Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

July News Digest

School District Superintendent Appointed

The Harrisburg School District has a new superintendent.

At a board meeting last month, district Receiver Janet Samuels appointed former Reading High School Principal Eric Turman as the district’s new leader.

“This is a very critical role,” Samuels said. “It encompasses providing our students with the very best, and our students so richly deserve the very best. When we think about the commitment and having a proven leader who excels—Mr. Turman is the leader who exudes those skills.”

Turman served as the principal of Reading High School in Reading for the past 10 years. He had been with that district for over 20 years, starting as a fifth-grade teacher.

After a nationwide search, the district announced Turman as a finalist in May. He began his new position with Harrisburg on July 1 and will serve as superintendent through June 2026. He receives an annual salary of $179,500.

“I’m delighted and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as your superintendent of schools,” Turman said at June’s board meeting. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Acting Superintendent Chris Celmer will help Turman transition into his role, Samuels said. Celmer has been with the district for nearly two years, but officials were looking for a permanent superintendent to fill the role as the district enters its third, and final, year of state-imposed receivership.


HBG Beach Club to Debut

A new destination is coming to City Island, as the Harrisburg Beach Club announced that it would open at the point, near the historic bathhouse.

Area businessmen Adam Maust and Bryan Donovan expect to open this month, offering patrons the opportunity to rent chairs and umbrellas, buy drinks and food, and socialize and relax. The city currently does not allow swimming from the beach.

Much of the beach area will remain outside of the Harrisburg Beach Club space, but even the part they’re renting from the city will remain open to the public, Maust said.

Built in 1921, the bathhouse marks its centennial this year, but has been mostly closed for a long time. The partners plan to use just the first floor for now, renovating the bathrooms and changing rooms.

Outside of the building, the club will feature two bars serving Pennsylvania beer, wines and spirits. They will offer beer from six local breweries on tap, as well as their own signature beer, Maust said. Food trucks will be on site for snacks and meals.

They plan to beautify the area with plants and flowers and fix and upgrade the existing sandboxes. The bars and other infrastructure are being built to be easily removable in case of flooding, Maust said.

Maust said that he envisions the Harrisburg Beach Club as a four-season destination, with cool- and cold-weather activities, such as an artificial skating rink, supplementing the summer high season.

Maust and Donovan both said that they hope their venture will help reinvigorate City Island as a destination. Over the years, the island has lost many of the small, tourist-oriented businesses once sprinkled around the 1-mile paved loop.

“Our vision is to bring people to the island to help other vendors there,” Donovan said. “This could be a catalyst for other things starting in the future.”

Maust said that he believes that people will be attracted by the uniqueness of the location, including the views of the Susquehanna River and city skyline.

“People will enjoy meeting up at an enchanted spot in the city,” he said. “We’re hoping to add value to spending the day on City Island.”


Midtown, Allison Hill Projects Get Go-Aheads

Several development projects in Harrisburg received their final city approvals last month, allowing them to begin.

During a virtual legislative session, City Council approved the land development plan for conversion of the former Salvation Army building in Midtown to a 16-unit, market-rate apartment building.

The “Lofts in Midtown,” by Wormleysburg-based Integrated Development Partners, will convert the 10,920-square-foot building at Green and Cumberland streets to one- and two-bedroom units. A paved lot across the street will provide parking for the project.

Council member Danielle Bowers was the sole vote against the project, objecting to the fact that all units would be market-rate. In April, the city approved a package of bills to incentivize the construction of affordable housing in Harrisburg.

The building, built in 1954, has been empty since late 2019, when the Salvation Army relocated to its current location on the 500-block of S. 29th Street.

Council also approved a development project to construct six town homes on Allison Hill at Hummel and Kittatinny streets. Tri-County HDC plans to demolish a building currently on the property and construct affordable housing.

The project has received a $500,000 state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant.

The project is part of the South Allison Hill Safety Plan, a partnership between several nonprofit organizations that aims to make the neighborhood safer. Gary Lenker of Tri-County said previously that he hopes to break ground on the project later this summer.


Cathedral Education Center Breaks Ground

A new Catholic education center took a key step forward with a ceremonial groundbreaking in downtown Harrisburg.

Surrounded by students of Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School, Bishop Ronald Gainer led the groundbreaking in a parking lot near the future Cathedral Education Center.

“This is a great day for our parish and for downtown Harrisburg,” Gainer said.

The project will renovate and combine two buildings: the 1951 Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School on Liberty Street and the 112-year-old Shanahan Center on North Street.

When the project is complete, the diocese plans to consolidate its two Harrisburg elementary school campuses at the facility—the Cathedral Campus, which serves pre-K and grades 5-8 in downtown Harrisburg, and the Holy Family Campus, which serves grades K-4 and is located on Allison Hill.

