Corbett Business Aid Plan Gets Second Wind

HARRISBURG, PA – The Corbett administration hopes to promote business growth by taking advantage of low-interest bond rates and having more flexibility to move funds among different state economic development programs to meet evolving needs.

The administration wants to create a Liberty Financing Authority to oversee this initiative. The authority idea surfaced shortly after Gov. Tom Corbett took office last January, but it was left out of state budget negotiations after lawmakers of both parties raised concerns about it.

Now the proposal is getting a second wind with more details ironed out and lawmakers more receptive to it. The shift in attitude was noticeable when Alan Walker, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, testified about the authority recently before the Senate Committee on Community, Economic and Recreational Development.

The proposal contained in a Senate bill would combine nine existing state authorities and programs under a single authority with the ability to sell bonds to investors to generate revenue and shift available funds around to meet demand by businesses for financing.

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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.

Two Harrisburg Area Companies Make Fortune 500 List

Rite Aid store in Cedar Hills area of Beaverto...

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The 2011 Fortune 500 List was released today and includes two Harrisburg area companies.  The Rite Aid drug store chain, based in East Pennsboro Township (Cumberland County) was ranked number 100.  Hershey Co., based in Derry Township (Dauphin County) was ranked number 402.  The rankings are based on total sales.

Walmart held the number one spot again this year.

Harrisburg Area Youth Help Clean Up Allison Hill Neighborhood

Harrisburg’s Allison Hill neighborhood got a facelift on Friday from hundreds of area high school students who participated in a day of caring.  Students cleaned up trash, removed graffiti, planted flowers and added mulch to help clean up blight in this neighborhood.  Yesterday was also National Youth Volunteer Day and this event coincided with that effort.

We give two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to those student volunteers who made a difference yesterday!