Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

December News Digest

Harrisburg Budget Passed

Harrisburg City Council last month approved a $65 million budget for 2017, largely reflecting the spending plan that Mayor Eric Papenfuse proposed in November.

The budget, a nearly $6 million spending increase from last year, includes $2.5 million for a new public works facility, $127,754 for police body cameras and Tasers and $90,000 to repair Reservoir Park’s band shell.

City Council voted 6-1 to approve the spending plan. Only council Vice President Shamaine Daniels voted against it.

Overall, the budget largely reflected what Papenfuse proposed during his November budget presentation.

As per capital expenditures, the Bureau of Police will receive new Tasers for every officer and the deployment of a 303 impact device on every shift. The budget also funds body cameras for every officer, as well as two new positions—a public safety information technology specialist and a crime analyst.

The new budget gives $130,000 to the Bureau of Fire to replace a straight truck and to upgrade inspector vehicles.

Other infrastructure spending was approved for projects such as traffic signal upgrades, accessibility improvements per ADA requirements and streetlights.

City Council last month also passed a tax bill, which will keep the city’s property tax rate unchanged for 2017.

Broad Street Market to Become Nonprofit

Harrisburg’s historic farmers market was given the all clear to transition to a nonprofit entity, as City Council approved a lease and management agreement last month with the soon-to-be-formed Broad Street Market Alliance.

A resolution to enter into the agreement was approved by a unanimous vote after council brought it up from the floor at the December legislative session.

After the meeting, market Manager Beth Taylor said the management agreement will allow the market to enter a new era, able to tap into grants reserved for nonprofits and raise funds more easily for upgrades and improvements.

For decades, the market, which dates back to 1861, was squeezed among various entities, run by the for-profit Broad Street Market Corp. under the auspices of Historic Harrisburg Association. In addition, the city owns the two market buildings and property and had been liable for all maintenance and repairs. That responsibility now will fall to the Broad Street Market Alliance.

Moreover, council introduced a resolution that would add more free parking for the market. Under the resolution, James Street, William Street and N. 4th Street would become two-hour market parking from Verbeke to Sayford streets.

Currently, those streets are residential permit parking for the Marketplace neighborhood, though most are lightly developed. Having been introduced, the resolution likely will be voted on by council in January.

Market Street Corridor Concepts Unveiled

PennDOT last month unveiled conceptual designs for the Market Street corridor, including a flood-controlled Paxton Creek, a beautifully redesigned and landscaped Market Street and the possible relocation of the bus transfer station to the area.

PennDOT shared the concepts with the public at the transportation center, the result of a three-month process that began with “Visioning Week” in September, when members of the public weighed in on what types of transit-oriented development they’d like to see in the rundown area just east of the station.

Angela Watson, PennDOT’s director of the Office of Multimodal Planning, explained that the concepts unveiled were of three types: for the transportation center itself, for Paxton Creek and for Market Street.

The transportation center stands first in line for improvements, with $15 million already pledged to continue a years-long renewal of the station. The next phase, which will take place later this year, will rehabilitate much of the interior, with updated design work followed shortly afterwards by the actual renovation work, she said. 

An effort to control Paxton Creek is also underway, with a study to identify ways to lessen the flood risk due for completion in April. Flood mitigation is considered critical if the area is to be revitalized.

The other concepts involved improvements along Market Street. One concept showed a redesigned and vastly improved streetscape. Other concepts illustrated the possible relocation of the city’s bus transfer station to either Harrisburg’s former central post office or, across the street, to the site of the old Patriot-News building. Funding is not yet in place for this work.

Park Harrisburg Board Meets

The board for the city’s parking system held its semi-annual meeting last month, with Standard Parking Regional Manager Jon Kemp saying his company decreased expenses by $60,000.

First, changing electricity providers from PPL Electric Utilities decreased the rate for electricity, he said. In addition, updating to energy-efficient LED lights in the four most outdated garages—River Street, Walnut Street, 5th Street and Chestnut Street—saved Park Harrisburg $33,000 from July to September, Kemp said.

