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HUD FUNDS ALLOTTED Harrisburg last month voted to disperse about $3

million in federal funds for housing, community and public service groups. As it usually does, City Council made a number of

changes to the administration’s recommendations on how to allot the annual funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the end, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds went to: • Administration and Indirect Costs: $376,279 • Debt Service: $335,358 • Housing Rehabilitation Program: $300,000 • Emergency Demolition: $295,000 • Homeowner Demolition Program: $150,000 • Harrisburg Fair Housing Council: $131,000 • Camp Curtin YMCA: $125,000 • Heinz-Menaker Senior Center: $101,209 • Park Playground Equipment: $100,000 • Fire Station Roof Repairs: $98,050 • Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg Area: $90,000

• Code Enforcement: $69,500 • Public Safety: $50,000 • Christian Recovery Aftercare Ministry: $35,000 • Tri-County Community Action: $25,000

Home Investment Partnerships Program funds went to: • Targeted Area Rehab/New Construction: $330,326 • Homeowner Improvement Program: $200,000 • Operating Expenses: $66,065 • Grant Administration: $44,043

Emergency Solutions Grant Program Funds went to: • Christian Churches United/H.E.L.P.: $39,765 • Shalom House: $39,765 • YWCA Greater Harrisburg: $39,765 • Grant Administration: $9,678 Te Papenfuse administration had sought $150,000

for a rental rehabilitation program. Council, though, decided to redirect that money to several groups that had been denied funding in the administration’s initial proposal.


City Council last month passed legislation creating the Harrisburg Land Bank, an effort to strengthen the city’s fight against blight. Te land bank aims to take vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties and return them to productive use, according to the city. A seven-member board of directors will direct the land bank, giving it the right to acquire properties before they go to judicial tax sale. Te board will make such decisions as which properties to acquire, how the properties will be managed, how funds will be acquired to make purchases, and how property will be disposed of. It also allows the city to purchase and assemble

clusters of property to make them more appealing for redevelopment. “Tis is a major tool in our efforts to tackle the

problem of abandoned and blighted properties in our city,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

8 | THE BURG | 08.14

Te Reservoir Park mansion has been renamed in honor of Eugenia Smith, a Harrisburg city councilwoman who died suddenly in April. Te mansion now will be called Te Honorable Eugenia Smith Family Life Center. Te administration originally proposed renaming the smaller Brownstone Building for Smith. However, City Council changed the resolution after Councilwoman Susan Brown-Wilson insisted that the mansion would be a more fitting tribute to Smith.

TRASH FEES ADJUSTED Harrisburg’s small business owners received some

relief last month, after City Council temporarily lowered fees for trash collection. For years, small businesses have complained that they

were subject to high commercial collection rates, even though they generated little trash. Under the new provision, small businesses will be

charged the same rate as residential customers: $156 a year or $13 a month. To qualify for the lower rate, they must produce no more trash each week than can fit into two trashcans with lids. Te lower rate applies only until the end of the year. In November, the Department of Public Works will assess the impact of the reduction and report to council if it should be made permanent.


Harrisburg plans to ask the state Liquor Control Board for an exemption to its noise regulations for establishments selling alcohol downtown. City Council last month approved a resolution authorizing the city to apply for an exemption, so that it could enforce its own noise control ordinance. Currently, downtown Harrisburg restaurants, bars and nightclubs are under both sets of regulations. Te city has asked for—and been granted—exemptions to the state’s noise ordinance several times before.


Te historic Jackson Hotel may be saved after all, as the Harrisburg City Council last month approved a plan that should lead to its renovation. Council gave the OK to a land use plan that will subdivide the property at 1006 N. 6th St. from the Jackson House restaurant next door. Decades ago, the two parcels were combined into a single lot. With council approval, Harrisburg residents Kerry and Lessa Helm can complete the purchase of the four-story,

6,000-square-foot Victorian townhouse

from Dave Kegris, the owner of Jackson House. Kegris has owned both properties since inheriting them from German Jackson, an African-American entrepreneur whose hotel once served prominent black celebrities and other visitors to Harrisburg who were not allowed to stay in whites-only establishments. Kegris long has run the eatery, but couldn’t afford the extensive renovations to the hotel next door, which has deteriorated badly over the years. Te Helms learned about the house by reading a story

in the May 2013 issue of TeBurg. Tey now plan to stabilize the rundown building and begin a long-term renovation with the goal of making it their home.


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