Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

December News Digest


Wanda Williams Elected Harrisburg Mayor

Wanda Williams will be the next mayor of Harrisburg, as the City Council president handily beat back a write-in challenge from the incumbent mayor.

Williams, the Democratic nominee, received 4,429 votes compared to 1,920 votes for “write-in candidate 1,” who is presumed to be two-term Mayor Eric Papenfuse. Republican candidate Timothy Rowbottom received 470 votes.

At an election celebration in Uptown Harrisburg, Williams promised to be a “visible leader,” implicitly contrasting her style with that of Papenfuse.

“The residents of Harrisburg finally have an authentic leader, and that’s me—who’s rooted in the community and is going to take input from the community,” she said, before a crowd of cheering supporters.

Williams and Papenfuse also competed in May in a crowded, five-candidate Democratic primary, with Papenfuse losing the nomination for a third term by just 46 votes. In September, he declared that he would run as a write-in candidate.

Williams, who has served on City Council for four terms, will take office in early January. In the meantime, she said that her first priorities are to hire staff, speak with city residents over how to best spend federal pandemic relief money and confer with City Council members.

“It feels wonderful,” Williams said, following her victory. “I want to get in there and get started.”

In the race for Harrisburg City Council, four Democrats won after running unopposed for four, four-year seats. They are council veterans Ausha Green and Shamaine Daniels and newcomers Ralph Rodriguez and Jocelyn Rawls.

For city school board, Democrats Brian Carter, Danielle Robinson, Roslyn Copeland and Jaime Johnsen all won four-year seats. Democrats Terricia Radcliff and Ellis R. “Rick” Roy won two-year seats on the board.

Running unopposed, incumbent Charlie DeBrunner will serve another term as city controller.

In Dauphin County, Republican Mary Bateman won a two-year seat for county controller, defeating Democrat Eric Epstein in a close race. For prothonotary, Republican incumbent Matt Krupp defeated Democrat Anju Singh. Running unopposed, long-time county coroner Graham Hetrick will serve another term.

In the hotly contested race for an open judgeship on the Court of Common Pleas, Republican Jeff Engle defeated Democrat La Tasha Williams.


Market Street Bridge Rehab Planned

A major Harrisburg bridge connecting the east and west shores is slated to undergo rehabilitation.

PennDOT last month began seeking community input on a project that will make improvements to the historic Market Street Bridge.

The bridge spans the Susquehanna River, connecting Harrisburg to Wormleysburg, as well as City Island in between.

PennDOT plans to rehabilitate the historic arches of the bridge. The state transportation agency will also replace the deck and sidewalks on the eastern bridge and construct a new deck and beams on the western bridge.

According to PennDOT, the purpose of the $63.8 million project is to maintain a safe and efficient way to cross the Susquehanna River between Harrisburg and the west shore. The Market Street Bridge is one of the four main river crossings in the Harrisburg area.

A project overview, displays and plans are available on PennDOT’s website for the public to view. The agency hopes to receive feedback from the community through a comment form.

There will also be an in-person open house plan display held on Dec. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kinsley Hall, 20 Market St., Wormleysburg.

PennDOT is accepting comments on the project until Dec. 22. They anticipate starting construction in 2024.

“It is an important project for commuters and pedestrians, and we strongly encourage everyone to visit the project website or join us for the open house to learn about the preliminary plans to rehabilitate the bridge and maintain safety and multimodal access over the Susquehanna,” said PennDOT Acting District Executive Chris Drda.


Pet Store Opens in Kline Plaza

Harrisburg’s four-legged residents now have a place in the city that’s stocked with items just for them.

Butler’s Pet Feed & Supplies opened last month in the Kline Plaza shopping center on S. 25th Street. The store carries dog, cat, fish and turtle food and supplies.

“We are providing for residents what they are tired of traveling out of the city to get,” said Darryl Butler, who owns the store with his wife Celia. “These are high-quality products that no other local pet store has.”

Butler has over 20 years of experience in dog breeding and training, he said. He specializes in breeding German shepherds. Opening his own pet store has been a dream for the past 10 years and, finally, his wife Celia pushed him to make it happen, he said.

Butler plans to use his experience and knowledge to offer advice and education to customers.

“It’s difficult to know what quality dog food is,” he said. “We are here to educate.”

Butler’s carries over 10 brands of dog food and over five brands of cat food, he said. Additionally, their shelves are stocked with items like leashes, treats, food bowls, litter boxes, pet beds and toys.

Butler also mentioned that they have a scale for customers to weigh their pets and make sure they’re healthy.

“It’s not just about the business side,” he said. “It’s about the passion.”


Grocery Debuts in Uptown Harrisburg

Uptown Harrisburg has a new grocery store, as Market Fresh on N. 6th Street opened its doors for customers.

