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Local
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Carlisle
Work at IAC site kicks off in Carlisle

With vertical building expected to start in early 2018, local business and government leaders gathered Wednesday afternoon at the former IAC/Masland site in Carlisle for an official groundbreaking on the mixed-use development plan.

Dozens of officials who have been involved in the public-private development partnership spoke at the site on Carlisle Springs Road, which is being prepped for the construction of a hotel, restaurant, retail and housing complex.

“A friend of mine, who is a developer, said this is going to be a long, painful process — and it was,” said Lance Miller of Carlisle Events, which purchased the property in 2010 shortly after the IAC/Masland factory was shuttered. “But we could not have pulled it off without support from all of you.”

At the time, Carlisle Events was interested mainly in the property’s parking, which the company depends on for its car shows at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, located directly to the northeast. The factory itself, which made automotive carpeting and upholstery, presented a serious challenge for redevelopment given the industrial contamination.

“Everyone was nervous about the property … but we didn’t really have a choice,” said Bill Miller, Carlisle Events’ founder. “We didn’t’ want to leave Carlisle, and we couldn’t lose the parking, so we bought it.”

In 2012, the vacant factory was severely damaged by a fire, forcing the Millers’ hand even further. Now, after five years of demolition, environmental remediation, engineering and finance work, the property’s future is looking much brighter — a matter of pride for many involved.

“In 2008, 2009 and 2010 we lost three of our major manufacturers,” said Carlisle borough councilman Perry Heath, who described the loss and rebirth of the manufacturing site as akin to “a cycle of grief” for the local economy.

“If anyone wants to write a case history on how a public-private partnership should occur, this is the perfect one,” Heath said.

Carlisle’s blue-collar employees “were and are the fiber of Carlisle,” said Mayor Tim Scott, and the borough hopes to do right by them in reinvigorating the former factory site.

The ability to rebuild the site came from Carlisle Events working with a number of public agencies to secure loans and grant funding to clean up the site — a cost that would otherwise scare developers away.

However, the site has now become a model for environmental remediation strategy, said Patrick McDonnell, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Several acres of the site will be devoted to public green space, and the project is now one of seven pilot properties in the state’s “Brownfields to Playfields” program, allowing millions of state and federal dollars to flow into the build-out.

Projects such as the IAC/Masland redevelopment have also been a major target for the Keystone Grant initiative, and part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s interest in seeing more open space in Pennsylvania’s downtowns, said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.

“It’s great for me, as a Cumberland County resident, that our county seat is serving as a prime example for this type of work,” Adams said.

The reconstruction of the property is also dependent on a Tax Increment Financing agreement, commonly known as a TIF. This involves local governments borrowing against future property tax revenue increases — created by the increased value of the property post-development — to fund the infrastructure improvements necessary to get the project off the ground.

In the case of the IAC/Masland site, the TIF has leveraged over $12 million on a 20-year bond. Most of this funding is being used by the Borough of Carlisle to do water, sewer and road improvements to support the development, including a major reconfiguration of the intersection at Carlisle Springs Road and North Hanover Street and the extension of several cross streets, particularly B Street, over the site from east to west.

Including the TIF and all of the grant programs, roughly $25 million in public infrastructure funds have been secured for the area, Heath said.

The commitment by public agencies to do the necessary infrastructure improvements has allowed Carlisle Events to get early commitments from developers to actually build the structures in the plan, said Tom Richey, a developer who has been working with the Millers for the past three years.

“We’ve been able to pre-sell, before starting construction, most of what you see on this site plan,” Richey said, thanking the firms that have already come on board with the development.

These include Simraj Hospitality Management, a hotel group that operates several Midstate hotel franchises, and which will take over the Hilton Hotel that is planned to start construction in February or March, Richey said.

Carlisle Events also has commitments from Tri-Corner Communities to build out several residential parcels, Richey said, as well as an agreement from Alfredo Iannuzzi, current owner of Marcello’s Ristorante, to create a 6,000-square-foot dining establishment.

Local developers Mark and Allan Galbraith will be building the site’s much-anticipated “car condos” — three-story units with large ground floor garages able to hold four to six vehicles, with the intention of being marketed as second homes for die-hard car collectors who attend Carlisle Events’ shows and auctions.

“Surprisingly, there are a number of people who own houses in this area specifically for the car shows,” Bill Miller said.

But the site won’t just be for wealthy car aficionados, Miller said. The main focus of the design is to create a walkable commercial area for locals and tourists alike, and especially for those Carlisle residents who find jobs on the site.

“We want it to be a community where people can live and work,” Miller said.

“I can’t think of a project anywhere else in the state that’s been planned as appropriately as this,” said Scott Dunkelberger, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “The difference between plans that can pull off a project like this and those that can’t is local leadership.”


Ask_answer
Ask/Answered
Asked/Answered: What is the status of the South Middleton steakhouse?

Asked/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:

What is the status of the new steakhouse that is being built in South Middleton Township?

In October 2013, a fire destroyed a Bonanza Steakhouse in the 900 block of Walnut Bottom Road in South Middleton Township.

