Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

July News Digest

Harrisburg Adopts “8 Can’t Wait”

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse last month announced the city’s plan to evaluate and rewrite its police Use of Force General Order.

Inspired by former President Barack Obama calling upon mayors to review methods of policing, Harrisburg officials began to take a look at city policies, Papenfuse said. The city is using Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait” challenge as a framework.

“At the end of the conversation, there will definitely be a rewrite of the general order,” Papenfuse said.

The project looks at eight policies that local governments can adopt, claiming they may decrease police killings by as much as 72 percent.

The eight policy recommendations include:

  • banning chokeholds and strangleholds
  • requiring de-escalation
  • requiring warning before shooting
  • requiring exhaustion of all alternatives before shooting
  • a duty to intervene when excessive force is being used
  • banning shooting at moving vehicles
  • requiring a use-of-force continuum
  • requiring comprehensive reporting

Papenfuse explained that Harrisburg’s Use of Force General Order explicitly addresses seven of the eight orders. It lacks only a “duty to intervene” when officers use excessive force. He mentioned that it is taught in the police academy.

“We can definitely add number eight,” he said.

In addition to the city addressing the eighth policy, officials are also looking to expand on and enhance the other seven. For example, Papenfuse said they want to require more de-escalation and warning before excessive force is used.

“I want to hear from the public,” he said.

Papenfuse encouraged Harrisburg residents to email with comments and questions.

 July 4 Celebration Planned

Fourth of July celebrations may remind you of life as normal this year.

Harrisburg Independence Day festivities will be combined with Saturday Nights in the City for an evening of food, fireworks and more food.

Originally scheduled as a drive-through food truck event, Mayor Eric Papenfuse said the city decided to make it a traditional walk-up experience.

“We do think it’s appropriate given where we are to do a walk-up,” he said.

As usual, a multitude of food trucks will make an appearance, this time on City Island instead of Riverfront Park. Papenfuse said there will be fewer trucks than before, but still more than a dozen. While no vendors will be in Riverfront Park, people are free to picnic there.

With the added twist of including the city’s outdoor dining event, Saturday Nights in the City, people will have the option of sitting for table service from downtown restaurants.

“It’s been so successful,” Papenfuse said of the Saturday event. “We definitely wanted to include that and give people a chance to come downtown.”

As is tradition, fireworks will close out the night at about 9:15 p.m., set off from City Island.

Throughout the event, participants are encouraged to practice social distancing, Papenfuse said.

New Owner, Plan for Hudson Building

Originally, it was supposed to be a high-rise apartment building—with a huge convention hall, to boot. It was supposed to be 10 to 12 stories tall.

That never happened.

Instead, over the years, the cavernous Hudson building has been everything from a bank to a church to a series of small shops. And, for almost 20 years, it’s simply sat empty and falling apart.

Now, the building, at N. 6th and Maclay streets in Uptown Harrisburg, has a new owner and a new plan, one that includes something city residents have long said they wanted—a grocery store.

“Harrisburg is a food desert, so we plan to have a grocery component,” said new owner Adam Maust, who purchased the property through his company, Mighty Group Holdings LLC. “That’s one of the things that I’m most excited about.”

According to Dauphin County, Maust bought the 50,000-square-foot building and surrounding lots late last month for $425,000 from Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp., a King of Prussia-based commercial real estate development firm. That company bought it in 2004 and never redeveloped it.

The neglect is quite apparent, as the building has deteriorated significantly since that time.

Maust said that he’s putting together a plan for the complete rehabilitation of the structure, with architecture by Camp Hill-based By Design Consultants.

First off, the building needs to be gutted, as little of the damaged interior is salvageable. He wants demolition to begin in July.

He then plans to ask the Camp Curtin community what it would like to see in the space. He wants to hold community meetings to get the feedback and buy-in of people who live in the neighborhood.

He’s pretty sure that the area needs a grocery store, so that’s high on his agenda. He also plans to move his own Harrisburg-based marketing company, A Mighty Group, into a small portion. He thinks that a brewery and art studios could be good fits, maybe a restaurant or a coffee shop.

The property includes a parking lot and several empty lots, which he wants to turn into community green space.

“I’m open to any idea,” he said. “It’s really talking to the community to see what makes sense.”

Maust said that he wanted to purchase the building for several reasons. First of all, he’s from the area and, he said, loves Harrisburg, so wanted to make a contribution. Secondly, he thinks that the 6th Street corridor is ripe for redevelopment with such projects as the new federal courthouse and the planned state archives up the street.

