Downtown Carlisle Businesses Welcome Urban Redevelopment Initiative

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cumberland County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cumberland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When new development projects surface, the logical question for surrounding business owners is: How will this affect my business?

Downtown Carlisle business owners are optimistic when asked the same question about the borough’s highly anticipated urban redevelopment plan.

If the right balance of businesses and residences land on the three large abandoned industrial sites targeted for redevelopment in the borough’s northwest quadrant, there should be more than enough room for existing and new businesses not only to coexist, but to mutually benefit each other, Carlisle proprietors said.

“I’m on the fence. I’d love to have that [part of Carlisle] built up, because Carlisle has no more room for building extra tax revenue [downtown],” said John Bogonis, who owns the Carlisle Bakery at 35 S. Hanover St. with his wife Nadeen. “I want to see how they plan on getting people from [the development site] to here.”

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Duncannon, PA Designated An Appalachian Trail Community

English: Vector map of the Appalachian Trail. ...

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The borough of Duncannon, Pa. located in Perry County, lies on the Appalachian Trail and at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers.  This tiny town of 1,522 people, 15 miles north of Harrisburg, is making the most of having the Appalachian Trail running down its main street.  Taking advantage of natural surrounding is a tool for economic development.  Nature-based Tourism also known as Ecotourism is a great way for a town like Duncannon to revitalize itself.

A dedicated group of residents has made Duncannon a Trail Town destination for hikers, paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts by hosting events during the year to promote the borough’s natural surroundings.

The next big event Duncannon is gearing up for is Saving Our Community From Natural Deficit Disorder.  The town festival will be held on June 2, 2012.  Duncannon’s Appalachian Trail Community Advisory Committee, comprised of local officials, Trail Angels, Trail to Every Classroom teachers, business owners, and representatives of non-profit organizations and Trail clubs are working together to make this event happen.  Duncannon is being designated as an Appalachian Trail Community, which will only enhance Duncannon’s ability to promote itself as a destination.

To learn more about Duncannon and the Appalachian Trail, click here:

Dauphin County Officials Unveil $5.4M Solar Farm

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Nearly three years after the project was conceived, Dauphin County commissioners today ceremoniously flipped the switch on a 1-megawatt solar farm in Middle Paxton Township.

The $5.4 million project, installed by Media-based InfraSource Services Inc., consists of 4,340 solar panels that will produce about 1.4 million kilowatts of electricity per year…

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Harrisburg’s Market Street Corridor Redevelopment Under Way?

…For a section of Market Street between Harrisburg‘s central business district and Cameron Street, idle could soon turn to active for an area littered with vacant properties.

This month brought the first stirring in the rebirth of the corridor lined with several old commercial and industrial buildings, including the former news and business offices of The Patriot-News Co. and the U.S. Postal Service’s soon-to-be vacated Keystone branch, both in the 800 block. An affiliate of Blue Bell-based developer Equilibrium Equities Inc. announced plans to redevelop the post office‘s 11-acre site…

To read the entire article from the Central Penn Business Journal, click here:

Harrisburg’s West Shore Communities Focusing On Curb Appeal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cumberland County

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Several suburban Harrisburg communities, across the river in Cumberland County, are trying to make their downtown’s more attractive to shoppers, motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists by completing major streetscape projects in their downtowns.

Lemoyne is trying to become a destination rather than a “drive-through” community by making their downtown attractive and welcoming to shoppers.  Phase Two of their streetscape improvements will start in the fall of 2012. The new project will extend existing improvements made in Phase One and focus on safety and appearance.

Wormleysburg has a plan in place, but it is on hold due to the economy.

Camp Hill also approved a plan but placed it on hold due to a sewer project priority.

West Fairview, in East Pennsboro Township, will have their streetscape project begin in mid-August.

New Cumberland is seeking a block grant to extend their existing streetscape improvements.

Dillsburg completed a streetscape project last fall,

Carlisle recently added bike lanes and trails.

Mechanicsburg used a grant to make sidewalk and crosswalk improvements near several schools.

New Kingston, in Silver Spring Township, is also working on a streetscape plan.

Harrisburg’s Allision Hill Neighborhood Getting Community Art Garden

On the corner of Mulberry and Crescent Streets in Allison Hill is a vacant lot where two blighted homes were demolished by the city.  Community group Danzante, an Allison Hill based community art music and dance center is adopting this vacant lot from the city for $1.00 through Harrisburg’s Adopt-A-Block program.

Volunteers from well beyond the Harrisburg area are coming to Allison Hill and helping reclaim this vacant land to beautify it and give hope to Allison Hill residents.  Mosaic art will decorate the path leading to the “Treasure Garden”.

Danzante has been a part of Allison Hill since 1978.  The 501(c)3 organization is looking for volunteers to help with the project or people to make donations toward the completion of this project.  The Danzante Community Center is on the opposite corner from the Art Garden.  The group hopes to create a beautiful and safe community gathering place.

To learn more about Danzante, check out their website here:

To volunteer or make a contribution of materials or money, call (717) 232-2615


Two Key Midtown Harrisburg Redevelopment Projects Receive State Funding

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

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Two crucial projects were approved that will help continue the transformation of Midtown Harrisburg into an arts/cultural/entertainment district.  The Susquehanna Art Museum was approved for a $5 million grant to transform a vacant bank building into a state of the art museum for Pennsylvania’s capital city.  The arts bring revitalization and economic development!

The second project, approved a day later, is one of my most favorite kinds of adaptive reuse scenarios.  Take an old and empty commercial building, add commercial space on the first floor and transform the top floors into apartments or townhouses.  The Furlow Building will have the top five floors repurposed into 20-24 one-bedroom apartments for professionals.  This building is in a KOZ and renters will be eligible for tax abatement.  The bottom floor will be used for commercial tenants.  The project developer received a $2.5 million matching grant from the state to make this happen.

These two projects represent an investment (by the state) of $7.5 million into Midtown Harrisburg.  A new Federal Courthouse is slated to be built in Midtown and will represent a significant monetary investment.  It will also serve as a vehicle to draw more professional people (with discretionary income) into Midtown. 

Midtown is Harrisburg’s arts destination, the site of the 3rd in the Burg monthly event along with galleries and restaurants. Harrisburg Area Community College also has a Midtown campus.