Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

February News Digest

Williams Sworn in as Harrisburg Mayor

Harrisburg’s new Mayor Wanda Williams vowed to be an “authentic leader” as she officially took office early last month.

Commonwealth Court Judge Lori Dumas swore in Williams as the city’s 39th mayor, along with Harrisburg City Council member Ausha Green, at an inaugural ceremony held at Whitaker Center.

Williams, a Democrat, won the November municipal election, dethroning previous two-term mayor Eric Papenfuse, who launched a write-in campaign after narrowly losing to Williams in the primary election.

Also in November, Green won re-election, along with incumbent council member Shamaine Daniels. Newly elected were Ralph Rodriguez and Jocelyn Rawls. Daniels, Rodriguez and Rawls were sworn in on separate occasions.

At the swearing in, Williams explained her inauguration as a new beginning for Harrisburg. She noted that, while the general election season was taxing as she battled Papenfuse and lost both of her parents, she was ready to get to work.

“I hope today that I made [my parents] proud,” Williams said. “We are here today because we came together and said that it’s time for a new dawn in Harrisburg.”

Williams, a lifelong resident of Harrisburg, had served on city council since 2006 and as council president for her last two terms.

At a reorganization meeting last month, council voted for member Danielle Bowers to take Williams’ former seat as council president. Green was chosen to serve as vice president.

Assuming her new role, Williams noted that some of her priorities as mayor will include building affordable housing, creating youth programming, improving infrastructure and fixing the city’s outdated sewer and stormwater systems.

“Now is the time to turn away from politics and focus on the real work that we must do together,” she said. “As we begin our new dawn, we must get back to the basics. Good enough is not good enough anymore.”

Much of the inaugural ceremony centered around Williams’ Christian faith, with local pastors and musicians offering blessings, prayers and song.

Family members also participated. Williams’ grandchildren led the Pledge of Allegiance, and her husband Jerome Williams held the Bible as she was sworn in.

Additionally, a few of Williams’ supporters took to the microphone.

“Wanda has great experience, she’s learned a lot, and I think she’s got the knowledge and experience to lead our city,” said Harrisburg Treasurer Dan Miller. “I, for one, am excited about the change in leadership.”


Samuels Leaves School District

The Harrisburg School District lost its top official last month.

Receiver Dr. Janet Samuels announced her resignation from her role then officially departed on Jan. 29.

In a news release, the district did not specify why Samuels was leaving at this time.

In 2019, the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas placed Harrisburg under the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s control, selecting Samuels as the receiver of the district. The previous year, she served as chief recovery officer for the district.

With the appointment of Samuels, the school board was stripped of most of its power, with Samuels the sole vote on administrative proposals.

The receivership period was set for three years and is due to expire in June. However, according to the district, Samuels only committed to serve for one year and agreed to update the district’s Amended Financial Recovery Plan. In July 2021, the update was approved by the county court.

“I am honored to have had the privilege of serving the Harrisburg School District, and I am extremely proud of the work completed since my appointment as receiver, especially in the area of the finance,” Samuels said. “Although there is still much work to be done, I am confident the recently approved Amended Financial Recovery Plan, now in place, will serve as a framework to continue the positive trajectory of the Harrisburg School District.”

Samuels thanked the district’s staff, administrators and community stakeholders, along with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit team, for the work they will continue in the district.

Under Samuels, the district has put a new leadership team in place, headed by Superintendent Eric Turman and Dr. Lori Suski, the district’s recently appointed chief recovery officer.


Bridge Project Details Revealed

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation last month gave the public details of a major bridge project proposed for Harrisburg.

At the Wormleysburg Borough Office, PennDOT welcomed the public to comment on its plan to make improvements to the Market Street Bridge.

“We want to know what the public wants,” said Heidi Mertz, the project manager. “We are willing to listen and to see what we can come up with.”

Late last year, PennDOT announced a $63.8 million plan for the bridge, which spans the Susquehanna River, connecting downtown Harrisburg to Wormleysburg, as well as City Island in the middle.

According to PennDOT, the bridge is in “fair to poor” condition with cracking, rusting and drainage issues that must be addressed.

The project will include work on both sides of the bridge. Under the plan, PennDOT will rehab the historic arches of the century-old east portion and replace the deck and cracking sidewalks. They also plan to construct a new superstructure (deck and beams) on the western side.

