Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The last few weeks have marked tipping point in our neighborhood. Two people were murdered and there was a major take down at the Raja convenience store by the Harrisburg police. As you drive up 25th Street there is a balloon memorial in our neighborhood for the first time. Young people have been parked beside that memorial, playing music and remembering their friend. There has been a prayer vigil who died at that location. The Patriot news has taken photos and written an article suggesting that our neighborhood is crime infested and unsafe. Young people are riding mini bikes through the neighborhood without regard for the traffic signs or the noise they are creating.
I think we are all shaken because these things have never happened here. According to his friends, the young man who was killed had just moved to the neighborhood. It seems like in the space of only a year, our neighborhood has gone from one of homeowners to a huge percentage of renters. Where there used to be nice landscaping, it is beginning to look more blighted and folks just don’t seem to be keeping up their properties. We are at the tipping point Our neighborhood will either continue to go downhill or we are going to have to take major steps to preserve it.
Last month, Neighborhood Preservation Committee started to develop a strategic plan for preserving our neighborhood. We want to continue this work with a daylong planning session for the entire neighborhood. We’ve tentatively set that date for June 19th from 2-7pm. We will discuss our goals and formally organize as a community group. We’ve set aside this day long meeting because we need time to really plan the preservation of our neighborhood and to organize in a way that uses all of the talent and gifts in the neighborhood.
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as spokesperson during this first year of activities. As we move forward, we need the leadership and service of those of you concerned about the future of our neighborhood. Please set the date of Sunday June 19th 2-7 pm on your calendars. It will be a working meeting and will require our full efforts to make it successful.
We will not hold our regular monthly meetings in April or May. Our next meeting will be June 19th. Please indicate whether you will attend by registering for the meeting on our Harrisburgnpc.com website.
At our last meeting, there was a vote to decide whether we would oppose the request for a variance to allow a convenience store at 2400 Derry Street. The vote was very close and the majority agreed not to oppose the store if the new owner:
1) put in parking,
2) kept lights at a level that was not distracting to neighbors,
3) limited his exterior signage and
4) became active in our community group.
The owner has proposed placing three parking spaces at the rear of the building. I would like a few members to meet with the owner to see where the proposed spaces are going to be located so that we can determine if this meets our requirements. Please contact Gilbert Brown at 717-418-9822, if you are willing to go with him to see the proposed site of the parking.
Also, given the fact that we have just had two murders and already have many convenience stores in the neighborhood, I would like you to formally vote on our website to see if you support or oppose granting a variance for another store. (The stores in our neighborhood which sell food items are: 29th St. Rite Aide, 29th Street Dollar General, Gulf Station, Variety Store, Brookwood Mart, Raja, Berryhill store, Oriental Food store, Oriental convenience store, Giant Foods, Dollar store in Kline plaza, Derry street Rite Aide, Two Convenience Store at about 20th and Derry streets, 29th and Paxton street Turkey Hill, 17th Street Big Ware House, Family Dollar.) All of these stores are close or within walking distance of most of our homes. Please indicate if you support or oppose another store at 2400 Derry street at Harrisburgnpc.com.
You can see the proposed plan for the on our site. In addition to regular items, the store will have a small selection of fresh items, a pick up dry-cleaners, a small bakery and hot foods area. Please be mindful of the fact that the store will be on the corner of 24th street and near the Elder property. Please consider the potential impact on traffic and the potential positive and negative impacts the store may have on or neighborhood when casting your vote.
There are a lot of other things happening which will impact us. The Capital Region water will spend approximately 100 million dollars greening the city and will be looking to our neighborhood for ideas of what should be done in our neighborhood. Those of you interested in the community greening project, please indicate on the harrisburgnpc.com website.
Thanks in advance for your participation on June 19th. The preservation of our neighborhood will require all of us to be engaged and give our best efforts. We really need each other. It cannot be done without you.
Thanks for listening,
Debra R. Cruel, Spokesperson
Harrisburg Neighborhood Preservation Committee