“I saw this as an exciting opportunity to change Harrisburg for the better,” he said. “I hope this will be an anchor that we can build on.”

He also likes the proximity to the state Farm Show Complex, which is just across the Maclay Street Bridge. He said that he easily could see the building serving as an adjunct for large events there, with event and meeting space.

Since the building is so large, there are many possible uses, he said. And, if his project is successful, he might even consider building up, since the stone and steel bottom floors were built to support a 12-story structure.

“This building is an anchor for the entire corridor,” he said. “It will be one of the very best buildings in Harrisburg.”

Women’s Shelter Breaks Ground

Bethesda Mission last month broke ground on a new women’s shelter to replace its two deteriorating existing buildings.

First, the transitional living building on Forster Street will be demolished and rebuilt, followed by the main building, situated in a 120-year-old former school building.

Once completed, the half-acre site will hold a new, four-story building with 51 beds, the new transitional living building and outdoor garden and park space.

“The shelter has given women who have been in crisis a whole new opportunity for a different life,” said Scott Dunwoody, Bethesda Mission’s executive director.

Within the past two years, Bethesda has raised over 85% of the $4.2 million price tag on the project through grants and private donors. They are now looking for community donations to meet their goal.

Contractor Pyramid Construction is expected to complete the project by the fall of 2021.

The shelter offers long-term and transitional living for women in crisis to seek restoration and personal growth. Many have faced abuse and addiction. The buildings have 25 beds for women and their children.

Shelter Director Shelley Brooks explained that the growing need in the Harrisburg area for young women’s support was a motivating factor in the expansion.

“It’s time to spread out a little because the need is great,” she said.

Home Sales Down, Prices Up

The residential real estate market showed mix results in May amidst the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania, according to housing industry data.

The Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors (GHAR) reported last month that, for May, sales fell by about half in the region, but the median price increased by 6.8 percent year-over-year to $205,000.

In Dauphin County, 173 houses sold compared to 355 in the year-ago period, while the median sales price rose to $176,300 from $172,000. In Cumberland County, sales totaled 152 units versus 326 in May 2019, while the median price increased to $233,950 compared to $215,000 a year ago.

Perry County had 21 sales for a median price of $157,000 versus 39 home sales for $150,900 in May 2019.

Average days on the market for listings were virtually unchanged—52 days versus 51 in the prior May.

So Noted

COVID-19 Community Response Fund has awarded more than $127,000 in grants to 54 nonprofits around central Pennsylvania. The Foundation for Enhancing Communities and the United Way of the Capital Region combined forces in March to quickly raise and distribute funds to assist our region’s hard-hit nonprofit sector.

GK Visual last month debuted its latest project, “Poured in PA: The Series,” featuring individual episodes focused on Pennsylvania’s craft beer industry. The series, which can be streamed from YouTube, follows their two full-length documentaries on the industry.

Harrisburg Bike Share has ceased operations, closing down its three-year bicycle-sharing program. Boston-based operator Zagster shuttered all of its 200-plus sites nationwide, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason.

Harrisburg City Council last month vowed to make reforms to help prevent possible police misconduct. Council member Ausha Green, chair of council’s public safety committee, said council would examine police use-of-force policies, in addition to other possible initiatives.

Harrisburg School District Receiver Janet Samuels last month approved a 2020-21 budget that does not raise taxes. The coronavirus pandemic had blasted a hole in the $158 million spending plan, but the budget gap was closed with federal CARES Act funding.

Harrisburg University’s HU Storm Overwatch team last month won the Operating System NYC Collegiate Championship. The e-sports team won four straight matches to defeat the University of California, Irvine, for the title.

Roger That Photography last month presented Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region with a check for $10,327 from funds raised from its

#TheFrontStepsProject. Owner Roger Baumgarten took free, socially distanced, on-the-porch family portraits, with all profits from the online sales of downloads, prints and photo gifts earmarked for the Salvation Army.

