Harrisburg Changes Funds Process
Harrisburg agreed last month to switch up the process of how it distributes its annual allocation of federal housing funds.
City Council unanimously passed ordinances that will substantially change how nonprofit organizations apply for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.
Previously, community groups—called “sub-recipients”—applied for grants that were individually approved by council.
Now, the sub-recipients will have to respond to a “request for proposals” that is being issued by the city. All interested applicants then will have to attend a mandatory workshop on Sept. 10 at the city Public Works building and submit their final applications by Sept. 20.
Moreover, organizations will have to apply from two separate funding buckets.
Of the $1.94 million in total CDBG funding, the city is setting aside $100,000 for “public service activities,” which includes most programming activities. It then has allocated another $407,261 for “public improvement/public facilities,” which includes most facility and building projects.
In the past, funds for these activities had been combined into a single application process and source of funds. However, HUD recently instructed the city to separate operational projects from infrastructure projects.
“The primary reason for this change is so we can get those dollars separated properly,” said Franchon Dickinson, director of the city’s Building and Housing Department. “Nonprofits can apply for both public services and public facilities dollars, but have to apply separately.”
The city will favor applications that show that a service is new or has demonstrated a quantifiable increase in a level of service over the last 12 months, said Dickinson. In addition, she said that HUD prefers to fund senior enrichment programs or programs geared towards special needs populations.
Dickinson said that a scoring matrix will be used to judge applications and determine who will receive funding. City Council then will approve the contracts with the sub-recipients, said city Business Administrator Marc Woolley.
Other CDBG allotments included:
- $593,423 for debt service, as the city continues to pay down a federal loan it guaranteed under former Mayor Steve Reed for the disastrous Capitol View Commerce Center project
- $387,670 for grant administration
- $250,000 for homeowner rehabilitation
- $200,000 for emergency demolition
Dickinson said that the city is now conducting a reconciliation of disbursals in recent years, matching allocations with expenditures. It’s possible, she said, that additional funds could be available following the results of that reconciliation.
Residents Criticize Proposed Water System Sale
Harrisburg City Council is considering holding one or more meetings on the proposed privatization of the city’s water and sewer system.
Last month, council President Wanda Williams told a crowd attending a legislative session that she planned to schedule public meetings on the city’s proposal to sell the system to a private operator.
“We probably won’t just have one meeting,” she said. “We’ll probably have two or three.”
Her statement came following numerous public comments criticizing the proposed sale.
Harrisburg is currently asking qualified, private entities to respond to a “request for information” (RFI) to gauge interest in acquiring the system. Companies have until Sept. 16 to submit responses, with interviews slated for the following week.
At the council meeting, about a half-dozen residents spoke, uniformly saying that they opposed privatizing the water/sewer system, which would eliminate the current operator, the municipal authority Capital Region Water (CRW).
“I just wanted to speak out early and often against the idea of privatizing the city water authority, with the understanding that this is the first step to that potential process,” said one Green Street resident. “I’m categorically against the idea of privatizing the water authority.”
Both city Engineer Wayne Martin and Business Administrator Marc Woolley told council members that the request for information was a preliminary step and did not mean that city has decided to privatize the system.
“The information that we’re gathering is just that—gathering information—about the water system and any potential disposition of assets,” Woolley said. “But we have not decided what we’re going to do.”
Stop Sign Removals Cause Concern
Should Harrisburg proceed with a plan to remove stop signs at two intersections on N. 3rd Street?
At two City Council meetings last month, numerous residents spoke out against the planned removal of signs at the corners of Boyd, Harris, Kelker and Emerald streets.
“There are multiple playgrounds there,” said 3rd Street resident Laura Harding. “I see kids running across the street every day, multiple times a day without checking both ways.”
Currently, the intersections stop traffic in all directions. The planned removals are only for 3rd Street. The stop signs halting traffic traveling on the side streets would remain.
Residents’ remarks echoed similar concerns voiced on local social media pages, and council members said residents also had contacted them.
In early August, residents began to notice a second sign attached to several stop sign poles, notifying people that the signs would be eliminated, prompting concerns about safety at those intersections.
Some social media posts also posited a theory that the sign removals were part of the planned conversion of much of N. 2nd Street to two-way traffic, presumably because traffic displaced from 2nd Street would flow faster along the 3rd Street corridor.
However, according to city Business Administrator Marc Woolley, that is not the case. He said that the decision to remove those stop signs was made back in 2016 when the final design for the 3rd Street multimodal project was approved and that it had nothing to do with 2nd Street.
