SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP, PA (October 25, 2016) - Five new town homes
now sit where a line of trash-filled and half collapsed duplexes once blighted
the 4700 block of Tuscarora Street thanks to the latest revitalization project
funded by the Dauphin County Land Bank.
The Dauphin County Commissioners,
who created the Land Bank in 2013, today held a ribbon cutting to officially
put the new homes on the market. Each unit features three bedrooms, 1 ½ baths,
a small deck off the dining room, unfinished basements and a full kitchen with
dishwasher. Additionally, the homes, listed for $140,000, have electric heat
pumps, efficient tankless hot water heaters and central air.
“For years the potential of this
quiet neighborhood just a block away from the Susquehanna River was being
destroyed by a row of rotting, dilapidated buildings that were even being used
as an illegal dump site,’’ said County Commissioner Chairman Jeff Haste. “These
new homes represent why we created the Land Bank – to help municipalities fight
blight and to improve the quality of life of our residents. Not only the buyers
of these homes benefit, but this project has raised the entire neighborhood.’’
One local realtor, Cynthia Brown with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, is selling the properties. For more information about Brown’s listings,
call her at 717-652-6015 or go to www.coldwellbanker.com/agents/Cyndi-Brown-17112.
For those who qualify, the
county has a First-Time Home Buyers Program that offers up to $3,000 to help
with closing costs. More information is available at www.DauphinCounty.org.
The overall project costs
$625,000 – an expense that would be difficult for most municipalities to handle
on their own, said Commissioner Mike Pries.
“Municipalities don’t have the
resources to make these neighborhood improvements, which is why the Land Bank
is so important,’’ Pries said. “We are working with municipalities across the
county to help keep neighborhoods intact and return properties to the tax
rolls, which truly benefits everyone.’’
The Tuscarora Street project,
which began in August 2015 and was completed by Marysville-based BS Smith
Services, Inc. and Smith Homes Inc., marks the second Land Bank success. In
2015, a ranch home renovated in the 3500 block of Centerfield Street of
Susquehanna Township was sold to a family for about $120,000.
Additional projects are planned
in Steelton and Penbrook, with the demolition of vacant, deteriorating homes.
“Even a single blighted home can
have an outsized, negative impact on a community, driving down property prices
and tearing at the very fabric of a neighborhood,’’ said Commissioner George P.
Hartwick, III. “The Land Bank program is one way this board is able to directly
help people’s quality of life.’’
The commissioners were the first
to take advantage of a state law passed in January 2013 allowing counties and
municipalities to create land bank authorities dedicated to working with
municipalities and school districts to buy, repair and sell vacant residential
and commercial properties. Once restored, the properties can be returned to the
property tax rolls and become assets once again to the community.
To start the Dauphin County Land
Bank, the commissioners used $250,000 in gaming money. Ongoing funding for the
land bank comes from the sale of the restored homes or businesses and
agreements between the county and host municipalities and school districts to
give half of the post-sale property taxes to the land bank for five years.
To learn more about the Dauphin
County Land Bank, go to www.dauphincounty.org/government/community-economic-development/land-bank-authority