“This area didn’t have a lot of fresh vegetable and fruit options. We wanted to supply that for the community,” said Camila Contreras, who runs the store with her father Ramon Contreras and his wife Yamelyn Vargas.

Ramon, originally from the Dominican Republic, isn’t new to the grocery industry. He’s owned a handful of corner stores over the past 30 years. Market Fresh is his biggest store yet, he said.

After conducting a market study, the family settled on their Uptown location, noticing the need for a grocery store in the neighborhood, Camila said.

“We realized everything was really far away,” she said. “He [Ramon] saw it as an opportunity to grow and help the community out.”

In addition to fresh meats and produce, the store has aisles full of frozen and packaged items. Camila pointed out the large number of Goya and other Latino food products.

“Because the area is really mixed [culturally], we tried to supply food that catered to everyone in the community,” Vargas said.

Ramon said that he plans to get a sense of what the community would like to see at Market Fresh and is open to taking suggestions from customers.

“It may take awhile to figure out what items people like,” he said. “I hope the community supports me.”
It took the family two years to transform the space on N. 6th Street into what it is today, as the pandemic delayed its opening. Ramon said that he’s proud of his new shop and now sees how far he’s come through three decades in the grocery business.

“I’m really happy,” he said. “Now that I see it done, I feel great. My hope is to offer the best services and quality to the community.”


Surf’s Up, as Beach Club Opens

The Harrisburg Beach Club opened for business last month at the point on City Island.

The beach club is an outdoors venue, with a bar and tables located just outside of the city’s historic bathhouse, near the banks of the Susquehanna River. For the cold-weather season, owners Bryan Donovan and Adam Maust have deployed heaters and fire pits.

The century-old bathhouse, which had been shuttered for decades, is also part of the project. Before it could re-open to the public, the Tudor-style structure required extensive restoration, including renovating the first-floor bathrooms and changing areas.

The owners also made extensive improvements to the outdoor space, including lighting, landscaping and construction of a large bar.

The owners announced their venture in late May, hoping to open in early July. However, various delays pushed the opening into early November.

In order to serve alcoholic beverages, the beach club employs a satellite liquor license from Hidden Still Spirits, a Hershey-based distillery. The beach club also features beer and wine from PA-based producers, as well as coffee from Harrisburg-based Good Brotha’s. The bar has a 10-tap system.

“We’re really excited to showcase the space,” Donovan said. “We’ve put a lot of hard work into it, so we’re eager to show everyone what we’ve done.”

Hours are Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit


Home Sales Dip, Prices Jump

October home sales in the Harrisburg area were modestly lower but prices moved higher, according to the latest report on previously owned homes.

For the three-county region, sales totaled 741 housing units, down from 805 units in October 2020, but the median price increased to $229,500 from $209,900, stated the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors (GHAR).

In Dauphin County, sales dipped to 376 units from 385 a year ago, but the median price surged to $210,000 compared to $185,000 the prior October, GHAR said.

Cumberland County saw sales of 330 homes versus 383 in October 2020, but the median price increased to $259,750 compared to $235,000 last year, according to the association.

In Perry County, sales fell slightly to 35 units, a drop of two compared to last October. However, the median price shot up to $239,900 versus $195,700 in the year-ago period, GHAR stated.

Houses also were selling faster than last year, as the “average days on market” dropped to 20 days, compared to 31 days in October 2020, according to GHAR.


So Noted

Church World Service will open a new Harrisburg office to help resettle Afghan refugees locally, it was announced last month. Services will include case management, basic needs support, cultural orientation, health access assistance and job preparation and placement help.

Fltbys opened last month in Midtown Harrisburg, offering a variety of streetwear and branded merchandise. The opening of the shop at 263 Reily St. coincided with a concert by owner and musician KOTA the Friend at H*MAC.

Foose School last month cut the ribbon on its Little Free Library, which allows people to access books 24/7. Students across five classrooms brainstormed ideas for the design, made small models and helped paint the little library, which was then stocked with donated books.

Harrisburg University last month held a signing ceremony to “top off” its under-construction academic building at S. 3rd and Chestnut streets in Harrisburg. The 11-story building, which will house health science and other classrooms and facilities, is slated to open by 2023.

James M. MacLaren was inaugurated as the new president of Lebanon Valley College in late October. He is LVC’s 19th president in its 155-year history, according to the college.

Mark Walsh and Michael Yan are the new co-owners of the Budget Blinds franchise for Harrisburg, Hershey and Carlisle. Shoppers can visit the showroom at 4915 Jonestown Rd., Harrisburg, call 717-657-6110 or visit

The Manor on Front Bed & Breakfast last month expanded to the building next door, the historic Mary Sachs mansion. The B&B, located on the 2900-block of N. Front St. in Harrisburg, now includes two neighboring, century-old buildings—“The Mary Sachs,” named for the famed clothier who lived there, and the original “Ledgestone.”