The city, he said, decided that those stop signs would no longer be necessary because the 3rd Street redesign, which includes numerous bump-outs at intersections, would have enough of a calming effect on through-traffic. And that, he said, has happened.
“It was determined that these were overused stop signs,” he said. “The bump-outs did
At the second council meeting concerning the issue, council members said they were exploring ways to retain the stop signs.
HMAC Plans Improvements
The Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center (H*MAC) has offered details of its newest phase of construction, which will include a basement dance club and a new restaurant concept.
Co-owner Chris Werner said that some construction has already begun to improve the 34,000-square-foot venue’s façade and roof, but that most work on the project will take place over the coming months.
“We’re really excited to finally complete this unique project, which has been in the works for decades, and serve it up the community for its enjoyment,” he said.
In May, Werner, along with co-owners Chuck London and Javier Diaz, bought the mixed-used entertainment and restaurant space and the business from owners Bartlett, Traynor & London LLC for $6 million. Last year, the prior owners declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which former co-owner John Traynor blamed partly on a social media firestorm aimed at the venue.
Werner said that the first major change will be renovations and rebranding at The Kitchen & Gallery Bar, which has been renamed The Green Room. He said that a Philadelphia-based restaurant consultant, JT Hearn, will lead a culinary team that will roll out a new food and drink menu that will focus on “innovative” and locally sourced items. In addition, the restaurant and bar space will include new furniture and décor.
The two existing entertainment spaces will also see significant changes, Werner said.
Stage on Herr, which was H*MAC’s original venue when it opened in 2009, will be redesigned and rebranded as Stage Right. The 350-person nightclub and gallery will feature a wider stage, stadium seating and sound system upgrades.
Upstairs, the Capitol Room will include a new balcony, two new bars and new bathrooms, as well as new green rooms and other amenities for performers, Werner said. Above that, H*MAC plans to finish the rooftop, building out a beer garden.
The most significant change will be in the basement, which was built as an indoor pool when H*MAC served as the Harrisburg Jewish Community Center then, later, as the Harrisburg Police Athletic League.
According to Werner, the pool room will be converted to a “psychedelic” dance club dubbed “The Deep End.” Artists will be able to create installations inside the pool area, viewable from holes above it.
“It will be a throwback to the days of dance clubs, while bringing the best of EDM and dance music to Harrisburg,” Werner said.
In late 2017, H*MAC received a $1 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, which will finance much of the work, Werner said.
Broad Street Market Seeks “Friends”
Do you consider yourself a “friend” of the Broad Street Market?
If so, Josh Heilman wants to hear from you.
Heilman is the market’s new executive director, and, as one of his first major initiatives, he has launched a long-planned “Friends of the Market” program.
The new initiative allows residents to help the market through a yearly donation or by volunteering for certain events and activities. The goal of the program is to bring additional revenue to the Broad Street Market for renovations, events, merchandise and more.
“We’re looking to get monetary donations and volunteer time,” Heilman said. “The market kind of needs some work. So, we’re looking for some extra sources of revenue.”
The immediate donations are going toward two different projects: installation of banners that will surround the market and replacing the string roof lights on each building, which have been out for some 20 years.
Volunteers, also called “market ambassadors,” will be asked to help with landscaping, painting and any special events. According to Heilman, the market is planning to roll out a merchandise table by Christmas, which the volunteers will also help run. They’ll sell tote bags and eventually T-shirts and answer any questions people have about the market.
Members get an exclusive Broad Street Market tote bag, which serves as a member ID, access to special market events such as their upcoming barbeque in September, and discounts to certain stands in the market. Right now, Sweet 717 and R.G Hummer Meats & Cheese are offering 10 percent off to all members.
For more information on how you can become a “Friend of the Market,” visit broadstreetmarket.org/friends.
Sales Data Mixed
Home prices edged up, while the number of units sold dipped, according to July data from the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors (GHAR).
GHAR reported that, for July, 694 housing units sold in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties compared to 743 units in July 2018, while the median sales price rose slightly to $190,000 from $187,500.
In Dauphin County, the number of units sold was nearly flat at 335, as was the median sales price at almost $175,000. In Cumberland County, 330 units sold compared to 362 in the year-ago period, while the median price rose to $213,450 from $205,690 last year.
Perry County sales fell to 29 units versus 44 in July 2018. However, the median price rose to $164,000 compared to $156,450 a year earlier.
Broad Street Market in Harrisburg has been named a “Great Public Space” by the PA Chapter of the American Planning Association. The association’s “Great Places” program also singled out Ligonier Diamond Park in Westmoreland County and Main Street Bethlehem for recognition.
