Martin-Roberts Declares for Mayor
The race for Harrisburg mayor got off to an early start last month, as former City Council President Gloria Martin-Roberts threw her hat into the ring.
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of about 100 at the National Civil War Museum, Martin-Roberts said she would seek a unified, prosperous city. She said she hopes to build better community relations with the police, support small businesses and encourage home ownership.
Her platform, with the slogan of “A City of Unity,” aims to include parts of the city that she said have been left out of Harrisburg’s economic growth.
The Harrisburg native, self-described as “homegrown,” grew up in the Allison Hill and Uptown neighborhoods and graduated from John Harris High School. She said she seeks to serve all of the Harrisburg community.
“I do not have a favorite neighborhood,” she said.
Martin-Roberts retired after two terms on City Council in 2011, including one term as council president. In 2012, she ran for 103th district seat in the state’s House of Representatives and lost to now-state Rep. Patty Kim. She also served on the city’s school board.
Shortly after Martin-Roberts declared for mayor, city resident Lewis Butts announced his candidacy. Butts unsuccessfully ran against Mayor Eric Papenfuse in the last mayoral race.
The mayoral primary is slated for May 16. Papenfuse has not yet announced whether he will seek a second term.
3rd Street Repaving Set
Come next spring, Harrisburg will begin repaving much of 3rd Street, a major thoroughfare now marked by potholes, bumps and uneven pavement.
Three sections of the lengthy street will be repaved: from Chestnut Street north to State Street, from Forster Street north to Muench Street and from Maclay Street north to Seneca Street.
In addition to street paving, crews will plant more than 150 trees, install sidewalk ramps and expand sidewalks. The changes will ensure walkability for pedestrians, enhance the cityscape and update water infrastructure, said city Engineer Wayne Martin.
Construction will run from April to October, finishing in 2018.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse acknowledged that there will be disruptions due to the project. Parking will be restricted at points along 3rd Street and construction crews will work during select periods at night.
“This will be a short term inconvenience with long-term benefit,” Martin said.
The project, a partnership between Harrisburg and Capital Region Water, is funded in part with a $6 million grant from PennDOT. Other funding comes from Impact Harrisburg and the city’s general fund, which has contributed about $1 million over multiple years to the project, Martin said.
Papenfuse encourages property owners to make gas line or water infrastructure improvements during the time of the repaving project. Making such improvements will be easier and cheaper for property owners while the city is repaving the road, he said.
Cop Cleared in Shooting
A city police officer will not face charges following the August shooting death of an Uptown Harrisburg man.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said that he will not file charges against Officer Tony Elliott, saying that the shooting was justified.
Elliott shot and killed 20-year-old Earl Shaleek Pinckney after officers were called to the 2300-block of Green Street for reports of a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, they saw Pinckney with a knife to the throat of his mother, Kim Thomas, Marsico said.
Thomas has denied that her son was threatening her with a knife.
Marsico also said that police have responded to numerous domestic calls at the house over many years involving Pinckney allegedly threatening family members.
Following the announcement, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said he would independently review police files of the incident to confirm “that the investigation was done fairly.”
Water Rates to Increase
Expect to pay more for water and sewer service, as the Harrisburg area’s water authority plans significant rate increases for 2017.
Capital Region Water proposes to raise 2017 drinking water rates to $8.80 per 1,000 gallons, compared to $7.88 this year, an increase of 11.6 percent. Sewer rates will increase to $6.53 per 1,000 gallons versus $6.05 in 2016, a hike of 7.9 percent.
The monthly “Ready to Serve” water charge also will increase, up to $6.95 from $6.22 this year for most customers.
For a typical residential customer consuming 4,500 gallons per month, these changes will result in an increase of $7.07 per month, according to CRW.
“Our board of directors does not take rate-setting lightly, but the water systems that our families, local economy and environment depend on every day were long ignored,” CRW CEO Shannon Williams said in a statement.
The 2017 budget includes a $12 million investment in the drinking water system and a $31 million investment in the combined wastewater and stormwater systems, with many of the projects driven by compliance with regulations, according to CRW. This work includes renewal and replacement of Harrisburg’s aging, buried pipes and treatment facilities.
“After years of deferred maintenance and lack of investment in our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems, we continue to make long overdue improvements to our aging infrastructure to prevent the even higher costs of failure,” said Williams. “Public health and safety is our highest priority and governs the decisions we make.”
Sewer Project Starts
A sewer pipe replacement project that began last month will continue throughout much of December.
Capital Region Water began a $1.3 million project to replace and renew aging sewer infrastructure at 10 locations to protect against sinkholes and ensure reliable wastewater service, said Andrew Bliss, community outreach manager.
The work affects relatively small sections of Green Street, N. 4th Street, Oxford Street, Crescent Street, Bailey Street, Maclay Street and Parkway Drive.
Potential impacts of the construction include street closures, parking restrictions, construction noise and temporary sewer service interruptions, Bliss said. When pipe replacement is complete, the road will be temporarily patched until repaving next spring, he said.
No Smoke Zones
Harrisburg last month put up 45 new signs in city playgrounds, deeming them as “tobacco-free zones.”
The statewide “Young Lungs at Play” initiative aims to eliminate the exposure of second-hand smoke to children in public places. Those who violate the tobacco-free zone are subject to a $50 fine.
“Even a brief exposure to second-hand smoke can be dangerous,” said Deborah Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic.
