Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

March News Digest

City Passes Amended Budget

Harrisburg last month approved an amended budget for 2022, making numerous changes from the original spending plan.

City Council approved a $70.7 million general fund budget that includes no tax increase. The bill passed with a vote of 6-1, with council member Shamaine Daniels voting against it.

“It’s a really good budget,” said Mayor Wanda Williams. “It puts us on good financial footing.”

The 2022 budget, although originally passed at the end of 2021, was reopened and amended as a new mayor and her administration took office in January.

The amended 2022 general fund budget is around $8 million less than the initial budget of $79 million passed in December, which was a replica of the 2021 budget and a placeholder while the administration changed. It also reflects the new administration’s priorities.

When Business Administrator Dan Hartman initially introduced the revised budget, he explained that the city had made significant cost reductions to be able to “live within its means” and to balance the budget.

Some cuts came from removing funding for unfilled positions. Hartman said that the budget did not include any layoffs. Spending also dropped by crossing off projects that were already completed and limiting the use of outside consultants. In some departments, expenses such as contracted services or equipment purchases fell.

However, the approved budget also features a number of additional expenditures.

In the mayor’s office, the city hired a new director of Equity and Compliance and a special assistant for Community Affairs. Williams has appointed Karl Singleton and Gina Johnson Roberson to fill those roles, respectively.

Additionally, council voted to remove funding for the city engineer position, which is currently vacant, and, instead, move towards contracting with an outside firm for those services. Williams said that she plans to test this arrangement for a year.

Another change outlined in the document is that the director of Building and Housing Development, Dennise Hill, will also take on the role of director of Community and Economic Development. Hill said that she would spend four days a week heading up Building and Housing and one day a week working on Community and Economic Development.

In addition to the general fund, the budget includes an $18.1 million neighborhood services fund (sanitation services), $10.7 million debt service fund and $8.9 million capital projects fund. In addition, Hartman explained that this will be the last year that the city will need to make payments on one of its general obligation bonds, which is due to be paid off, allowing that recurring expense to be reallocated in future years.

On the revenue side, the city expects general fund revenue of $72.5 million, including the use of $8.86 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds as reimbursement for COVID-related expenses and revenue losses.

Before passing the budget, council made a number of amendments, including adding several positions, such as a special assistant to the finance bureau, a human resources specialist and an assistant city solicitor.

“This budget process has been a marathon to say the least,” said council President Danielle Bowers. “At the end of the day, we did not settle for what was presented…instead, we brought forth practical amendments that we feel are in the best interest of the residents of the city.”


Ice & Fire Returns

Harrisburg this month will re-launch its Ice & Fire Festival, featuring a street festival and display of ice sculptures around the city.

“We are really excited,” said Cortney Ranck-Cameron, the city’s interim manager of special events. “This is an event that the community really loves.”

On Saturday, March 5, the community can view over 50 ice sculptures scattered throughout downtown, Midtown, City Island, Shipoke, Italian Lake and Reservoir Park. Life-sized sculptures will include an ice throne, a Dr. Seuss hat and a Feeding America tribute. Sculptures will be on display from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will be illuminated beginning at 7 p.m.

This year, a street festival will take place on Front Street, from Walnut to State streets. Ranck-Cameron said that it will include community favorite activities like an ice slide, fire pits with free s’mores, fire dancers and performances by local school and community groups. Food trucks and other vendors will also set up shop along Front Street and Riverfront Park.

That portion of Front Street will be closed to vehicle traffic from 8 p.m. on Friday, March 4, to midnight on March 5.

Last year, the city cut the street festival from the program due to the pandemic. Instead, it featured ice sculptures throughout the city and a drive-through event on City Island.

Ranck-Cameron said that they received positive feedback on the event and decided to keep some elements of it this year, including positioning the ice sculptures throughout the city.

In past years, the Ice & Fire Festival had been held on 2nd Street downtown. However, Ranck-Cameron said that they decided to hold it on Front Street to allow for access to parking on 2nd Street.

While visitors explore the ice sculptures, they can participate in a scavenger hunt for the chance to win gift cards from Harrisburg businesses. Each sculpture will have a QR code and participants must scan at least 10 different sculptures to enter the drawing.

Participating Harrisburg businesses will also feature coffee, cocoa and cocktail specials throughout the city.

“This event is a really great way for people to explore the city,” Ranck-Cameron said.

Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, ExploreHBG and M&T Bank are the main sponsors of the event.

