Nearly $3 million in loan and grant money from the state was approved Tuesday to help with the redevelopment of the former Tyco Electronics site in Carlisle.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced five new Business in Our Sites project approvals Tuesday and two new Pipeline Investment Program project approvals through the Commonwealth Financing Authority to support redevelopment projects in Pennsylvania.
Included in that package is approval for a $1,142,358 grant and a $1,713,536 loan to the Real Estate Collaborative LLC, a subsidiary of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp., to assist with the redevelopment of the former Tyco site.
Real Estate Collaborative has control of not only the Tyco site, but two adjacent lots with frontage on North Hanover Street. Estimates in September have the Tyco site costing at least $2.5 million to develop with about $1.4 million of that related to demolition and remediation costs.
Jonathan Bowser, CEO of CAEDC, said the concept plan for the site includes a 7,500-square-foot brewpub on the lots fronting Hanover Street. The current Tyco building is expected to be demolished to make way for two three-story office buildings with retail businesses on the first floor.
The two sections of the project will be connected by a pedestrian roadway and landscaping.
Bowser said he has been talking to several potential users of the site. Those users will help shape the final design of the site.
“We hope to be able to make some announcements in the spring and summer,” he said.
“The borough has not received any concrete plans for that redevelopment site,” Carlisle Public Works Director Mark Malarich said in late December. “It has not progressed. I don’t expect to see anything next year.”
BOS funds will be used for acquisition, site work, demolition, and storm water management improvements. The total project will cost $3,180,344 and will create approximately 68 jobs.
“Two of the most important components that business look for when they’re considering moving or expanding into another state is if the state has a selection of pad-ready sites to choose from, and if it has the energy infrastructure to power their growth,” Wolf said. “These projects approved today address both of those issues, placing Pennsylvania at a competitive advantage over other states and creating thousands of jobs. This is great news for the six counties in which these projects are located.”
The BOS program empowers communities to attract growing and expanding businesses by helping them build an inventory of ready sites. Approved projects can use the funding for any site development activities that are required to make the site shovel-ready. The sites must be previously utilized property or undeveloped property that is planned and zoned for development.
Bowser said site preparation and demolition for the project is likely to occur later this year, with additional site work and construction coming in 2019.
Success can change a whole family, Linda Manning told a gathering of more than 50 women at the Carlisle Borough Police Station Monday night.
The standing room only crowd brought together the women of Carlisle to discuss the needs of the town’s youths and what they can do to meet those needs.
Manning, the vice-president of the Carlisle school board, told them the story of a student who came to her seeking advice and assistance to become the first member of her family to go to college. Manning agreed on the condition the young woman wait to have children until after she graduated from college.
Manning held to her word and the girl to hers. Now, the woman is a college graduate with a job and has become a mother. Her success changed the family.
“Positive things can happen when just one makes it through,” Manning said.
The women at the meeting want to see many more make it through.
The meeting is the second in a series facilitated by borough police chief Taro Landis. A November meeting challenged the men of Carlisle to step up to make a difference in the lives of troubled youths.
With the simple question, “what do Carlisle youths need?” from Landis, the women came up with a list of about 15 topics ranging from advocacy to a sense of responsibility to celebrating youths’ accomplishments in response.
Landis summarized the list in a single concept.
“We have to teach our children how to be comfortable in their own skin,” he said.
Most of the topics on the list are ones that many of those in the room had learned at home, Landis said. That dynamic has changed over the years.
“What we ask the school to do now, what we ask the police to do now, we ask them to do things that normally people got at home,” Landis said.
The statement prompted the suggestion that parental training is also needed. Landis suggested that could be done through a mentoring program in which people teach those coming up behind them.
“If I can get people who’ve been through some stuff to talk to people who haven’t been through some stuff, maybe, just maybe, we have an opportunity to do something here,” he said.
Brenda Landis, who is a member of borough council, said it is important to engage young people in discussions about the problems they face.
“They have ideas. They see what’s wrong. If we can engage them, they can guide the path as well,” she said.
Children today are facing issues that adults can’t even imagine, and adults must listen before they help, said Safronia Perry, executive director of Hope Station.
“All of these things are really great, but none of this is going to work if we don’t take time to actually listen to the kids,” Perry said.
Samantha Martin, a Carlisle High School sophomore, suggested organizations around town put together a youth council that would bring representatives of those groups together with youth members of the council to discuss issues and open the lines of communication between the organizations and the people they are trying to reach.
A number of organizations including the YWCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Carlisle Victory Circle, Carlisle CARES, Color Carlisle and Cumberland Valley Rising, among others, were represented at the meeting, and spoke of various programs already working to guide young people.
Taro Landis suggested the community work on taking a successful program and making it bigger. Another approach suggested by several at the gathering is to better network the existing programs to serve as resources for each other.
Dr. Chavone Momon-Nelson suggested reaching out to people who are not involved, especially people who may not normally attend a meeting like the one held Monday night or the ones that are planned for the future.
“It’s also our responsibility to get these women who wouldn’t necessarily participate and partake in all these wonderful things going on here and getting them involved,” she said.
The meeting ended with a promise from the YWCA of Carlisle to continue holding the meetings on a monthly basis at a time that has yet to be determined.
“There is no doubt in my mind that you are going to move things, and things are going to happen,” Taro Landis said.
