Dauphin County Commissioners partner with Millersburg Borough to fight blight and revitalize the former Millersburg Reamer and Tool Company facility
MILLERSBURG, PA (February 22, 2018) – Using two powerful redevelopment tools to help communities fight blight and spur economic growth, the Dauphin County Commissioners joined with Millersburg to begin tearing down a factory shuttered since 2011.
Funding to demolish the former Millersburg Reamer and Tool Company at 34 Pine Street is through a $65,000 grant from the Dauphin County Land Bank’s new demolition fund. Additionally, the commissioners used $5,000 from the county’s new Transformation Initiative to do a preliminary environmental assessment of the 0.78-acre property – an essential step before redevelopment can occur on a former industrial site.
“This board is committed to helping communities like Millersburg tackle blight and allow properties that were once the pride of their communities to shine again and help the local tax base,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “By working with local officials and residents, we believe we can make a lasting and positive impact.
Millersburg Borough recently acquired the Reamer property. Although the factory provided good jobs in the community for several decades, the building has deteriorated steadily over the years and engineers determined it was not salvageable. ADM Logistics of Port Carbon is doing the demolition.
“Partnering with the Dauphin County Commissioners, the Office of Community and Economic Development and the Land Bank has provided the funds to remove the existing structure and leaves us a blank slate to move into the future,’’ said Borough Council Member Brent Boyer, who has spearheaded the effort. “We are looking for ideas of what to do with this property now. Whether it is a new recreational amenity, a low-impact manufacturing facility, housing or other use is yet to be decided.’’
Last year, the county announced its Transformation Initiative and was only one of four Pennsylvania communities to receive a $400,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant for conducting environmental assessments of properties suitable for redevelopment. In awarding the grant, the EPA cited the commissioners’ previous redevelopment successes.
“We are committed to working with our communities to turn these blighted and unused commercial properties around,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “It not only sets the stage for creating new jobs and helps all residents by getting these properties back on the tax rolls.’’
Among the other projects the county has helped make a reality is the renovation of the Lykens Hotel and adjacent Israel Building, which is now the 28-unit Union House Apartments and the current Renaissance Row project in Steelton, which entails turning a vacant parcel across from Borough Hall into a mix of commercial space and apartments.
“Today’s project and others like it helps create stronger neighborhoods and underscores our board’s commitment to bettering the lives of our residents,’’ said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “Restoring even one deteriorating property is often the catalyst needed to turn around an entire neighborhood.’’
Blight elimination has been an ongoing effort in Millersburg for the past several years and the Borough Council recently passed a property maintenance ordinance to address substandard properties.
Boyer said the borough is open to suggestions on how to develop the Reamer property.
“Anyone with ideas should please come forward,” he said.