Roughly 11 percent of Harrisburg’s infants, children and teens have asthma. About 7 percent of adults in Harrisburg have chronic lung conditions, Brown said.
Harrisburg joins the ranks of cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in implementing this initiative in its 27 parks and playgrounds, said Dr. Loren Robinson, deputy secretary of health promotion at the state Department of Health.
Aroogas Grill House & Sports Bar has purchased a building at 1591 S. 19th St., just outside Harrisburg, for a new headquarters, training facility and central kitchen. As the restaurant chain has expanded, it has needed a larger facility and the ability to centralize certain labor-intensive food preparation, according to a news release from the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC, which helped Aroogas secure a $673,440 PA Industrial Development Authority low-interest loan for the project.
Boneshire Brew Works joined the rapidly expanding Harrisburg craft beer scene last month, opening at 7462 Derry St., a few miles outside the city. A large crowd greeted the new brewery, which offers a wide selection of both traditional and non-traditional beer styles.
The Federal Judiciary last month declared a new courthouse for Harrisburg its top priority for the next round of construction funding. Congress is expected to fully fund the $194.4 million project at N. 6th and Reily streets next year, after which a timeline will be set for the building phase.
Lyft launched its car-sharing service last month in central Pennsylvania, including in Harrisburg, Lancaster and York. Lyft competes against Uber, which has been in the local market for almost two years.
Ougi’s Cocina debuted last month in the stone building of the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg. The eatery offers home-style Latin food, such as pork, chicken, plantains, empanadas and rice and beans.
Third Street Café last month purchased the building next door, the former home of the Taproom. The Taproom closed last year after Harrisburg revoked its business license. The city also targeted the Third Street Café for closure. However, that bar has remained open following a so-far successful court fight.
Berryhill St., 1619: R. Deitzel Jr. to Slatehouse Group LLC, $40,000
Berryhill St., 2416: D. & M. McNaughton to D. Tran, $37,000
Boas St., 410: I. Rosenblum to F. & V. Piscioneri, $36,000
Brookwood St., 2633: T. McGarrity Jr. to M. Rodriguez, $108,000
Cumberland St., 218: M. Myers to D. MacGregor, $117,000
Green St., 1123: R. Kushner to C. Stephens Sr. & T. Lott, $109,900
Green St., 1732, L1: AJ Fedore and Co. Inc. to A. Christian, $144,500
Hamilton St., 633, 635, 637 & 639: M. Allen to Commonwealth of PA, Dept. of General Services, $71,988
Harris St., 344: PA Deals LLC to MidAtlantic IRA LLC FBO & Phillip Sachs IRA, $55,000
Harris Terr., 2469: Dobson Limited Family Partnership to J. Sparkman Jr., $64,000
Holly St., 2014: T. Poole to M. Diallo, $52,000
Hudson St., 1246: PA Deals LLC to G. & J. Modi, $123,000
Kelker St., 236: T. Jackson to D. Zurick, $195,000
Kelker St., 628: PA Deals LLC to S. Orr, $55,000
Kensington St., 2220: A. Roland to IRA Club LLC & T. McDougal, $42,500
Marion St., 1414: J. Stauffer to T. Andrews, $72,000
Meadowlark Pl., 3000: US Bank NA Trustee to P. Murphy, $33,000
N. 2nd St., 29: Woori America Bank & S. Moon to C. Yi, $170,000
N. 2nd St., 2137: R. Alexander to M. Larkins, $79,900
N. 2nd St., 2633: M. Weldon to C. & D. Peter Fritts, $310,000
N. 6th St., 1500, Unit 502: A. Gulotta to P. Stier, $400,000
N. 6th St., 2983: PA Deals LLC to G. & J. Modi, $119,900
N. 6th St., 3116: G. Peck to F. Arkhipov & A. Holmes, $97,900
Sassafras St., 261: M. Doyle to E. Shultz, $106,500
S. 3rd St., 15: M. & S. Yeh to Dewberry LLC, $135,000
S. 13th St., 1417: H. Nguyen to HT Properties LLC, $30,000
S. 19th 20: S. Orellana to J. Gonzalez, $55,000
S. 28th St., 700: C. & J. Bernard to Y. & A. Caro & R. Melchor, $133,000
S. Front St., 25: Dauphin County General Authority to County of Dauphin, $2,610,000
Southfield Rd., 2217: J. Brown to R. & J. Alpert, $278,000
State St., 1727: Gary Neff Inc. & City Limits Realty to N. Holvick, $42,900
Susquehanna St., 1608: C. Frater to P. Klein, $140,000
Susquehanna St., 2136: TLG Investments LLC to E. & R. Killeen, $41,000
Swatara St., 2104: V. & M. Cecka to J. Riggs, $38,500
Swatara St., 2113: PA Deals LLC to S. Orr, $56,000
Verbeke St., 212: Lynn & Ryan Investment Properties LLC to Kingdumb Properties LLC, $43,000
Verbeke St., 224: J. & J. Woland to S. Crossin, $125,000
Vernon St., 1347: D&F. Realty Holdings LP to Urban Lighthouse Ministries, $92,000
Vernon St., 1356: R. & C. Schwartz to J. & C. Peters, $35,000
Wayne St., 1616: J. Strickler to C. & J. Caraballo, $64,900
Wyeth St., 1417: D. Drabik to PA Deals LLC, $89,900
Author: Lawrance Binda