But there’s a lot more to the project, changes that would impact the users of the bridge, as well as the businesses around it. The project could include cutting out lanes, creating new bike lanes or widening sidewalks.

PennDOT plans to begin construction in 2024. Mertz said that construction could take two to three years, plus additional time for the movement of utility lines under the sidewalks.

This timeline could change, depending on what happens with a proposed I-83 bridge project nearby. According to Mertz, construction on both bridges would not take place at the same time.

Throughout the Market Street Bridge construction, there will be access to City Island, PennDOT stated. They are still seeking public input and deciding how traffic will be maintained and detours employed.

For more information on the project, visit PennDOT’s website. Public comment will be accepted until Feb. 11.


Apartment Plan for “The Plum” Building

One of downtown Harrisburg’s oldest stores has closed up shop, and now its landmark building is slated to become a boutique apartment building.

Last month, Harristown Enterprises said that it had bought the red-brick, Victorian-style building that long housed The Plum, a downtown clothing and accessories store.

The building, at the corner of Locust and N. Court streets, will become a three-unit apartment building, according to Harristown.

“We are delighted to preserve this amazing building, which was built in 1900, and renovate it into three unique and desirable apartments in the heart of downtown,” said Brad Jones, president and CEO of Harristown, which will undertake the project with construction partner, Don Mowery. “Because this was the home of The Plum for more than half a century, purchasing and renovating this building has special meaning.”

Since 1967, The Plum has operated at this location by Isaac Mishkin and, later, with his daughter, Kirsten. The Mishkins put the building up for sale late last year.

“We are happy to see that the building will be preserved,” Isaac Mishkin said. “Having served on the Harristown board of directors for many years, it pleases me to know that they will take care of this historic structure.”

Harristown will renovate the 3,300-square-foot building into three, two-bedroom units, Jones said. He expects the work to begin in February and be completed in the fall.

In recent years, Harristown has converted numerous empty and under-used buildings in downtown Harrisburg from commercial to residential use.

The Plum still operates its store on the west shore, located at 3801 Old Gettysburg Rd., Camp Hill.


 Uptown Resource Center Opens

Harrisburg-based nonprofit Breaking The Chainz, Inc. last month cut the ribbon on a new resource center in the Camp Curtin neighborhood.

“We are looking forward to helping people,” said co-founder Kevin Dolphin. “I try to give men and women the chance they need.”

The resource center, located at 2134 N. 6th St., is a place for community members to seek help in areas such as trauma, substance abuse, housing, employment, re-entry and financial literacy, among other issues. It’s a one-stop shop for community members in need, Dolphin explained.

Breaking The Chainz provides counseling and mentoring services, as well as adult and youth educational courses. For services that they don’t provide in-house, staff and volunteers will refer clients to partner organizations.

“It’ll bridge the gap between different organizations and bring us all closer,” said Dorothy Scott, the organization’s co-founder and chief officer of finance and operations.

Scott said that they acquired the building, which was previously a small restaurant, in 2020 and renovated the first floor into an office and meeting space. Funds from a Dauphin County gaming grant assisted in the renovations.

On an upper level of the building are four apartment units. Scott said that they plan to use those as housing for mothers and children fleeing abusive situations.

Also attached to the property is a large garage space that they plan to convert into community meeting rooms and a music studio in the future, Scott said.


Home Sales, Prices Tick Up

Harrisburg-area home sales and prices both ticked higher in December, ending a strong year for previously owned houses.

In the three-county region, 774 homes sold compared to 761 in December 2020, while the median sales price rose to $229,900 versus $219,000 in the year-ago period, according to the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors (GHAR).

In Dauphin County, sales totaled 385 housing units, compared to 348 the prior December, as the median sales price rose to $205,550 versus $185,000 last year, GHAR said.

In Cumberland County, 333 houses sold, a decrease of 20 units from the prior December. However, the median sales price rose to $255,900 from $244,820 a year ago, according to GHAR.

Perry County had 46 home sales last month, an increase of six units compared to the prior December, as the median price rose to $190,500 versus $179,900 last year.

Houses in the area were also selling quickly, as the “average days on the market” dropped to 21 days last month compared to 26 days in December 2020, said GHAR.


So Noted

Bill DeVinney last month was named the new chief operating officer of The Englewood, a music venue, restaurant and brewery located just outside of Hershey. Previously, he served as director of operations at Dallastown, Pa.-based Wyndridge Farms and, before that, as regional manager with Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, according to The Englewood.

