Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

April News Digest

Free Downtown Parking Weighed

Free parking may stay on the menu in downtown Harrisburg, as City Council last month considered a measure that would extend complimentary street parking for another year.

The resolution would offer free street parking in most of downtown after 5 p.m., an arrangement that has been in effect since April 2018.

The current, one-year agreement actually expired on April 1, but the parties involved agreed to extend it through the month, until it could be renewed for another year, said Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

Technically, the resolution would allow the city to enter into an agreement with Dauphin County and the Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District (HDID) to split the $270,000 price tag. The city’s share would be $110,000, with Dauphin County, which has already approved the agreement, also kicking in $110,000. HDID would cover the remaining $50,000.

That money would be paid to Trimont Real Estate Advisors, the asset manager for the parking system. Trimont, along with operator SP+ (locally, Park Harrisburg), took control of the city’s municipal parking system as part of a debt-restructuring plan in 2014. The $270,000 sum represents the total revenue that SP+ had collected from meters and enforcement fines between 5 and 7 p.m. in the HDID zone, which ranges roughly from State Street to just past Chestnut Street.

Papenfuse said that the city has already accounted for the expected expense as part of its 2019 budget, with the money originating from its share of parking revenues.

HDID’s Executive Director Todd Vander Woude said that he enthusiastically backed another year of free evening street parking. HDID members, many of whom are restaurant owners, have reported increased happy hour and dinner business over the last year since the free parking went into effect, he said.

“I’ve heard very positive things from businesses and customers alike,” he said. “There’s been an increase in downtown business. It’s all been very positive.”

The resolution also requests a city contribution to continue another parking program—the four hours of free street parking on Saturdays enabled by using the code “LUV HBG” for users of the ParkMobile app.

That code went into effect more than four years ago to try to help businesses that said they were being harmed by the $3-per-hour charge for Saturday street parking, which had been free when the city ran the parking system.

Trimont had never requested payment before for revenue allegedly lost through use of the app. However, according to the resolution, it now is requesting $90,000 for the next year.

At press time, council had yet to vote on the “Free After 5” resolution and take into consideration the LUV HBG payment request.


Lobbyist Contract Renewed

Harrisburg City Council last month approved a contract with Maverick Strategies for a second, one-year consulting contract.

After a two-month hold, council passed the $60,000 outlay by a 5-2 vote. In February, council tabled the proposed 2019 agreement with the Harrisburg-based lobbying shop, asking for detailed billing statements for the city’s prior contract, which ended Dec. 31.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse has credited Maverick for helping the city marshal legislation through the state legislature that will enable it to exit Act 47 while retaining its current, elevated levels of taxation for five more years.

The city, he has said, continues to need professional representation before the state legislature, including for renewing the annual $5 million appropriation to the city to support the provision of emergency services to the Capitol complex.


New Director for Broad Street Market

Joshua Heilman last month was named the new executive director of the historic Broad Street Market in Harrisburg.

Heilman, of Harrisburg, bested more than 80 other applicants, according to Amy Hill, president of the nonprofit’s board of directors.

Hielman replaces Beth Taylor, who left the position in December to become general manager of the Millworks restaurant and brewery.

In addition to overseeing market operations on a day-to-day basis, Heilman will help launch a new community program, Friends of the Broad Street Market, and also will be encouraged to identify funding opportunities through grants, Hill said.

“We needed someone who could help us launch our community engagement mission,” she said. “It was a tough decision. There were many, many qualified candidates.”


Brown Appointed to School Board

Joseph Brown Sr. has been appointed to a vacant seat on the Harrisburg school board.

Dauphin County Judge Scott A. Evans selected Brown, a former board member, even though he did not petition for the seat.

The seat became empty following the December death of Melvin Wilson. Subsequently, the city school board could not decide on a replacement, which threw the decision to the court.

Four candidates informed the court of their interest in the seat. Evans, however, selected none of them, opting instead for Brown, who served on the board during the 1990s.


HU Selects Hotel Partner

Harrisburg University last month announced that it had selected a city-based company as its hotel partner for the 17-story mixed-use building it plans to construct in downtown Harrisburg.