John Gass, the director of parking system manager Trimont, said that Park Harrisburg will announce a rate increase in late December. He did not say what type—for street parking, garages or enforcement—or give any specifics to the increase.

In order to make bond payments, Gass said he sees the only two options as increasing revenue and decreasing expenses. He said revenues and operating expenses are on budget for 2016.

Storm Water Issues Addressed

Capital Region Water last month released a draft of its “City Beautiful H2O” plan, a long-term community greening plan to address storm water issues.

The plan envisions using green infrastructure to filter and improve storm water that flows into the area’s waterways. Currently, when even moderate rain falls, the city’s combined sewer system overflows, causing storm water to mingle with sewage, which leads to pollution and flooding caused by system backups.

Three pilot projects will kick off City Beautiful H2O.

In the draft, a rain garden, two storm water planters and porous basketball courts will be installed at the 4th and Dauphin playground near the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum. A bioswale, a type of landscape design, will remove pollution from the runoff water. Along N. 6th Street, storm water planters, rain gardens and a storm water storage trench are planned for the Camp Curtin YMCA and the adjacent block.

The third project features water bump outs, rain gardens, tree trenches and a community garden in the Summit Terrace neighborhood along N. 12th and N. 13th streets.

The plan also encourages residents to play a role by employing natural solutions to control storm water, such as planting trees, building rain gardens and installing vegetation on their roofs.

“We want the community to drive what they want to see,” said City Beautiful H2O Program Manager Claire Maulhardt. “Our vision is to be a key facilitator in helping find partnerships, link it up with potential funding and be that player in moving the pieces around to make projects happen.”

County Tax Unchanged

Dauphin County residents will see no change in their county tax rate for a 12th straight year, as the county commissioners voted last month to hold the line on property taxes for 2017.

The three-commissioner board voted unanimously to pass a $249 million county budget, which increases spending about 2.7 percent over 2016. They moved money from the reserve fund to pay for the higher spending amount.

The county’s budget adds five positions, mostly in the court system, the county’s single greatest category of expenditure. 

Homes Sales Up

The Harrisburg area experienced another strong month for home sales, as sales increased 28 percent in November.

The Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors reported last month that sales totaled 738 units compared to 575 units in November 2015. The median price jumped to $169,950 versus $158,000 in the year-ago period.

In Dauphin County, 253 homes sold versus 202 the year before, while in Cumberland County, sales totaled 243 units compared to 185 in November 2015. Median sales prices also were up in those counties.

GHAR coves all of Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties and parts of Lebanon, York and Juniata counties.

Changing Hands

Balm St., 59: Broad Street Funding Trust 1 to D. Ford, $47,500

Boas St., 408: G. Eby to T. Fuller, $80,000

Calder St., 118: River Front Development Group LLC to Lynch Financial, $135,915

Cumberland St., 257: 717 Properties LLC to CPenn Patriot Properties Midtown II LLC, $68,000

Cumberland St., 259: 717 Properties LLC to CPenn Patriot Properties Midtown II LLC, $62,700

Derry St., 1439: Greene Mosca Associates LLC to D&F Holdings, $30,000

Grand St., 926: R. Lyell to M. & D. Soisson, $74,000

Green St., 1717: D. Jackson to T. Holder, $179,000

Green St., 1530: J. MacNamara & S. Huggins, $125,000

Green St., 1622: R. & D. Miller to T. Menard, $87,000

Green St., 1826: J. & M. Desmarais to D. & J. Kalbach, $170,000

Green St., 3208: L. Welsh to G. Arrieta & K. King, $134,500

Hamilton St., 236: BFI LP to T. & R. Broms, $60,000

Holly St., 2018: P. Spong to J. Santiago, $42,000

Hummel St., 234 & 342 and 1508 Hunter St.: CJR Rentals LLC to Equity Trust Co. Custodian Terry Casey IRA, $86,000