The pastor of St. Patrick Cathedral, the Rev. Joshua Brommer, said that the $5.7 million project will proceed in three phases.

The first phase is a three-story, 3,250-square-foot addition between the two buildings, which are currently separated by a walkway. The construction phase will combine the buildings and create a new school entryway and house an elevator.

The second phase will follow, turning the Shanahan Center into classroom, laboratory and dining space. A third phase will include the renovation of the existing elementary school building on Liberty Street.

When completed, the school will have 10 new classrooms, a STEM lab, art and music facilities and a new dining hall in 26,475 square feet of space.

The project architect is Mechanicsburg-based TKS Architects, with Harrisburg-based JEM Group as the general contractor.


Toni Morrison Bench Unveiled

Just a few days before Juneteenth, the holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, Harrisburg dedicated an African American historical marker.

Last month, a new bench, named after the late author Toni Morrison, was unveiled on the state Capitol grounds.

The bench sits near the recently erected Commonwealth Monument Project’s large bronze monument at 4th and Walnut streets. Officials hope it will serve as a place for people to sit and reflect on the history before them.

The bench is part of a network of 30 benches installed around the world by the Toni Morrison Society for its “Bench by the Road” project. According to Craig Stutman, project chair, the idea came from something Morrison said in an interview. She believed that there needed to be more monuments to African American history, Stutman said.

“Having a Toni Morrison Society Bench by the Road, right here, is a reminder to all of us of the importance of marking and remembering our missing histories,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, who spoke at the event.

The bench, along with the Commonwealth Monument, recognizes the history of the Old 8th Ward, a historically Black and immigrant neighborhood in Harrisburg that was destroyed to expand the Capitol grounds.

Also at the event, Commonwealth Monument Project officials presented Wolf with a bronze replica of a map of the Old 8th Ward.


Home Sales, Prices Up

Home sales and prices climbed in the Harrisburg area during May, according to the area’s realty association.

Last month, the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors reported that total sales shot up to 722 houses versus 357 in May 2020, as the median price rose to $239,950 compared to $205,000 a year ago.

Last year’s sales numbers were affected by the state-mandated industry shutdown during the month, due to the pandemic. A better comparison may be May 2019, when 720 houses sold at a median price of $191,850.

In Dauphin County, 347 houses sold in May for a median price of $210,000, versus 167 houses in the prior year for $176,000, GHAR said.

Cumberland County had sales of 335 homes in May compared to 149 in the year-ago period, while the median price increased to $265,000 from $233,000.

In Perry County, 33 houses sold versus 19 the year before, as the median price rose to $217,000 versus $154,700 in May 2020.

Houses were also selling much faster than in recent years. The “average days on market” dropped to 21 days, compared to 53 in May 2020 and 51 in May 2019, according to GHAR.


So Noted

Chad Saylor last month was appointed as a Dauphin County commissioner. Saylor, the county’s long-term chief clerk, replaced commission Chair Jeff Haste, who resigned in May to pursue a private-sector opportunity.

Comcast opened a new Xfinity store last month at Hershey Square, 1154 Mae St., Hummelstown. In addition to product demonstrations, customers can find about services or devices, learn about Xfinity apps, sign up for Xfinity services, pay bills at kiosks, return or acquire equipment, and purchase accessories for mobile devices.

Deborah Addo has been named the new executive vice president and chief operating officer of Penn State Health. Addo, the president at Inova Loudoun Hospital in Virginia, will join the health system in August and succeeds Alan Brechbill, who retired in 2020.

Harrisburg Academy last month named Lindsay Bowman as the next head of its middle and upper schools. Bowman, director of the academy’s centers for experiential learning and innovation, succeeds Benjamin Murphy, who left to pursue an out-of-state teaching opportunity.

Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC last month received renewal of its “5-Star Accreditation” from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This distinction is achieved by fewer than 5% of chambers across the nation and signifies “transparent governance practices, sound financial controls, safe work environments, value in programming and effective communications,” according to the U.S. Chamber.

Harristown Enterprises last month celebrated the interior construction phase of its newest residential project in downtown Harrisburg, Menaker Apartments. The century-old Market Square building is slated to become 28 one- and two-bedroom units. The building last housed the Skarlatos Zonarich law firm, which has relocated to Strawberry Square.

Jennifer Wilburne has been named a Harrisburg School District board director, appointed by Receiver Janet Samuels. Wilburne, an official with the Wolf administration, replaces Jayne Buchwach, who resigned after moving out of the district.

Penn State Health last month opened two new medical facilities locally. Penn State Health Medical Group-Blue Ridge is located at 1540 Alexandra Lane, Harrisburg, and Penn State Health Diagnostic Center-Union Deposit is located at 4250 Union Deposit Rd., Harrisburg.