The Foreign Policy Association of Harrisburg last month changed its name to the Foreign Policy Association of Central Pennsylvania. The 72-year-old educational organization made the change to better reflect the regional nature of the group, according to the organization.

Goodwill Keystone Area last month appointed Ed Lada as its new president and CEO. Previously, Lada served as president and CEO of MoKan Goodwill and as vice president of contracts and facility management services for Goodwill of Southeastern Louisiana.

Harrisburg University last month announced a $1 million donation from The GIANT Company for a proposed Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability, a 23,000-square-foot building planned for Harrisburg. The educational and research center will focus on sustainability, controlled environment agriculture and clean water initiatives, according to HU.

Harrisburg University Presents last month announced that it will bring back outdoor concerts this summer to Riverfront Park, with the indie band Lord Huron slated for Aug. 20. Additional shows will be announced soon, according to HU Presents.

Jade Honey last month was named the 2022 board president of Harrisburg Young Professionals (HYP).  Honey takes over from Sydney Kyler, who completed her one-year term. In addition, the HYP board named Monika Kohli and Olivia Edwards-Rindfuss as co-vice presidents, Iqbal Singh as treasurer and Allison McFadden as secretary for 2022.


Changing Hands

Adrian St., 2237: M. Wise & C. Bowling to A. Springs, $60,000

Adrian St., 2260: V. & R. Caraballo to C. Austin, $89,250

Balm St., 60: OJK Enterprises to Zion Management LLC, $120,000

Bellevue Rd., 1954: K. Becker to E. Alcantara, $45,500

Benton St., 624: K. & M. Sullivan to S. Ewings, $60,500

Berryhill St., 1627: Lynn & Ryan Investment Properties LLC to GM Estate LLC, $80,000

Berryhill St., 2150: B. Nguyen to Pledgestone Partners LLC, $70,000

Boas St., 220: P. & P. Patel to L. Fee, $107,500

Briggs St., 1909: K. Tasker to SPG Capital LLC, $54,000

Briggs St., 1939: J. Hardman to SPG Capital LLC, $52,500

Brookwood St., 2444: E. McPherson to L. Thomas, $102,000

Calder St., 266: J. & M. Robins to T. Gibson, $139,250

Camp St., 615: T. Fletcher to S. Warren, $69,900

Chestnut St., 1621: A. Bouhach to S. Salmoran, $95,000

Crescent St., 257: E. Seyoum & T. Dessalegn to F. Ahmed, $69,500

Crescent St., 347½: P. & E. Peffley to Medallo Real Estate LLC, $100,000

Derry St., 1137: C. Bennett to P. Novas, $40,000

Derry St., 1151: J. Vogelsong to Porch Time Property LLC, $40,000

Derry St., 1217: J. Vogelsong to P. Novas, $49,900

Derry St., 1219: J. Vogelsong to P. Novas, $49,900

Derry St., 1941: Harrisburg RA Owner LLC & Net Lease Capital Advisors LLC to S. & N. Gandhi, $2,440,000