WITF, Hamilton Health and PNC Bank last month opened a new “Family Play and Learn Space” in Hamilton Health’s building in Allison Hill. The play space is intended to benefit low-income families in the Women Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program.

In Memoriam

Kathy Possinger died suddenly on Oct. 22, following an accident at her Harrisburg home. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Possinger, 44, spent most of her career working in the fields of fair housing and community support, including as executive director of Tri County Community Action in Harrisburg from 2010 to 2015. Afterwards, she held several positions in state government, most recently as a special advisor to Meg Snead, the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. To honor Kathy’s life, her family asks for donations to be made to Tri County Community Action,

Changing Hands

Bartine St., 1331: F. Rigel to Capital Acres LLC, $85,000

Bellevue Rd., 1911: A&K Investments Partnership LLC to F. Paulino, $125,000

Bellevue Rd., 1956: Equity Trust Co. FBO K. Mangan & E. Peak to M. & P. Pierce, $98,000

Bellevue Rd., 2011: M. Feldman to A. & J. Brown, $80,000

Berryhill St., 1616: A. Reeves to Rivera Realty LLC, $40,000

Berryhill St., 2253: L. Tran & L. Vo to T. Dieu, $58,000

Berryhill St., 2332: J. Mayhew to S. Hoch, $105,000

Berryhill St., 2475: N., A. and K. Williams to L. & B. Reed, $73,000

Boas St., 1509: J. Tracy to A. Trueitt, $32,000

Boas St., 1853: F. & N. Pimentel to L. Portes, $35,000

Briggs St., 1616: W. & M. Snow to D. Chegar & A. Elkhadir, $35,000

Crescent St., 323: C. Patel to M. Olano, $40,000

Dauphin St., 632: L. & L. Gustin to NA Capital Group LLC, $30,000

Derry St., 1252, 1254, 1330, 1627, 1629, 1631 & 1633 and 225 S. 13th St.: A. Himalaya PA Properties LLC & SLK Global Solutions America to 1252 Derry PA LLC, $557,832

Derry St., 1312: A. Himalaya PA Properties LLC & SLK Global Solutions America to 1408 Vernon PA LLC, $739,464

Derry St., 1408: D. Judge to J. DeJesus, $37,000

Emerald St., 217: A. Spinicelli to M. Mtere & F. Laoukili, $94,000

Emerald St., 519: C. Aumuller & P. Carcione to PACC Homes & Development LLC, $52,000

Girard St., 746: B. Simmons to SPG Capital LLC, $57,000

Green St., 1603: T. Moberg to 1603 Green LLC, $210,000

Green St., 1902: B. Garner to M. Richards, $217,500

Hale Ave., 442: C. & C. Terrell to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $63,500

Herr St., 1001: Herr Street Investments LLC to 1001 Herr Street Holdings LP, $12,800,000