HHM, also known as Hersha, has its headquarters on Front Street in Harrisburg. It will operate the 197-room hotel attached to HU’s academic tower at S. 3rd and Chestnut streets.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” said HU President Eric Darr. “Obviously, they’re committed to the region and to the city of Harrisburg. They’ve been long-time supporters of the university.”

HU plans to break ground in July on the $135-million project, which will include a restaurant in addition to the hotel and academic portions. The educational space will house as many as 1,000 students and a health science education center for nursing, pharmaceutical sciences and other health-related programs. It also will have classrooms and training space for advanced manufacturing and interactive media programs.

The 386,200-square-foot building is expected to take two years to complete, opening in time for the 2021-22 academic year. The hotel is expected to open at the same time as HU’s academic portion, Darr said.

The hotel will front Chestnut Street, and the hotel and academic portions of the building will be separated by an atrium in the first 10 stories of the building, according to HU.

The three portions of the building will be owned and financed separately, Darr said. The university will own and finance the academic portion, estimated at $100 million. HHM will own the hotel, projected to cost $33.5 million. The restaurant, expected to cost about $1.5 million, also will be owned separately, he said.

HHM operates about 125 hotels across the United States under a variety of hotel brands, including Westin, Hilton and Hyatt.

“This is a natural partnership for us,” said Naveen P. Kakarla, CEO of HHM. “We are honored to lend our expertise to this exciting project in the city where our company began.”


Apartments for Tracy Mansion

It’s been a long time coming, but a developer is set to complete renovations to the century-old Tracy Mansion.

Last month, developer Jack Kay received approval from the Harrisburg Architectural Review Board for several changes to the exterior of the property at 1829 N. Front St., including a new ADA-compliant ramp, outside steps, a landing and a covered canopy at the southern elevation of the building.

This will allow Kay’s company, York-based Susquehanna Real Estate, to begin converting the unused portions of the property to 13 market-rate apartments.

Industrialist David Tracy built the 30-room mansion as a private residence in 1918. In 1951, it became an osteopathic hospital and eventually a mental health facility.

Kay bought the property in 2005 with plans to convert it to an office condominium, adding a new, seven-story building in the parking lot next door. He received zoning board approval two years later, but the project died after the recession hit in 2008.

In 2012, Kay sold part of the building to Char Magaro, who opened the restaurant, Char’s Tracy Mansion, there. The restaurant, owned separately, is not part of the apartment project.

Kay expects construction to take up much of this year, with an anticipated opening in the fall.

Five two-bedroom and eight one-bedroom units are planned for about 12,000 square feet of space in the building. They will range in size from 750 to 1,200 square feet, and rents are expected to be about $900 to $1,500 a month.

“We are trying to create interesting spaces in the interior with all the modern conveniences,” Kay said.

Kay said that he undertook the project, estimated at about $2 million, due to the revival of both the city and the neighborhood.

“Over a period of time, we came to realize the interest in living in town, especially in a nice location, and that encouraged us,” he said. “With Midtown improving, we felt it was the right time to do this.”


Big Donation for HACC

The HACC Foundation last month announced the largest single donation in its history, a gift of nearly $1.3 million to establish the John E. Paxton and Gloria W. Paxton Fund for Excellence in STEAM.

This fund will provide access to programming and technology for HACC students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) programs.

“They could have given to any nonprofit, and they gave to us,” said Linnie Carter, executive director of the HACC Foundation. “That’s tremendous.”

The Paxtons lived in the Harrisburg area for much of their lives. John, a land survey engineer, was active in the Lawnton and Chambers Hill fire companies. He died in 2007.

Gloria was a member of the Humane Society of Harrisburg and the National Wildlife Federation. Her estate bequeathed the money to HACC following her death in 2017.

“The genesis of this gift is generosity,” said Mark Mateya, the Paxton family attorney. “The Paxtons had no children, but they were very involved in their community and were very good at saving money.”