Cumberland Valley School District officials accepted a donation of a life-saving device on Monday from an organization honoring a Cumberland County teen whose life was cut short by a cardiac incident.
Julie Walker, director of the Peyton Walker Foundation, presented an automated external defibrillator, or AED, at a Cumberland Valley School Board meeting on Monday night. She was accompanied by district athletic director Michael Craig and school resource officer Wes Schmidt.
Julie Walker is the mother of Peyton Walker, a 2012 graduate of Trinity High School who died at 19. Peyton was studying to become a physician assistant at King’s College in Wilkes Barre when she was stricken by a sudden cardiac arrest related to a genetic heart condition on Nov. 2, 2013, according to the foundation’s website. The 501c nonprofit foundation then was founded by Julie Walker in her daughter’s honor.
So far, the foundation has donated 40 AEDs throughout central Pennsylvania, as well as offering free AED and CPR training to community members, and free heart screenings for youths ages 12-19. In October 2017, around 200 Cumberland Valley students took advantage of screening offered onsite by the foundation, Walker said. A total of five screening sessions have been offered so far for youths throughout the region.
Although the district already has several AEDs throughout each of its buildings, Schmidt will carry the donation with him at all times when on duty for the district, including athletic competitions.
In a related matter, an Eagle View Middle School teacher whose quick actions helped to save a mother’s life was recognized by the school board and Superintendent Frederick Withum III on Monday.
Physical education teacher Bob Wolf was presented with a commendation by Withum for the expedient use of an AED when a parent suffered a cardiac arrest while watching a CV water polo match on Oct. 24, 2017. As a part-time certified athletic trainer for the district, Wolf is trained in the use of an AED.
“We’re very proud of him and we commend him,” Withum said.
“It was more of a reactionary thing,” Wolf said after the presentation. “Thank God it turned out well.”
Meanwhile, a committee comprising district athletic trainers, nurses, athletic director and school resource officer is working to devise ways to raise AED awareness within the district, including increased location signage. “Some people said to me, ‘If you weren’t there that night,’ they wouldn’t have known where to find an AED,” Wolf said.
In other news, the school board authorized the district to proceed with PFM to request proposals for borrowing $20 million for the Mountain View Elementary School, Winding Creek Middle School and capital maintenance projects.
Of this, $10 million would go toward capital maintenance throughout the district, with the rest going toward final construction costs of the new schools, said Michael Willis, the district’s director of business and support services
In May 2017, the school board approved the issue of a general obligation note to the school district for $10 million from Orrstown Bank with a 2.15 percent interest rate for the new schools. This supplemented the $70 million the district already has borrowed for the project’s ongoing construction.
Willis said the area’s extreme cold temperatures in late December and early January deterred progress on school construction by about two days, but the projects remain on schedule because workers were two weeks ahead of schedule before that.
Also on Monday, the school board approved a resolution authorizing the district to negotiate the purchase of land in Silver Spring Township. The 116-acre lot is located at 31 Old Mill Road bordering Carlisle Pike and is for sale by Realtor firm with an asking price of $1.5 million, Willis said. The land will be used by the district “for future educational purposes as a result of increased enrollments,” Monday’s meeting agenda said.
For now, South Middleton School District is projecting a $1.4 million deficit in its 2018-19 general fund budget.
School board members are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday to vote on whether to ratify a new teachers’ contract with the South Middleton Education Association.
Approval of the pact would set the salary scale for teachers next year and help to solidify cost estimates for employee benefits.
Right now, district administrators are projecting revenues of about $34 million and expenditures of about $35.4 million, said Matthew Ulmer, business and operations manager.
“This is the proposed preliminary budget so we are extremely early in the process,” he said Monday. “There’s a lot of work we will be doing over the next [few] months. There’s a lot of information we will learn that will impact the budget as a whole.”
The union contract and salary scale is only part of the equation. In February, Gov. Tom Wolf is scheduled to unveil his proposed state budget that includes basic education and special education subsidies for next year.
For now, South Middleton is carrying over its subsidy levels from the current school year to next school year, Ulmer said. “We have not given increases to revenue because we don’t know what they are yet.”
For the second year in a row, the South Middleton School Board may seek exceptions under Act 1 that would allow the district to increase the property tax beyond its base index.
The Act 1 index for budget year 2018-19 is projected at 2.4 percent for South Middleton. If approved as the maximum tax increase, the 2.4 percent would yield about $463,000 in new revenue.
South Middleton can only apply for exceptions that account for increases in special education costs and in the local contribution the district makes to the Pennsylvania Public School Employee’s Retirement System.
Much of the $1.4 million deficit is due to increased costs in employee salaries and benefits including retirement and health insurance. That’s pretty standard when personnel costs make up 70 percent of the budget, Ulmer said.
He said that for 2018-19, South Middleton has set a cap of 12 percent as the maximum increase the district would allow for health insurance costs. “We will hope it will not be as high,” Ulmer said.
The state procedure for seeking Act 1 exceptions required South Middleton to make available for public inspection a very early version of a proposed preliminary budget. The board may vote to approve that budget on Feb. 12.
“We will be working in February, March and April on data collection, department meetings and finding ways to go about closing the gap,” Ulmer said. “It’s going to be a tough battle. There are going to be tough decisions. We will come to a balanced budget at the end because we have to. We have to find a way.”
A final budget must be advertised in May for final adoption in June.