Harrisburg School District started the 2019-20 academic year last month, the first under newly appointed district Receiver Dr. Janet Samuels and her recovery team. In an address to faculty and staff, Samuels pledged competence, kindness and a renewed focus on student academic achievement.
Harrisburg School District last month approved a resolution to re-start the nonrenewal process for Premier Arts and Science Charter School. In 2018, the previous administration started the process to deny the school a new charter, but never completed it. The current administration plans to begin public hearings “as soon as possible,” as a step to deny Premier another five-year charter.
Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra has initiated a national search for a new executive director after Jeff Woodruff announced his retirement. Woodruff plans to retire at the end of the 2019-20 season following 17 years at the helm of Harrisburg’s professional orchestra.
UPMC Pinnacle last month opened the doors of its new UPMC Memorial hospital at 1701 Innovation Dr. in west York. In so doing, it closed its former facility 325 S. Belmont St., York. The new hospital is a five-level, 102-bed facility. The 220,000-square-foot hospital provides acute and emergency medical care, maternity services, cardiology and vascular services, chronic disease management and surgical services.
Vintage Vault Gallery has opened at 300 Bridge St., New Cumberland, offering furniture, apparel and other items, with an emphasis on mid-century design. It’s the second location for owner David Morrison, who also runs the Vintage Vault Gallery in Middletown.
Wakeen Enterprise, a Harrisburg-based business consultancy and marketing company, last month announced the acquisition of Lancaster-based The Premise Studio. The acquisition will help Wakeen expand its creative and branding capabilities, according to the company.
Bellevue Rd., 1932: Demara Properties LLC to C. Nsiah, $35,000
Berryhill St., 2242: G. & M. Toro to M. Giambanco & A. Lebron, $64,000
Boas St., 404: M. Riley to R. Stanley, $70,000
Briggs St., 1617: M. Lewis to Amos Financial LLC, $31,000
Crescent St., 302: Penn Home LLC to SG Homes of PA LLC, $30,000
Derry St., 1312: Keystone Community Development Corp. to E. Roberts LLC & I Am That I Am, $120,000
Derry St., 1531: Z. Mohammad to E. Cortes, $30,000
Derry St., 2428A: General Electrical SVC CO Inc. to 101 S. 17th Street LLC, $62,000
Derry St., 2811: Crist Holdings LLC to A. Banton, $75,000
Division St., 240: Stephen Weinberger Trustee & Bette Weinberger Trustee to J. & A. Jones, $200,000
Emerald St., 236: HHTP1 LLC to R. Picado, $64,900
Emerald St., 237: M. Fannie to M. Freeman, $35,000
Fulton St., 1939: Wells Fargo Bank NA to P. Sisemore & K. Hugo, $43,000
Green St., 1121: T. McLaughlin to S. Urban & R. Capellaro Jr., $128,500
Green St., 1415: D. Shreve to V. Schmidt, $132,000
Green St., 1607; C. Frater to Fratelli Property Investments LLC, $110,000
Green St., 1712: S. Jusufovic to M. Silver & H. Glaser, $220,000
Green St., 1900: J. Bovender & J. Van Horn to A. & S. Lowry, $203,000
Green St., 2012: T. & B. Alton to E. Lane, $159,000
Green St., 3116: S. Quigley to J. Laumer, $106,000
Greenwood St., 2516: KMM Development LLC to M. Smith, $105,000
Hamilton St., 334: Harrisburg Homes Investment LLC to PA Deals LLC, $67,500
Harris St., 234: Big Leaf Properties LLC to K. Rhett, $219,000
Hoffman St., 3225: L. Cappellano to S. Feltman & J. Beck, $129,900
Hummel St., 245: Tri County HDC LTD to J. Soberanis, $79,900
Jefferson St., 2662: Dobson Family Partnership to H. Rhodes, $69,900
Kelker St., 218: C. Proctor & J. Mesa Cruz to A. Czopek, $175,500
Kensington St., 2035: J. Stoltzfus to C. Rameau, $35,900
Kensington St., 2216: S. Roland to R. & C. Murphy, $60,250