According to HACC, the Paxton’s gift will provide for several STEAM programs and initiatives, including a mentoring program for underrepresented and marginalized first-time college students, a scholarship program, a fund to pay for textbooks, and the implementation of video classrooms.


So Noted

Capital Region Water last month said that it has started five water infrastructure projects that will extend through the early summer. The projects—four in Susquehanna Township and one in Harrisburg—may lead to road closures and detours until they’re completed.

HACC last month announced a tuition increase and pay freezes as it passed its 2019-20 budget. Under the $140 million spending plan, students from non-sponsoring districts will pay an average of 2.1 percent more in tuition, and salaries will be frozen for employees earning more than $40,000 per year.

Janetta W. Green was appointed last month as the acting chief executive officer for the Center for Independent Living of Central PA, a nonprofit organization with a mission to eliminate and prevent barriers that people with disabilities experience. Green, who has more than 34 years of experience working in the independent living movement, fills the position left vacant by long-time CEO Theo Braddy’s retirement.

Jessica Knapp has been appointed the new executive director for the central Pennsylvania affiliate of Communities in Schools of Pennsylvania. In this position, Knapp will oversee the long-term strategy and direction for the central PA affiliate, as well as development, partnerships and communications efforts.

New Cumberland Farmers Market opens for the season on May 4. The market, which takes place at 4th and Bridge streets in the parking lot of Kelly Financial Services, will operate every Saturday through Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

TheBurg captured 16 Keystone Press Awards in the annual contest honoring the best in journalism in Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. TheBurg won for work completed in 2018 in a wide range of categories, including for reporting, writing, design and illustration.

Theo Braddy retired last month after 30 years as CEO of the Center for Independent Living of Central PA, a nonprofit that works to eliminate barriers for people with disabilities. He will continue his involvement as a consultant.

UPMC Pinnacle took its first step into Midtown Harrisburg last month, relocating about 40 administrative workers to the Campus Square building at Reily and N. 3rd streets. The relocation will free up more space at the main campus for patient services, according to President and CEO Phil Guarneschelli.

Urban Churn last month opened its first brick-and-mortar scoop shop at 1004 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg, selling ice cream and related treats The small-batch, craft producer plans to continue operating its stand inside the Broad Street Market, said owner Adam Brackbill.

Virginia “Ginny” Roth, president of PPO&S, a Harrisburg-based integrated marketing communications agency, has received the YWCA Greater Harrisburg’s Carolyne L. Smith Legacy Award for community service. Roth was recognized for her lifelong dedication to a variety of community causes focusing on women’s empowerment, community health and social justice.

Wakeen Enterprise has relocated into Harrisburg from Mechanicsburg, with its new office located at 2001 N. Front St., Suite 300. According to Wakeen, the larger, 5,000-square-foot space gives the marketing/communications/media company the ability to host workshops, better support clients and serve as a hub for its nonprofit entity, Connection Mission. For more information, visit



Changing Hands

Barkley Lane, 2521: Truemac Homes LLC to C. & S. Posey, $90,000

Benton St., 541: F. Brown to B. Guerrero, $62,370

Boas St., 420: PA Deals LLC to K. & D. Borelli, $116,000

Chestnut St., 308: F. & L. DiNatale to Harrisburg Realty Improvements Corp., $132,000

Conoy St., 114: J. Harmon to W. McMartin, $101,000

Cumberland St., 264: C Peiffer to Z. Rance Bare, $128,000

Derry St., 2223: N. Nguyen & D. Dang to J. Bach, $125,000

Division St., 505: PA Community Investors LLC to J Elias Holdings LLC, $35,000

Dunkle St., 555: Members 1st Federal Credit Union to J. Hayes, $61,800

Grand St., 912: D. & M. MacIntyre to M. Briner, $75,000

Green St., 2011: E. & S. Orndorff to D. & J. Zeile, $229,500

Green St., 3118: Hawk Vesta LLC to D. & M. Edmiston, $110,000

Greenwood St., 2516: R9 Holdings to KMM Development LLC, $44,000

Harris St., 443: E. Washington to Green Book Enterprises LLC, $115,000

Kelker St., 644: Dobson Family Partnership to EB Real Estate Holdings LLC, $53,000