West Shore Home opened its new corporate headquarters last month in Mechanicsburg. Founded in 2006 as a locally based home improvement company, it now operates in 12 states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Widener University’s Commonwealth Law School last month announced the appointment of Michael J. Hussey as dean. Hussey, a long-time professor, has served as interim dean since 2020 and previously served as associate dean for academic affairs.


Changing Hands

Adrian St., 2455: L. Mahoney to A. Muhammad, $68,900

Balm St., 106: Lagr Properties LLC to SL Homes LLC, $32,500

Barkley Lane, 2526: G. Smilek to Wyco Investments LLC, $70,000

Bellevue Rd., 1915: J. Charles to D. Vanlee, $32,000

Benton St., 551: D. Thompson & Y. Brown to A. Taylor, $102,000

Berryhill St., 1309: Anpat LLC to J. Monegro, $85,000

Boas St., 409: P. Cannon & M. Hertrich to T. Devaraj, $210,000

Briggs St., 205: Trip Aces LLC to BD Property Management LLC, $137,000

Briggs St., 1617: Amos Financial LLC to Gamma One LLC, $48,500

Calder St., 115: Penn Real Estate Solutions LLC to JMW Property Group LLC, $108,000

Calder St., 215: M. & A. Zehring to C. Fee, $100,000

Chestnut St., 2120: JBAB LLC to D. & K. Thompson Leader, $265,000

Chestnut St., 2304: M. & K. Johnson to N. Dexter & D. Madsen, $254,500

Croyden Rd., 2933: A. Wood to M. Cabrera, $68,000

Derry St., 2459: C. Spinner to B. Ortega, $40,000

Derry St., 2526: E. Dale to T Wy Enterprise LLC, $45,000

Division St., 423: Ahmadiya Movement in Islam Inc. to D&F Realty Holdings LP, $110,000