Kensington St., 2318: RDR Property Management LLC to G. Yolov, $60,000
Maclay St., 1017: J. Pagliaro Estate & S. Pagliaro to PEG Commercial LLC, $850,000
Market St., 1000: Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to 812 Market Inc. PMI, $200,000
Muench St., 220: Q. Vandermeersch to M. Marzzacco & A. Godfrey, $199,900
Mulberry St., 1954: S. & E. Schwartz to E. Guider, $91,500
Naudain St., 1642: Wells Fargo NA to Moxie Properties LLC, $30,000
North St., 1613: JustGeoff Partners LLC to Y. Refae, $35,000
N. 2nd St., 29: C. Yi to L & C Holdings LLC, $297,000
N. 2nd St., 1825: CPenn Properties Old Uptwon LLC to E. Chattah, $67,000
N. 2nd St., 1913: C. Hanshaw to Lansanah Home Services Group, $78,000
N. 2nd St., 3005: H. Sharifi to F. Ramirez, $35,000
N. 2nd St., 3011: R. Finkel to Central Pennsylvania Home Buyers LLC, $105,000
N. 3rd St., 904: J. & S. Tang to Ramsden & Ramsden LLC, $215,000
N. 3rd St., 1904: Green Street Properties LP to A. & A. Hughes, $178,000
N. 4th St., 1320: Harrisburg Homes Investment LLC to PA Deals LLC, $65,000
N. 4th St., 2703: K. Shenk to S. Gonzalez, $99,000
N. 4th St., 3116: G. & J. Desgres to T. Keller, $102,000
N. 4th St., 3215: W. Prough to G. & S. Erdman, $50,000
N. 5th St., 1734: R. Rohlif to 4JL LLC, $112,500
N. 5th St., 2510: M. & D. Blount to R. Diaz, $45,000
N. 5th St., 2623: SL Realty to E. Mendoza, $46,000
N. 5th St., 3014 & 3016: L. Powell to L. Busko, $100,000
N. 6th St., 3153: PA Deals LLC to D. Borelli, $69,900
N. 7th St., 2612: V. Galasso to R. Martinez & R. Rasmussen, $58,000
N. 16th St., 814: Bretland Enterprises LLC to D. Boyle, $30,000
N. Cameron St., 100: D. Deitchman, L. Hatter & Brickbox Enterprises LTD to Hatzlucha LLC, $4,650,000
N. Front St., 27: W. & R. Balaban to Dauphin County Library System & McCormick Riverfront Library, $295,000
N. Front St., 305: P1-30, P32-50, P52-59, P65-68, P97-101, P110-119, P260-270, P280-300, P302, P16A, P33A, P294A, P298A, UT400, UT500 & UT600: Harrisburg Riverfront Development & Cumberland Property to 305 Front Street Investors LLC, $7,800,000
Penn St., 1107: J. Musselman to B. Mathers, $155,000
Penn St., 1308: Adonis Real Estate LLC to Invigaron LLC, $280,000
Penn St., 1506: R. Miller to J. Owens, $130,000
Penn St., 1914: L. Maurer to S. Desai Sturgis & J. Sturgis Jr., $168,500
Penn St., 2935: R. Solano to M. Kanpol, $134,900
Penn St., 2441: M. Frater to S. & T. Johnson, $46,000
Race St., 558: Cash Now LLC to M. Kramer, $114,900
Reily St., 223: J. Chadwick to W. & A. Adams, $166,500
Reily St., 265: A. Kost & E. Morrison to R. Wodele, $132,000
Seneca St., 230: Members 1st Federal Credit Union to M. Temba, $50,000
Showers St., 611: NP Ventures LLC to K. & P. Steele, $150,200
S. 13th St., 445: H. Yap to R. Smolsky, $75,000
S. 13th St., 1541: L. Clemente to Y. Refae & H. Esmaeil, $35,000
S. 14th St., 229: P. Watson to Citibank NA Trustee, $94,500
S. 18th St., 1125: Midfirst Bank to HT Properties LLC, $39,500
S. 19th St., 411: Midatlantic IRA & Niall Harry IRA to Q. & T. Forbes, $59,900
S. 27th St., 724: Freedom Mortgage Corporation to W. Zhang, $45,140
State St., 1626: Harrisburg Homes Investment LLC to America’s Choice Remodeling of HBG LLC, $60,000
State St., 1817: A. Marshall to F. Mora, $64,000
Susquehanna St., 1701: R. Covington & T. Pean to I. Preston, $156,000
Susquehanna St., 1912: N. Carter to C. Mincemoyer, $156,000
Swatara St., 2047: Building LLC to Sr Homes LLC, $44,000
Swatara St., 2230: R. & J. Woll to H. Marca & M. Alvarez, $78,000
Valley Rd., 2308: Bean Charlotte Spence GST Trust II to A. & E. Hendrickson, $220,000
Vineyard Rd., 216: J. & W. Legaspi to R. & M. Loucas, $169,500
Watson St., 2817: E. Hurlock to LJ Realty Trust, $37,500
Harrisburg property sales for July 2019, greater than $30,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.