Derry St., 2131: J. Hardman to SPG Capital LLC, $57,500

Derry St., 2339: R. & M. Malachowski to SNB Real Estate Solutions LLC, $42,500

Derry St., 2517: C. Huynh to E. & C. Saunders, $65,000

Ellersie St., 2340: O. Hernandez to R. Kehinde, $105,000

Emerald St., 245: JTA Consulting Group LLC to B. Moore, $164,300

Evergreen St., 121: SBN VII REO LLC to D&F Realty Holdings LP, $100,000

Green St., 811: J. Zimmerman to W. Hoover, $117,000

Green St., 1007: J. & C. Nunley to R. Hay, $170,000

Green St., 1312: J. & M. Robins to I. Pereira, $134,900

Green St., 1716: M. Hochstetler & J. Crossett to K. & A. Nichols, $174,900

Green St., 1946: P. Sosik to N. Luong & N. Nguyen, $165,000

Green St., 2116: M. & C. Stouffer to Crestmont Consolidated LLC, $130,000

Green St., 2237: JYess Investments LLC to J. Compton, $71,050

Green St., 2941: L. & F. Feinerman to J. & K. Pianka, $365,000

Greenwood St., 2101: B. Miller to O. Thomas, $80,000

Hamilton St., 430: C. Stoute to T. & L. Sneidman, $148,500

Harris St., 203: T. Burke to C. Emig & K. O’Connor, $242,500

Harris St., 441: R. & L. Derr to Legacy Auto Exchange LLC, $56,000

Harris Terr., 2459: T. Tran to M. Phan, $90,000

Harris Terr., 2477: N. & C. Gonzalez to G. Kroschel and K. & R. Becht, $97,000

Herr St., 300: L. Warfel to R. & C. Steele, $120,000

Herr St., 1721: R., V. & D. Fountain to A. Diaz, $42,000

Holly St., 2006: SCC Ward Inc. to SPG Capital LLC, $55,000

Hummel St., 415: J. Vogelsong to Porch Time Property LLC, $40,000

James St., 1321: J. Deya to PA Deals LLC, $80,000

Jefferson St., 2155: B. Torres to 2155 Jefferson Street Harrisburg PA LLC, $60,000

Jefferson St., 2516: M. Waithe to Sulpven LLC, $55,000

Kelker St., 327: G. & P. Eby to 34 Construction Group, $85,000

Kelker St., 429: P. Ryabikin to C. Fee, $105,000

Kensington St., 2034: V. Wisman to J. Prol & A. Seroskie, $41,000

Kensington St., 2105: MidAtlantic IRA, K. Derenzo IRA, N. Potocki IRA to D. Dowling, $64,450

Kensington St., 2200: Lansanah Home Services Group to V. Torres, $110,000

Kensington St., 2309: S. Betcke to D. & S. Dowling, $72,860

Lewis St., 309: J. Laing to D. Cruz, $149,900

Lexington St., 2625: J. Fasciglione to Bridger Investments LLC, $43,500

Linden St., 131: S. Wilkerson to Bridger Investments LLC, $55,000

Manada St., 2003: Henderson & Sons LLC to E. Perez & M. Sanchez, $120,000

Market St., 1203: Corona Enterprise Group to True Sanctuary LLC, $85,000

Market St., 1909: M. & M. Stephens to 6030 Properties LLC, $86,500

Market St., 1912: CPenn Patriot Properties Midtown LLC to SJL Rentals 2 LLC, $150,000

Melrose St., 732: M. & D. Kovalchick to Harrisburg Strong LLC, $56,000

Naudain St., 1527: Vogelsong Investment Properties LLC to Porch Time Property LLC, $40,000