Street parking is free after 5 p.m. on Saturday in the downtown area and free all day on Sunday. Get four hours of free downtown street parking using the code LUVHBG on the Parkmobile app. A discounted $10 daily rate is available at the Market Square Garage courtesy of Park Harrisburg on March 5. Parking on City Island is free. Check the city’s website for parking options in other areas of the city.

Residential Plan for Federal Building

The successful bidder for downtown Harrisburg’s federal building says he has an ambitious plan: a large apartment building, plus restaurants.

Justin Etzin, principal of Global Ocean Investments Ltd., last month said that he wants to transform the Ronald Reagan Federal Building into “The Federal,” a 288-unit “luxury” apartment building.

In an email, Etzin said that he is a Seychelles diplomat currently serving as a special envoy, having previously carried out three terms as his country’s consul general/tourism ambassador in New York.

Under the name RRF Building LLC, Etzin bought the 56-year-old, 251,000-square-foot modernist structure for $10 million from the U.S. government in a sale that closed early last month.

Etzin said that he expects to begin the project once the federal government vacates the building.

Currently, the U.S. General Services Administration is putting the finishing touches on the new federal courthouse, which is expected to open later this year at N. 6th and Reily streets in Midtown Harrisburg. Other federal government agencies with workers based in Harrisburg also will need to move to new offices.

Etzin said that he plans a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units for the building at 228 Walnut St. In addition, the building will feature two restaurants and two bars, he said.

“This development will be a first for Harrisburg with a concept for a rooftop with two restaurants and ‘The Sky Bar’ which can be accessed up via a panoramic elevator directly to the roof terrace or straight down to the former courtrooms which will house an incredible restaurant and below a speakeasy bar ‘the boiler room,’ which is located deep in the caverns of this former Federal Building,” he said.

The plan also includes a health club, co-working space and a rooftop pool, he said.

The project, he said, should be completed in 2024 or 2025.


New Chairs, Officers for Chamber, CREDC

 The Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC last month announced new board chairs, as well as new officers and members of the boards of directors.

For 2022, G. Greg Gunn will serve as the chair of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber board of directors, while Casey Khuri will serve as the chair of the board for CREDC.

“I want to make sure that the Chamber continues to educate and advocate for our area businesses and the tens of thousands of employees they engage,” said Gunn, president and CEO of Gunn-Mowery LLC, a Lemoyne-based insurance and consulting company. “The Harrisburg Regional Chamber defines itself with broad leadership, visionary members and powerful results, so I want to get to work with my fellow members and prove that definition every day.”

Khuri is vice president at Lemoyne-based NAI CIR, overseeing and managing the 50-year-old, family-owned, commercial real estate business.

“In both strong and challenging times, CREDC has been our region’s champion for economic growth, workforce retention and business creation,” said Khuri. “As a businesswoman and a mother, it gives me great pride to chair an organization that is focused on the betterment of our community.”

The chairs of both the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC hold yearlong terms.

“Greg and Casey have demonstrated they have the bold and visionary leadership skills to help lead our team,” said Ryan Unger, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC. “We look forward to working with both of them to achieve our goals for 2022 and to continue to serve the businesses in our community.”

The additional slate of 2022 Harrisburg Regional Chamber officers is as follows:

  • 1st Vice Chair, Karen Gunnison, Gunnison Consulting LLC
  • 2nd Vice Chair, Zachary Khuri, Orrstown Bank
  • Treasurer, Kara Beem, Greenlee Partners
  • Secretary, Alisa Harris, UGI Utilities
  • At-Large member, Abigail Fortino, Conrad Siegel
  • Immediate Past Chair, Meron Yemane, Morgan Stanley

The additional slate of 2022 CREDC officers is as follows:

  • 1st Vice Chair, Wade Becker, RKL, LLP
  • 2nd Vice Chair, Katie Clark, LeTort Trust
  • Treasurer, Shawn Leppo, McNees Wallace and Nurick, LLC
  • Secretary, Beth Peiffer,  Jones, Inc.
  • Immediate Past Chair, Michael Funck, Wohlsen Construction Company


Home Sales Flat, Prices Up

Harrisburg-area home sales were mostly flat in January, but prices were up, according to the latest report on previously owned houses.

For the three-county region, sales totaled 499 housing units compared to 508 in January 2021, but the median sales price rose to $211,900 versus $194,700 in the year-ago period, according to the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors (GHAR).

In Dauphin County, sales increased by four units to 244 homes, while the median price rose to $200,000 versus $174,900 in January 2021, said GHAR.

Cumberland County saw a small decrease in home sales, which dropped by six units to 215 houses. But the median sales price increased to $235,000 compared to $224,950 a year ago, GHAR stated.

In Perry County, sales were flat at 29 homes, but the median price rose year-over-year to $184,500 versus $174,900, according to GHAR.

