennsylvania towns that have seen better days. The potential is there, but fixing up the buildings would take some pretty deep pockets.
And that's not the only challenge. You also have to ask—in a financially distressed town, is there even a market for a rehabbed building?
Read the full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.