North St., 1942A: R. Speece to B. Wargo, $57,400

N. 2nd St., 1110: MC Investment Properties LLC to PDI Properties LLC, $132,000

N. 2nd St., 1317 & 1709: CPenn Patriot Properties to SJL Rentals 2 LLC, $300,000

N. 2nd St., 2209: M. Luft & J. Schultz to J. & C. Nunley, $262,900

N. 2nd St., 2233: B. Solimeo to Keystone Property Group LLC, $185,000

N. 2nd St., 2650: A. Delmonte to D. & C. Fasching, $259,900

N. 2nd St., 2964: D. & N. Schertz to Invariant Real Estate III LLC, $65,000

N. 2nd St., 3125: D. McCamant to M. Kenz, $99,000

N. 3rd St., 1715: B. Allatt to J. Jacobs & J. Van Leeuwen, $170,000

N. 3rd St., 2020 & 1620 N. 2nd St.: CPenn Properties-Old Uptown LLC to SJL Rentals 2 LLC, $900,000

N. 3rd St., 2110: J. & K. Ginter to Lynn & Ryan Investment Properties LLC, $50,000

N. 3rd St., 2250: T. Bergman to J. Carter, $209,850

N. 3rd St., 2532: D. Tamang & P. Moti to P. Kamba, $190,000

N. 4th St., 1336 & 321 Calder St.: 1037 Maclay St LLC to SJL Rentals 2 LLC, $350,000

N. 4th St., 1905: A. Adesubokan to S. Thorne, $120,900

N. 4th St., 2318: RNR Remodeling to M. Roark, $58,000

N. 4th St., 3119: T. Gottshall to A. Johnson & A. Taylor, $155,900

N. 5th St., 2538: E. Miller to AAA Bouslama Property LLC, $55,000

N. 6th St., 1612: Church of the Living God to Timely Investments LLC, $140,000

N. 6th St., 2227: Meier & Simone LLC to Peace Casa LLC, $40,000

N. 6th St., 2537: Tang & Perkins Property Management LLC to F. Reyes,  $90,000

N. 7th St., 2322: M. Goldberg to DAP 7 Curtin LP, $925,000

N. 7th St., 2612: R. Martinez & R. Rasmussen to Q. Nguyen & T. Chu, $86,400

N. 12th St., 33: B. & L. Young to A. & E. Rhon, $47,000

N. 13th St., 116: T. Gilmore to J. Gilmore, $80,000

N. 13th St., 131: T. Patches to F. Contreras, $86,000

N. 15th St., 221: RNR Remodeling to M. & A. Reuveni, $47,825

N. 15th St., 1314: John W. Spencer IRA Equipty Trust Co. Custodian to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $41,500

N. 17th St., 717: C. & D. Bacallao to D. Bacallao, $105,000

N. 18th St., 38: D. Boyle to J. Jimenez, $40,000

N. 18th St., 616: E. Green to A. Pierre, $89,000

N. 19th St., 49: Carters Clean Up LLC to 49 19th Street LLC, $70,000

N. 19th St., 719: J. Hardman to SPG Capital LLC, $52,500

N. 19th St., 721: J. Hardman to SPG Capital LLC, $52,500

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 314: A. Winch to T. Yun, $110,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 508: A. Breneman to R. Shenoy, $196,000

Park St., 1832: D. Letterlough to D. Boyle, $43,000

Paxton St., 1712: Twin House Real Estate Associates LLC to P. DeJulian & J. Beltre, $125,000

Peffer St., 223: P. Baillie to C. Goff & E. Horne, $154,900

Penn St., 1625: W. Yankey to S. Blank, $215,500

Penn St., 2151: R. Rammouni to R. Estrella, $55,000

Reel St., 2627: J. & A. Robinson to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $46,000

Regina St., 1813: Sunshine ABQ Real Estate Investment LLC to M. Camacho, $60,000

Rolleston St., 1143 & 1145: J. Gregorits to A&K Investments Partnership LLC, $75,000

Ross St., 626: J. Vogelsong to WiseChoice USA LLC, $43,000

Rudy Rd., 1955: N. & R. Pierce to A. Miller, $84,900

Rudy Rd., 2221: W. & M. Allen to Top Notch Homes LLC, $107,500

Rumson Dr., 2578: F. Ibohim & L. Gom to R. Rodriguez, $120,000

Seneca St., 331: 2013 M&M Real Estate Fund LLC to M. Vines, $90,000

S. 13th St., 328: C. & K. Epp to K. Alvarez & E. Martinez, $56,000

S. 16th St., 11: J. & K. Ginter to Lynn & Ryan Investment Properties LLC, $50,000

S. 19th St., 1204: O. Banks to G. Pichardo, $65,000

S. 20th St., 214: M. Aljibory to J. Roxbury, $43,500

S. 25th St., 600: D. Pham to G. Diaz, $124,900

S. 25th St., 614: Landmark Holdings Group LLC to T. Tran, $40,000

S. 25th St., 707: US Bank Trust National Assoc. LB Igloo Series IV Trust, SN Servicing Corp., E. Glover & H. Glover to R. Richardson, $85,900

S. Front St., 573: B. & K. Crews to R. English & B. Mackley, $160,000

Spencer St., 1837: L. Lewis to E. Ayala, L. Hernandez & N. Vogt, $52,000

State St., 1829: R. & N. Daniels to R. & M. Welch, $75,000

State St., 1915: L. Hill to A. Elnigoumi, $42,000

State St., 1918: Dreamland Investors LLC to D&A Homes LLC, $79,100

Susquehanna St., 1825: M. Manley to A. McFadden, $150,000

Susquehanna St., 2136: E. & R. Killeen to Embass Investments LLC, $119,500

Swatara St., 2014: H. Chisolm & M. Patterson to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $51,000

Verbeke St., 220: J. Sklarosky & M. Palermo to C. Long & N. Kurish, $150,000

Waldo St., 2627: S. Henry to N. & B. Joerger, $85,000

Waldo St., 2632: D. Hargrove & D. Surbrena to SPG Capital LLC, $49,500

Woodbine St., 320: J. & K. Block to J. & J. Mangan, $145,900

Harrisburg property sales for December 2021, greater than $40,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.

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