In September 2016, RB Investments and Madden Engineering Services received a formal waiver to bypass the land development plans for a new restaurant at the site. The property was sold to RB Investments in December for $950,000.

The new restaurant is expected to be called Roadhouse Steak and Seafood and construction will soon be finalized, according to South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley.

Faley said construction is expected to be complete by Nov. 30.

The new restaurant is slated to open by the second week of December, Faley said.

“I’m so pleased that the restaurant is opening shortly because I’ve had so many residents inquiring about its status,” Faley said.

Roadhouse Steak and Seafood will include a 7,700 square-foot building and parking for 95 vehicles, Faley said. The restaurant will have room to seat 250 people and will be able to employ about 22 people.

According to Faley, the building is being offered to the tenant as a 10-year lease with an option to buy at the end of the lease.

The site had been a potential home to a Sheetz, but those plans fell through because of concerns about traffic and the environment.

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Clark, Lawrence Strausser, Donna


Crime-and-courts
top story
Defense rests in 2016 Monroe Township fatal crash trial

It will be one more day before the case against 33-year-old Andrea Holly Lenk, a Shiremanstown woman accused of causing a crash in Monroe Township in 2016 that killed 23-year-old Alicia Nicholson, goes to the jury.

On Tuesday, the defense rested, but not before Lenk took the stand to tell her side of the story.

“All I could think was I just killed somebody,” she said.

Lenk was traveling south on Boiling Springs Road on the morning of Feb. 6, 2016, when she ran a stop sign at the intersection with Lisburn Road and struck a vehicle driven by Nicholson, killing Nicholson.

Lenk is charged with felony homicide by vehicle, misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter and multiple summary traffic violations including speeding and texting while driving.

During her testimony Tuesday, Lenk said she was driving from her boyfriend’s house in Shiremanstown to a funeral in Carlisle at the time of the crash.

“I was driving,” Lenk said. “I was thinking about the funeral. … I was thinking a lot about the funeral.”

She said she was unfamiliar with the road.

“I looked down to see who was playing (on the radio),” Lenk said. “When I looked back up, that’s when it happened.”

Senior Assistant District Attorney John Dailey argued during the trial that Lenk was speeding and texting while driving, which caused her to miss the stop sign.

Phone records show messages were sent from and received by Lenk’s phone in the minutes prior to the crash.

According to police, the crash occurred around 10:39 a.m., roughly one minute after Lenk received two text messages from a friend.

However, phone records show two short phone calls were made from Lenk’s phone at 10:38 a.m. and 10:39 a.m.

Lenk said those calls were attempts to contact her boyfriend and inform him that she had been in the crash.

If this is correct, up to six minutes passed between when Lenk sent her last text message at 10:32 a.m. and the time of the crash.

This was the only documented activity on her phone during this time frame, according to testimony given in court by multiple witnesses.

Closing arguments and jury deliberation is expected to begin Thursday.


Carlisle
Carlisle
Color Carlisle mural installation rescheduled for Tuesday

Color Carlisle has postponed its mural installation event originally scheduled for Monday.

In a post on its Facebook page Friday, Color Carlisle announced that the mural installation would now take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday at 201 W. Louther St. The mural will be installed in the alley.

The post cited a forecast of thunderstorms for the original date of Monday as the reason for the change.

The mural project is a collaboration between Color Carlisle and the Carlisle Area School District. Artist Ophelia Chambliss has been the artist in residence for the project, working with portfolio-level art students at the high school since Labor Day.

All community members are welcome to come to help with the installation. There is no need to sign up in advance, but volunteers should come prepared to get messy.

Lunch will be provided for volunteers.

Color Carlisle will be at the Christmas Craft Show Saturday at Carlisle High School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Though the core of the project is finished, there are a few final touches that need to be completed. Those who stop by the Color Carlisle booth will have the opportunity to add those touches.

The craft show is free to attend.

Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

Carlisle residents can lend a hand to the installation of the first community mural from the Color Carlisle project.

The installation begins at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 201 W. Louther St. The mural will be installed in the alley.

The mural project is a collaboration between Color Carlisle and the Carlisle Area School District. Artist Ophelia Chambliss has been the artist in residence for the project, working with portfolio-level art students at the high school since Labor Day.

The mural was created on parachute paper, which allowed the full mural to be sectioned off to allow more opportunities for the community to be a part of painting the mural at events around town.

All community members are welcome to come to help. No sign up is necessary, and volunteers can come and go as they please.

Those planning to assist should come prepared to get messy. It will be possible for clothes to get ruined due to the glue that is used to adhere the mural to the wall.

Some in attendance will be asked to climb scaffolding to help raise and hold pieces in place.

Lunch will be provided for volunteers.

Color Carlisle will be at the Christmas Craft Show Saturday at Carlisle High School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Though the core of the project is finished, there are a few final touches that need to be completed. Those who stop by the Color Carlisle booth will have the opportunity to add those touches.

The craft show is free to attend.