Houses were selling relatively quickly in January, as the average “days on the market” dropped to 20 days compared to 31 days a year ago, GHAR said.


So Noted

Burn30 is under new ownership, as Nate Kresge, owner of the Harrisburg-based boutique video production company, GK Visual, has purchased the business. Kresge said the fitness center’s goal is to make people feel like they belong, no matter their physical condition or personal fitness goal.

Heart & Soul Books opened last month in Linglestown, led by owner Ashley Bailey. The cozy shop, on the second floor of 5970 Linglestown Rd., offers a variety of new and used books, with an emphasis on representation and inclusion.

Jeannetta Politis was named last month as the new executive director of the Joshua Group, a nonprofit focused on helping at-risk youth. Politis, who spent more than 20 years in commercial and retail banking, replaces the group’s founder and long-time leader, Kirk Hallett, who is retiring.

Dr. Lori Suski has been named the new receiver of the Harrisburg School District. The Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas appointed Suski, the district’s former chief recovery officer, to replace Dr. Janet Samuels, who served as receiver for 2½ years.

Katie Heimbach last month joined Capital City Mall as its new marketing manager, responsible for the development and implementation of mall marketing programs, according to an announcement from the mall. Before joining Capital City Mall, she served as a program manager for Best Companies Group.

Lauren Brinjac has joined the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association as senior director of government affairs. Brinjac previously served as director of government affairs for the Insurance Agents & Brokers Service Group and as legislative coordinator and lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Bar Association, according to PRLA.

Meghan Bachmore has been named the new executive director of Harrisburg Young Professionals (HYP). Previously, Bachmore served as the membership services director at the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. The position had been open following the departure of Derek Whitesel, who left before the pandemic hit. 


Changing Hands

Adrian St., 2251: V. Caraballo to A. Arenas, $95,000

Agate St., 2614 and 2242, 2244 & 2246 & 2514 Jefferson St.: Vogelsong Investment Properties LLC & J. Vogelsong to N. & J. Hoover, $195,000

Bailey St., 1196: Tassia Corp. to D. Boyle, $45,000

Balm St., 36: C. Salazar & J. Vega to Capital Venture LLC, $65,000

Bellevue Rd., 2200: R. Schuldenfrei & B. Tayler to S. Haas, $450,000

Berryhill St., 2338: L. Myers to Alliance Estates LLC, $87,500

Boas St., 218: J. Copus to S. Force, $177,000

Boas St., 1611: Skynet 1611 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 1611 LLC, $490,000

Briggs St., 2023: J. & J. Folks to R. & R. Loja, $63,000

Brookwood St., 2300: F. & J. Maykovich to ID 2300 LLC, $375,000

Calder St., 521: L. Henry to D. Lim, $153,000

Caledonia St., 1937: M. Hare & T. D’Angelo to C. Maluchnick & G. Kerper, $166,000

Chestnut St., 1938: J. Cruz to T. Kea, $123,000

Church St., 602: Peleton Investments LLC & G. Rothman to C. Stalker & C. MacNett, $67,500

Curtin St., 535: Vogelsong Investment Properties LLC to J. & R. Armetta, $50,500

Dauphin St., 632: NA Capital Group LLC to J. Gonzalez & M. Santos, $70,000

Derry St., 1632: K. Gonzalez to M. Reyes, $65,000

Derry St., 2525: A. Williams to A. & D. Unterbrink, $54,000

Derry St., 2624: K. Lewis to P. & J. Lewis, $73,900

Emerald St., 321: 2013 M&M Real Estate Fund LLC to C. Risser, $85,000

Emerald St., 417: J. Cruz to O. Carter, $130,000

Emerald St., 419: J. Cruz to J. Lebo, $134,900

Evergreen St., 100: Evergreen 100 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 100 LLC, $250,000

Forster St., 2015: L. & N. LeGrand to F. Burgos, $150,000

Fulton St., 1320: J. Silas to Family Tree Holdings LLC, $110,000

Fulton St., 1402: D. Carroll to J. Black, $154,900

Fulton St., 1721: G. & L. Neff to J. Cruz, $66,000

Graham St., 118: P. Furlong to D. Kyle & D. Holland, $330,000

Green St., 1226: K. Lesher & P. Boyed to M. Doherty, $170,000

Green St., 1914: K. Bogard to M. & C. Franz, $236,400

Green St., 2104: 2104 Green Street HBG LLC to N. Harutyunyan, $115,900

Green St., 2150: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co. & Select Portfolio Servicing Inc. to 2020 Real Estate Ventures LLC, $68,601