Hillside Rd., 212: S. Geary to S. Penn, $207,000

Holly St., 1912: Super Fun Real Estate Yes LLC to L. Konrad, $120,000

Jefferson St., 2631: R. & C. Johnson Trust to D. Boyle, $35,000

Kelker St., 315: C. Clymire to C. Nicassio, $120,000

Kensington St., 2249: N. Doan to K. Russ, $120,000

Kensington St., 2328: S. Henry to A. Ryabukha, $72,000

Kensington St., 2433: X. Nguyen to HT Properties LLC, $65,000

Lexington St., 2622: EAM LLC to SPG Capital LLC, $51,500

Lexington St., 2628: C. Stoute to SPG Capital LLC, $52,000

Liberty St., 1430: Ten Point Corp. to D. Boyle, $47,000

Logan St., 1733: D. Dougherty & K. Lyons to J. Wagoner, $140,000

Mercer St., 2453: L. Rossum to D. Silva, $79,900

Mulberry St., 1913: CRS Housing LLC to N. Martinez, $45,000

Naudain St., 1518: W. Kirchenbauer to A. Fulp, $43,000

North St., 259: L. Kirkhuff & J. Carfagno to Pine Asset Management LLC, $165,000

North St., 1850: C. Parkison to E. Locke, $32,405

N. 2nd St., 801: M. Slobodian to D. Jackson, $300,000

N. 2nd St., 1104: J. & M. Bradley to S. & J. Toole, $140,000

N. 2nd St., 2412: J. Wagoner to C. Ruffing, $199,000

N. 2nd St., 2746: D. Dilks & E. Moffit to A. Rao, $309,000

N. 2nd St., 2830: J. Davis to D. Lopko & E. Torres, $199,900

N. 2nd St., 3010: J. McLaughlin & C. Powers to L. Fortini, $180,100

N. 3rd St., 1804: M. & J. Robinson to D. & D. Evans, $201,000

N. 3rd St., 2451: Hornby Zeller Properties LLC to F. Clark, $150,000

N. 3rd St., 3021: D. Ortiz to Innovative Assets LLC, $65,000

N. 4th St., 1923: L. Newton to TKO Rental Properties LLC, $60,000

N. 4th St., 2240: THG of MD LLC to SPG Capital LLC, $45,000

N. 4th St., 3105: S. Diehl to S. Eldredge, $165,000

N. 4th St., 3219: S. Hertzler to B. Chavez, $168,000

N. 5th St., 2610: E. Chattah & Y. Guhl to K. Kaseem, $55,000

N. 6th St., 2713: CC&J LLC to X. Weng, $43,000

N. 14th St., 1201: S. & J. Willoughby to Doceuno LLC, $60,000

N. 16th St., 707: G. Thompson to D. Roebuck, $88,000

N. 16th St., 817: W. & B. Napper to T. Brantley, $92,000

N. 17th St., 705: E&T Enterprises LLC to A. Fergusson, $60,000

N. 19th St., 28: House Cash LLC to H. Rosario, $62,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 602: R. Hostetter to LE Real Estate Trust, $350,000

N. Front St., 3109: J. McCarthy to 3109 North Front MB LLC, $157,000

Oxford St., 608: L. Korn to Rich Steel Realty LLC, $50,342

Oxford St., 621: M. Goldberg to K. Cooke, $55,000

Park St., 1820: AMR Ventures LLC to Tinhel LLC, $38,000

Park St., 1821: C. Asare to D. Boyle, $49,000

Park St., 1931: D. Leon to A. Figuereo, $40,000

Penn St., 915: J. Craig & F. Combs to 915 Penn LLC, $107,500

Penn St., 1511: D. Houser & M. Gamber to V. Jones Sr., $192,000

Penn St., 1519: L. Rynard to H. Witwer, $190,000

Penn St., 1807: Wheatland Restore LLC to S. & N. Haverl, $205,000

Penn St., 2147: Meier & Simone LLC to Morbucks Enterprise LLC, $49,000

Penn St., 2315: M. Magaro & R. Barbush to SPG Capital LLC, $51,000

Penn St., 2327: I. Rodriguez to SPG Capital LLC, $60,000

Pennwood Rd., 3228: Stelvid Properties LLC to Equity Trust Company Custodian, $108,000

Raleigh St., 2422 & 2430 and 2419 Ellersie St.: General Electric Service Co. Inc. to Church of God & Saints of Christ, $100,000

Randolph St., 1620: P. King to Venus Properties LLC, $46,000

Reel St., 2619: E. Buckwalter c/o City Limits Realty to Realch LLC, $53,000

Rolleston St., 1140: M. Gonzalez to C. Thompson, $150,000

Rolleston St., 1318: K. & P. Ducarme to G. & A. Ortiz, $140,000

Rumson Dr., 2942: T. Runkle to H. Senat, $116,000

Seneca St., 523: Wofford Enterprises Ltd. to M. & G. James, $88,000

S. 14th St., 312: B. Zimmerman to D. Boyle, $37,000

S. 15th St., 16 & 18: C. Peters to O. Adegoke, $82,900

S. 17th St., 328: S. Atiyeh to M. Sanchez & E. Perez, $75,000

S. 17th St., 1012: C&H Holdings LLC & P. Hollinger to T. Hodge, $175,000

S. 19th St., 1129: T. Stackfield to M. Montano, $129,000

S. 21st St., 960: Y. Casiano & O. Morales to S. & R. Mercado, $64,000

S. 26th St., 808: AIS Property Management LLC to Star Harrisburg LLC, $1,700,000

S. 27th St., 701: J. Frantz to J. & T. McHugh, $200,000

S. Front St., 547: V. & Y. Browning to B. Ward, $140,000

State St., 1849: S. Walwyn to E. Hunt, $65,000

State St., 1918: J. Ward to Dreamland Investors LLC, $60,000

Susquehanna St., 1338: J. Grubbs to Green Scapes Investments LLC, $156,000

Swatara St., 2140: Equity Trust Co. to S. Ginder, $55,000

Vernon St., 1333 & 1408: A. Himalaya PA Properties LLC & SLK Global Solutions America to 1408 Vernon PA LLC, $772,992

Walnut St., 1822: E. Morales & A. Ayala to R. Almonte, $55,000

Wayne St., 1609: D. & J. Shertzer to M. & M. Swart, $88,000

Whitehall St., 1849 & 1851: A. & M. Reuveni to Best By LLC, $250,000

Whitehall St., 2050: M. Murphy to Wheatland Restore LLC, $51,000

Woodlawn St., 2710 & 2712: Fruition Holdings LLC to Preferred Residential LLC, $240,000


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