Kelker St., 319: J. Marks to Standing Tall LLC, $69,000

Kelker St., 634: Mid Atlantic IRA LLC Paul Rawls Sr. IRA to PA Deals LLC, $40,000

Kensington Rd., 2221: Matz Investments LLC to D. Tran, $46,000

Kensington St., 2340: Redtop Property Management LLC to X. Sanchez Lopez, $43,000

Market St., 1701: H. & S. Yi & CO Suns Food Market to D&F Holdings LP, $30,000

N. 2nd St., 1317: 717 Properties LLC to CPenn Patriot Properties Midtown II LLC, $58,300

N. 2nd St., 1709: 717 Properties LLC to CPenn Patriot Properties Midtown II LLC, $61,000

N. 2nd St., 1825: MidFirst Bank to CPenn Properties Old Uptown LLC, $47,525

N. 2nd St., 2540: J. Farris to G. McGrath, $125,000

N. 3rd St., 1402: DJ Larche LLC to Karnouskos & Paliometros Partnership, $92,000

N. 3rd St., 1606: Anselmo Brothers Partnership to J. Merrill & D. Wilburne, $165,000

N. 3rd St., 2329: Bank of New York Mellon Trustee & Ditech Financial LLC to CPenn Properties Old Uptown LLC, $37,905

N. 4th St., 1720: E. Kleiss to J. Duris & J. Gray, $170,000

N. 5th St., 1621: L. Oden to C. Fuentes & E. Martinez, $69,900

N. 5th St., 2632: E. & D. Sampson to B. Landrigan, $79,900

N. 6th St., 2130: N. Matika to Willow Investment Group LLC, $46,000

N. 6th St., 3220: B. Meppurathu & E. Rosen, $68,500

N. 17th St., 1202: I. Hooper to W. Freeman III, $36,500

N. 18th St., 44 & 1164 Mulberry St.: KAB Rentals LLC to M. & I. Ripa, $92,200

N. Front St., 1201: D1 LP & Brickbox Enterprises Ltd. To Linden Terrace PA LLC, $8,500,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 210: D. Forney to N. & D. Burke, $72,000

Peffer St., 435: L. Blanton & R. Parr to K. Kessler, $80,000

Penn St., 1625: S. & P. Fraser to W. Yankey, $132,500

Penn St., 1919: WCI Partners LP to A. Brofman, $136,000

Rudy Rd., 1827: Gary Neff Inc. & City Limits Realty to S. & B. Duncan, $39,200

Rudy Rd., 1920: John Hoover Trust to R. Carter II, $54,000

Rumson Dr., 345: Secretary of Housing & Urban Development & Information Systems Networks Corp. to A. Tenorio, $60,000

Seneca St., 245: Secretary of Housing & Urban Development to CPenn Properties Old Uptown LLC, $59,500

Showers St., 583: A. & C. Stoudt to M. & V. Chambers, $92,000

S. 18th St., 169: T. Casteel to R. Irvis, $60,000

S. 18th St., 200: A. Behari to J. Valdez Ramos, $160,000

S. 18th St., 1339: J. & L. Patton Jr. to R. & C. Soto, $40,000

S. 25th St., 608: LSF9 Master Participation Trust to T. Vu & A. Tran, $36,000

S. Cameron St., 414 & 436: 44 Cameron Street Associates LP to D&F Holdings Inc., $100,000

S. Front St., 331: L. Brice to A. Wycheck, $75,000

State St., 211: Paceline Properties to H. Sreg LLC, $296,500

State St., 231, Unit 804: LUX 1 LP to C. Houck, $169,900

Susquehanna St., 2132: P. Dobson to J. & C. Sanderson & A. Pletcher, $31,000

Taylor St., 42: J. & A. McHale to D. Hodges, $103,900

Author: Lawrance Binda

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