Green St., 2227: M. & C. Stouffer to K. Aguilera, $115,500

Green St., 3216: M. Zeeshan to 3216 Green Street 17110 LLC, $162,000

Hale Ave., 204: A. Winter to BP Real Estate Investment Group LP, $109,251

Hamilton St., 236: T. & R. Broms to 236 HBG LLC, $130,000

Hamilton St., 340: Everence Foundation Unique Assets LLC to PD Estate Properties LLC, $75,000

Hamilton St., 344: Everence Foundation Unique Assets LLC to K. Dubina, $85,000

Herr St., 419: JMDM Properties LLC to G. Grasty, $216,500

Herr St., 1611: Henry & Sons Property 2 LLC to T. Merced, $75,000

Herr St., 1829: A&K Investments Partnership LLC to M. Dominguez, $131,400

Herr St., 1831: G. & J. Geiges to A&K Investments Partnership LLC, $70,000

Hoerner St., 135: SPG Capital LLC to Galaxy Real Estate Inc., $52,000

Holly St., 1853: C. Dunbar to R. Ortiz & N. Almeida, $115,000

Holly St., 1901: J. & K. Lyda to T WY Enterprise LLC, $48,500

Holly St., 2022: B. Smart to A. Pope, $105,000

Jefferson St., 2408: Great Row LLC to Galaxy Real Estate Inc., $59,000

Jefferson St., 2643: Dobson Family Limited Partners to D&A Homes LLC, $41,500

Kelker St., 327: 34 Construction Group to 3T Construction Group, $85,000

Kensington St., 1948: TRW Properites LLC c/o Property Management Group to E. & C. Onyewu, $80,000

Kensington St., 2121: P. Oden to Marie Buys Houses LLC, $53,000

Kensington St., 2222: K. & S. Ribble to M. Collins, $49,000

Locust St., 114: Akord LLC to D. & L. Butcher, $440,000

Locust St., 213: I. Mishkin to Newberry Partners LLC. $250,000

Logan St., 2344: Great Row LLC to Galaxy Real Estate Inc., $48,000

Manada St., 1934: R. Kates to Obear Properties LLC, $60,000

Market St., 1249, 1253 & 1255 and 3. S. 13th St.: Hill Café 1249 LP to 1249-55 Market LLC, $1,240,000

