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Would divided business districts hurt Carlisle? Residents share ideas

By - Last modified: March 12, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Toward the end of the evening, maps that residents were studying and marking up looked a bit like a paintball target. In this map, the former Masland/IAC carpet factory property can be seen in the foreground. Photo/Jim T. Ryan
Toward the end of the evening, maps that residents were studying and marking up looked a bit like a paintball target. In this map, the former Masland/IAC carpet factory property can be seen in the foreground. Photo/Jim T. Ryan

Last night, during Carlisle's public participation meeting for redevelopment planning, some residents expressed concern that large business districts with shops at old industrial sites on the north side could direct business away from downtown.

"As residents, we have to think what's best for the community," resident Maureen Reed said. "You put shops up here, no one's going to come downtown."

The sentiment was at least partially shared by other residents at her table as they marked up maps with stickers to show key parts of their neighborhoods and contemplated how they might like to see them change.

The community forum at the Carlisle Expo Center on K Street was largely an introduction to the events for the week, but residents and business and political leaders were asked to mark maps with key locations and changes surrounding the borough's large industrial properties on the north side.

"We realize not everyone can make every meeting this week. The goal is to have you connect with us when you can," said Sean Garrigan, a partner in Stromberg/Garrigan & Associates Inc., the planning, engineering and consulting firm Carlisle hired to study urban redevelopment on the north side.

The borough hired the Somerset-based consultants last year as demolition and redevelopment planning began on two of the borough's largest factories, the former Carlisle Tire & Wheel plant and the Masland/IAC carpet factory.

Some business owners recently said they would like to see shops, parks and homes spring from the former factories.

Residents agreed somewhat with those assessments Monday night, as they answered: What does Carlisle's north side need the most?

"Parks. There's nothing up here," resident Michele Williard said.

Someone then placed green stickers on the map on top of the various industrial properties.

"Someone mentioned having a trolley downtown," said Judy Shomaker.

"That's a good idea," said Kathy Long.

Trolleys and suggestions of rebuilding B and C streets across the former factory lots generated purple stickers on the map.

Orange stickers are community hubs where people gather. Blue stickers were residences.

The conversations went back and forth and by 7:30 p.m., the maps looked like they'd been fired upon with a paintball gun, splotches of color splattered here and there across Carlisle.

And then as casually as people had gathered earlier in the evening, they said good night and went back out into the community they're helping mold a future for.

For more on this week's events and Carlisle's urban redevelopment study planning, visit www.carlisleplan.com.

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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