Logan St., 1731: C. Auletta to L. Fernandez, $142,000

Manada St., 1946: E Street Properties to DHS Team LLC, $42,900

Market St., 2200 & 2300: Diocese of Harrisburg to William Penn Holdings Inc., $300,000

North St., 1930: Brey Ltd. LLC to Y. Abraham, $30,000

N. 2nd St., 610: C. Delozier to Wyco Investments LLC, $175,000

N. 2nd St., 1120: 2013 Central PA Real Estate Fund LLC to N. Hurley, $139,900

N. 2nd St., 1929: G. & W. Banova to E. & A. Anderson, $148,000

N. 3rd St., 1324: J. & M. Fornwald to E. Papenfuse & C. Lawrence, $30,000

N. 3rd St., 1638: S. King & S. Williams to J. Frank & K. Mercado, $90,000

N. 3rd St., 1814: W. & D. Balsbaugh to K. Lally, $77,900

N. 3rd St., 2104 & 2106: J. Hwang & H. Chen to J. & D. Negron, $50,000

N. 3rd St., 2206: S. & S. Peart to Grentals LLC, $138,000

N. 3rd St., 3001: HBG Investments LLC to A. Sauer, $38,000

N. 4th St., 2452: Lifeline F1 LLC to PropertyNet LLC, $53,000

N. 4th St., 3117: S. Snyder to P. Hiciano, $106,500

N. 6th St., 2935: J. Shearer to M. Thebes, $107,500

N. 18th St., 74: Lenape Investment Group LLC to Declan Holdings LLC, $35,500

N. 19th St., 1005: G. Neff & City Limits Realty to G. Graham, $35,000

N. Front St., 1103: L. Binda to S&A Merris LLC, $190,000

N. Front St., 1829, Units M1B, M1C, M2A, M2B, M2C, M2D, M2E, MBB, MBC & MBD: Cityscape Investors II LLC & WE Jackson to Tracy Partners LP, $300,000

Norwood St., 905: O. Messmer to F. & R. Ahmed, $40,000

Parkside Lane, 2926: L. & B. Williams to J. McKeithan, $138,000

Penn St., 1615: R. Straub to B. Waltz, $130,000

Putnam St., 1617: H. Nguyen, J. Le & K. Ly to J. & R. Morales, $109,900

Reel St., 2467: V. Rivas to G. Garcia, $70,000

Reel St., 2469: V. Rivas to M. Garcia, $70,000

Reel St., 2733: P. & D. McClenahen to J&G Estates LLC, $30,000

Regina St., 1628: R. Bryant to JOG Investments LLC, $30,000

Reily St., 306: T. Canady to Red Boat LLC, $115,000

Rolleston St., 1113: C. Pastula to R. Gerhards, $69,500

Rudy Rd., 1927: P. Malseed to T. & R. Dantzler, $83,000

Schuykill St., 227: Tassia Corp. to K. Braddock, $54,500

S. 19th St., 1141: 929 Holdings to 1141 South 19th LLC, $60,000

S. 26th St., 627 & 2611, 2613, 2615 & 2617 Duke St.: M. Tucci to T. Brooks, $106,375

State St., 1408: R. & A. Sharp to H. Cabrera, $96,000

Susquehanna St., 1618: Secretary of Housing & Urban Development and Information Systems Networks Corp. to M. Bekelja, $40,001

Sycamore St., 1506: D. Marshall to J. Elias Holdings LLC, $35,000

Sylvan Terr., 124: Reussi Group LLC to K. Zoubiri & F. Abdallahoum, $65,000

Vernon St., 1317: M. Nichols to J. Baugher, $30,500

Vineyard Rd., 212: A. Miller to E. Kawa, $160,000

Washington St., 113: J. & C. Kuntz to W. & M. Hammerstein, $111,900

Whitehall St., 2025: Roberta L. Daniels Trust to Wells Fargo Bank NA, $58,169

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