Market St., 2038: K. Roberts to M. Castro, $165,000

Mulberry St., 1848: Quality Rentals LLC to J. Rodriguez & V. Francisco, $102,000

Naudain St., 1433: G. Neff to P. & A. Bernard, $44,900

North St., 1938: Integrity First Home Buyers LLC to P. Winka, $170,000

North St., 2007: Gary Neff Inc. c/o City Limits Realty to M. Johnson, $44,900

N. 2nd St., 930: R. Daniels to R. & S. Katsifis, $50,000

N. 2nd St., 1625: E. & P. Montgomery to L. & E. Hamilton, J. Niblett & J. Wilson, $216,000

N. 2nd St., 1711: R. Klein & V. Vail to T. Barr & A. Ekomin, $269,000

N. 2nd St., 1904: Skynet 1904 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 1904 LLC, $240,000

N. 2nd St., 2205: M. Vayda to D. Hartman & B. Sammon, $255,000

N. 2nd St., 2309: K. Brown to J. & C. Brown, $150,000

N. 3rd St., 1841: Skynet 1841 LP to Glass Factory 1841 LLC, $2,330,000

N. 3rd St., 2115: Skynet 2115 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 2115 LLC, $140,000

N. 3rd St., 2201 & 2205: S&P Property Holdings LLC to 22015N3HBG LLC, $320,000

N. 3rd St., 2218: J. & N. Grant to J. Greene, $154,500

N. 3rd St., 2248: N. Hartwig to J. Drummond, $189,900

N. 3rd St., 2640: Skynet 2640 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 2640 LLC, $270,000

N. 4th St., 2637: M. Rosario to A. Cardona, $139,000

N. 5th St., 1700: Taylor Made Properties LLC to L. Motley, $169,000

N. 5th St., 2501: T. Evans to J. Castro, $58,000

N. 5th St., 2732: V. Clayton to J. & J. Scott, $110,000

N. 5th St., 3122: M. Haley to E. & C. De Jesus, $126,900

N. 6th St., 2338: F. Wofford to Galaxy Real Estate Inc., $55,000

N. 6th St., 2348: Wofford Enterprises Ltd. to V. Alli, $62,000

N. 6th St., 2409: Great Row LLC to Galaxy Real Estate Inc., $48,000

N. 6th St., 2466: Planet 3 Properties LLC to Rivas Property Investments LLC, $54,000

N. 6th St., 2523: L. Williams to R&K Realty Group LP, $65,000

N. 7th St., 2638: MidAtlantic IRA LLC & Harry Naill IRA to Elgamwo LLC, $56,000

N. 13th St., 1215: Skynet 1215 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 1215 LLC, $650,000

N. 15th St., 1217: PA Deals LLC to SF Rentals LLC, $254,000

N. 15th St., 1617: T. Sweet to S. Salleb & M. Aziz, $55,000

N. 17th St., 717: D. Bacallao to A. Hassane, $105,000

N. 17th St., 900: Skynet 900 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 900 LLC, $540,000

N. 18th St., 33: J. Vogelsong to D. Boyle, $45,000

N. 18th St., 41: Integrity First Home Buyers LLC to RA Love Homes LLC, $149,995

N. 18th St., 606: Skynet 606 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 606 LLC, $140,000

N. 18th St., 614: CR Property Group LLC to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $62,500

N. 18th St., 615: Skynet 615 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 615 LLC, $220,000

N. 18th St., 916: PA Deals LLC to M. Castro, $100,000

N. 19th St., 712: H. Bueno to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $68,000

N. 19th St., 1001: Neidlinger Enterprises LLC to K. Somasundaram, $149,500

N. 20th St., 32: C. Carter & V. Diaz to M. Gramby, $95,000

N. Cameron St., 1317, 1319 & 1321: A. Reuveni to R. Chatue, $80,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 413: J. Becker to D. Kuligowski, $110,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 601: J. Devine to LE Real Estate Trust, $185,000

N. Front St., 3109: 3109 North Front MB LLC to Everything Alright LLC, $400,000

Park St., 1630: Integrity First Home Buyers LLC to S. Prasad, $130,000

Paxton St., 1001: Pennsy Supply Inc. to I Mart LLC, $450,000

Peffer St., 431: Great Row LLC to Galaxy Real Estate Inc., $57,000

Penn St., 1208: G. Dunigan to K. Perry, $205,000

Penn St., 1317: M. Wilkins to D. Reinhart, $65,000

Penn St., 1501: T. Smith & M. Yost to G. & F. Lattimer, $164,900

Penn St., 1812: 2020 Real Estate Ventures LLC to A. Hutchinson, $220,000

Penn St., 1816: D. Osborn & M. Hoover to W. Dougherty, $159,900

Penn St., 2349: G. & R. Brown to Best By LLC, $90,000

Pennwood Rd., 3218: N. Canale to M. Bassit, $97,500

Radnor St., 551: A. & M. McGinty to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $103,000

Randolph St., 1618: R. Stevenson to L. & L. Morales, $60,000

Randolph St., 1620: Venus Properties LLC to CJ Good LLC, $88,000

Reel St., 2404: S&K Properties LLC to S&K Elite Properties LLC, $47,900

Reel St., 2732: A. & M. McGinty to Neidlinger Enterprises LLC, $88,500

Regina St., 1714: D. Mejia to D. Nunez, $70,000

Rolleston St., 1211: W. & J. Marshall to SPG Capital LLC, $53,000

Rumson Dr., 2639: R. Asplen to T. & J. Morra, $130,000

S. 13th St., 36: MLP LLC to 513 South Shippen Street LLC, $240,000

S. 13th St., 301: Skynet 301 LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 301 LLC, $1,025,000

S. 16th St., 568: V. Yanez to M. Medina, $90,000

S. 17th St., 1025: O. Bartley to L. Martinez, $146,500

S. 18th St., 1043: B. Do to PPL Electric Utilities Corp., $156,000

S. 19th St., 27 & 29: Sky at 27 & 29 S. 19th St., LP to Homeshare Harrisburg 27 & 29: $280,000

S. 19th St., 213: G. Neff to D. Figueroa, $40,000

S. 20th St., 219: H. Pham & V. Do to I. Mejias, $82,000

S. 29th St., 620: G. & S. Miller to J. & C. Holtzman, $238,000

Susquehanna St., 1714: L. Reda to C. Kenney, $120,000

Swatara St., 2224: L. Ho to R. Cruz, $160,000

Verbeke St., 1327 & 1329: Phantom Property Investments LLC to C. Sawyer, $199,900

Woodbine St., 240: T. Evans to J. Castro, $62,000

Woodbine St., 336: Paxton Auto Sales LLC to L. Rodriguez, $89,900

Wyeth St., 1401: M. Marciano to A. & S. Outlaw, $160,000

Harrisburg property sales for January 2022, greater than $40,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.

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