Changing Hands

Bellevue Rd., 2315: A. & V. Morelli to G. Ferkel, $250,000

Benton St., 607: Neidlinger Enterprises LLC to R. Wilder, $125,000

Boas St., 114: D. Walker to P. Kavanaugh, $157,500

Briggs St., 215: P. Meehan to CR Property Group LLC, $108,000

Brookwood St., 2178 & 2178 Getty’s Alley: K. & S. Ribble to W. Macon, $37,000

Calder St., 116: D. Goldman to Z. Fisher & C. Cline, $155,000

Conoy St., 100: M. & J. Barton to S. & N. Dienner, $110,000

Conoy St., 110: H. Peyrot to L. Overby, $157,900

Croyden Rd., 2826: J. & A. Myers to J. McErlean, $45,000

Curtin St., 613: O. Ramos to F. Ruiz & C. Zapata, $44,000

Derry St., 2815: J. Elias Holdings LLC to S. Ambra, $64,900

Ellersie St., 2334: C. Woods to K. & B. Staton, $76,000

Forster St., 1926: CR Property Group LLC to S. & J. Hirota, $105,000

Grand St., 933: T. Heck to E. Thomas, $114,000

Green St., 2146: Coverex LLC to J. & S. Compton, $35,000

Hamilton St., 334: PA Deals LLC to D. Monzon, $119,900

Herr St., 1506: Seneca Leandro View LLC to V. Cobbs, $76,000

Hudson St., 1216: R. Mesariac to E. & V. Glover, $111,000

Kensington St., 2033: CR Property Group LLC to J. Curtis, $101,000

Lewis St., 210: Smith Della Porta Investments LLC to C. Jury, $120,000

Lexington St., 2562: I. Druker to M. Jones Jr., $80,000

Lexington St., 2716: P. Edrington to CR Property Group LLC, $37,000

Logan St., 2035: G. Vargas to CR Property Group LLC, $35,000

Logan St., 2235: B. & K. Saltzgiver to CR Property Group LLC, $37,500

Market St., 829 & 1001: Equity Trust Co. FBO Robert Clay IRA to Camcorr LLC Property Management Inc., $785,000

Meadowlark Pl., 174: L. Nguyen to E. Pinero, $80,000

Muench St., 200: Penn Home LLC to M. Temba & C. & J. Liu, $85,500

Muench St., 205: J. Secrest to S. Vielot, $135,000

N. 2nd St., 1715: 1715 N. 2nd Street LLC to A. & T. Stienstra, $175,000

N. 2nd St., 2341: G. & K. Speaks to M. Omari to T. Ebengela, $124,900

N. 2nd St., 3011: Central Pennsylvania Home Buyers LLC to K. Boggan & G. Rine, $240,000

N. 4th St., 1320: PA Deals LLC to D. Isern, $114,900

N. 5th St., 2507: W. Whitehead to CR Property Group LLC, $50,500

N. 5th St., 2200: Harrisburg Home Investment LLC to J. & J. Fessenden, $89,900

N. 6th St., 2101, 606 Maclay St., 608 Maclay St., 612 Maclay St., 620 Maclay St., 2120 Jefferson St. & 2119 Elizabeth Alley: Philadelphia Suburban to Mighty Group Holdings LLC, $425,000

N. 13th St., 23: P. Miller & Habitat for Humanity to NA Capital Group LLC, $37,000

N. 14th St., 1116: Gator Management Group LLC to 37 Estate LLC, $35,000

N. Front St., 901: J. & V. Wozniak to Equity Building LLC, $355,000

Norwood St., 909: J. Lindberg to Q. Wilson, $31,000

Norwood St., 943: M. Nguyen to X. Mangual, $71,400

Peffer St., 211: K. Scheib to J. DeMarco, $118,000

Penn St., 1916: D. Ohagan to A. Sosa, $176,300

Penn St., 2126: Coverex LLC to J. & S. Compton, $50,000

Penwood Rd., 3214: CNC Realty Group to R. & S. Holloman, $105,000

Pine St., 123, 125 & 127: B. & G. Dechowitz to N&R Group LLC, $475,000

Reel St., 2416 & 2418: American Rental Home LLC to CR Property Group LLC, $52,000

Regina St. 1606: D. Boyle to Y. Tejada, $30,000

Rudy Rd., 1909: PA Deals to H. Shbeeb, $73,900

S. 24th St., 625: J. Clancy to A. Ward, $77,000

S. Front St., 711: S. & D. Moffett to H. Peyrot, $192,000

State St., 1412: A. Sharp to S. Lee & M. Prokopy, $145,000

State St., 1715: D., J. & M. Sollenberger to D. & L. David, $93,000

Sycamore St., 1821: C. Williams to S. Glass, $120,000

Verbeke St., 1727: C. & J. Arp to S. & A. Dougherty, $79,000

Harrisburg property sales for May 2020, greater than $30,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.


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