Duke St., 2435: A. Clark to V. & T. Raskot, $124,500

Duke St., 2441: A. & R. Clark to V. & T. Raskot, $118,000

Ellersie St., 2346: D. Clark to HBK Properties 1 LLC, $76,500

Emerald St., 650: Spring Dell Investments LLC to Awesome Tenants LLC, $44,000

Forrest St., 603 & 605: Neidlinger Enterprises LLC to A. Eiras, $139,500

Forster St., 1839: C. Arnold to Tender Loving Care Healthcare Services, $30,500

Fulton St., 1706: C. Dyno & L. Houser to K. & E. O’Conor, $170,100

Fulton St., 1943: C. & L. Banks to R. Mpinga, $114,900

Green St., 909: Schoolhouse 1 Holdings LLC to 909 Lofts LLC, $5,500,000

Green St., 1320: C. & S. Boettinger to D. Martin & N. Douglas, $175,000

Green St., 1419: Lancaster Real Estate Fund LLC to M. DeJesus, $139,000

Green St., 1526: M. Goldberg to S. Jusufovic, $147,000

Green St., 1601: M. Goldberg to S. Jusufovic, $141,000

Green St., 1828: M. Vaccarella to N. Luong & N. Nguyen, $170,000

Hanna St., 103: DLK Properties LLC to T. Kham, B. Kong & L. Kun, $136,000

Hoerner St., 110: S. Gllis to SPG Capital LLC, $45,000

Hunter St., 1610: P. Anandan to K. Williams, $64,750

Kensington St., 2030: D. Rosario to Two Three Two Investments LLC, $43,000

Kensington St., 2245: D. & T. Nguyen to H. Nguyen & Q. Lu, $45,000

Luce St., 2361: Kirsch & Burns LLC to Integrity First Home Buyers LLC, $40,000

Manada St., 2029: F. Avila to M. Loja, $75,000

Market St., 1248: Cleotilde Inc. to C. Munoz, $55,000

Market St., 1901: M. & J. Buchwach to G. & C. Lutz, $159,900

Mercer St., 2419: A. Overcash to D. Franklin, $100,000

Mercer St., 2460: A. Meck to Integrity First Home Buyers LLC, $32,000

North St., 1846: J. Krum & L. Crum to A. Jones, $89,000

N. 2nd St., 1008: M. Kushner to Grentals LLC, $190,000

N. 2nd St., 1410: R. & R. Janes to Gamehenge Properties LLC, $221,000

N. 2nd St., 2127: A. Graffius to A. Nicols, $147,500

N. 2nd St., 2131: BCRA Realty LLC to C. & K. Potter, $149,900

N. 2nd St., 2220: G. Rhoads to Planet 3 Properties LLC, $46,500

N. 2nd St., 2434: P. Kessler to M. Juba, $270,000

N. 2nd St., 2538: M. Parsley to C. Dickison & L. Garner, $201,500

N. 2nd St., 2812: T. Brinkley to J. & K. Reed, $350,000

N. 2nd St., 3115: C. & C. Harris to B. Smith, $175,000

N. 3rd St., 2218: D. Lee to J. & N. Grant, $40,000

N. 3rd St., 2221: W. Geisel to W. & B. Hoover, $170,000

N. 3rd St., 3134: M. Cruz to R. Myers, $140,000

N. 4th St., 1416: P. Bayer to 1417 4th Street HBG LLC, $31,501

N. 4th St., 2135: R. Rammouni & J. Hamad to JP Investment Holding LLC, $76,000

N. 4th St., 2139, 1414 Regina St.: NJR Group LLC to JP Investment Holding LLC, $456,000

N. 4th St., 2543: Neidlinger Enterprises LLC to S. Goddard, $139,900

N. 4th St., 2721: D. Chandler to K. Palmer, $100,000

N. 5th St., 3141: R. & R. Vallareal to L. & R. Biacchi, $185,000

N. 6th St., 2407: We Buy PA Inc. to D. Boyle, $36,000

N. 6th St., 2640: M. Woo to A. Gomez & N. Hernandez, $34,000

N. 16th St., 1207: M. Robinson to C. & S. Orellana, $36,500

N. 18th St., 68: LAGR Properties LLC to SL Homes LLC, $32,500

N. 18th St., 912: T. Evans to Dreams2Reality Services LLC, $50,000

Park St., 1813: J. String & M. Comp to J. Acosta, $38,000

Penn St., 1820: D. Kapil to Alex Manning Enterprises, $115,000

Penn St., 1920: T., M. & T. Sneidman to B. Taylor & A. Hibbard, $192,000

Penn St., 2130: Three Dog Properties LLC to R. Lane, $43,000

Pennwood St., 3129: T. & S. Kane to T Wy Enterprise LLC, $75,000

Race St., 562: S. Garnes to SJL Rentals LLC, $177,500

Race St., 608: Shipoke LLC & G. Dunbar to M. Parsley, $158,500

Radnor St., 618: D. Nelson to M. Temba and C. & J. Liu, $85,000

Ross St., 615: M. Cvetko to P. Melendez, $50,000

Rumson Dr., 2659: P. Chapman to Bermuda Land LLC, $97,000

Seneca St., 521: E. Spencer to M. & G. James, $89,900

S. 14th St., 450: Brothers Group LLC to Luciano Transportation LLC, $110,000

S. 14th St., 521: D&L Development Inc. to E. Milanes, $85,000

S. 17th St., 1012: P. Hollinger to G&H Holdings LLC, $70,000

S. 18th St., 6: CR Property Group LLC to 2020 Luong Family Trust, $135,000

S. 19th St., 533: V. & D. Morales to Best By LLC, $81,000

S. 19th St., 535: V. Morales to Best By LLC, $81,000

S. 27th St., 800: E. Dale & D. Housel to T Wy Enterprise LLC, $45,000

S. Summit St., 161: A. Jackson & M. Wade to HLI Properties PA LLC, $69,900

State St., 231, Unit 702: LUX 1 LP to W. Stansill, $155,000

State St., 1719: R. & A. Sharp to D. & J. Shaw, $85,450

Summit St., 24: S. & M. Turner to JAAE Rental Properties LLC, $45,000

Susquehanna St., 1823: G. & B. Hanthorn to WCI Partners LP, $90,000

Susquehanna St., 1841: M. Reuveni to SJL Rentals LLC, $120,000

Swatara St., 2022: J. & N. Thompson to E. Milanes, $62,000

Verbeke St., 212: Kingdumb Properties LLC to C. Fee, $101,500

Verbeke St., 224: S. Crossin to K. Sun, $210,000

Verbeke St., 1731: C. Jenkins to T. Sweet, $90,000

Walnut St., 106: W. Fulton to N&R Group LLC, $85,000

Walnut St., 108: E. Etzweiler to N&R Group LLC, $175,000

Walnut St., 1232: C. & C. Hinckley to Bethsabee LLC, $45,000

Walnut St., 1431: Church of the Living God to Skycam LLC, $40,000

Woodbine St., 414: E. Bruton to M. & N. Jacobs, $35,000

Woodlawn St., 2512: C. Cain Jr. to R. Westover, $138,000

Vernon St., 1563: Lee Jang & 17th Street Cleaners to C. & S. Orellana, $34,050

Zarker St., 1825: Great Row LLC to I. Martinez, $42,000

Zarker St., 1919: D. Hargrove & D. Surbrena to R. Burgos Soto, $35,000

Harrisburg property sales for May 2021, greater than $30,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.

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