Cumberland, Dauphin projects green lighted for traffic signal tech funding

Cumberland and Dauphin counties have been given the green light to receive combined grant funding of nearly $2 million for the installation and maintenance of traffic signal technologies. 

Provided via the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT’s) Traffic Signal Technologies Grant program, the funding is aimed at increasing mobility and efficiency in communities across the state. 

“The safety improvements supported by the Traffic Signal Technologies grant program not only help municipalities relieve congestion and traffic flow, they help Pennsylvanians move safely and efficiently,” Wolf said in a statement. “I’m proud to help our communities improve mobility for Pennsylvanians.” 


Dauphin County’s Lower Paxton Township received $1,206, 406 for installation of an adaptive traffic signal system along Linglestown Road. 

Cumberland County received funding for the following approved projects: 

  • Carlisle Borough – $109,000 for connection of signals along Route 11, Allen Road, and Walnut Bottom Road to PennDOT’s unified command and control software; 
  • Middlesex Township – $107,000 for connection of signals along Harrisburg Pike including the I-81 interchange to PennDOT’s unified command and control software; 
  • Silver Spring Township – $203,750 for connection of signals throughout the Township to PennDOT’s unified command and control software; and 
  • South Middleton Township – $116,297 for connection of signals along Allen Road and Walnut Bottom Road to PennDOT’s unified command and control software. 


Established by Act 54 of 2022, the Traffic Signal Technologies Grant program reimburses municipalities for updating and improving the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. The program’s grant funding can be used for operational improvements including new traffic signal systems, adaptive signal control technology, automated traffic signal performance measures, and connection to PennDOT’s unified command and control software. 


Other counties receiving grant funding through the Traffic Signal Technology program are Butler, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Erie, Franklin, Montgomery, Montour, and Northampton.

Pa. House Republicans elect caucus chair, leadership team

Pennsylvania House Republicans on Tuesday elected their caucus chairman along with a slate of leaders for the 2023-24 legislative session. 

Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) was selected by his peers for a second time to serve as chairman of the state House Republican Caucus. Dunbar was first elected in 2021. 

“Overall, the past legislative session has presented challenges and the House Republican Caucus charted several successes, including improving the tax code for Pennsylvania’s small and large employers,” Dunbar said in a statement. “But we have our work cut out for us as we move into 2023 and I am as excited as ever to work with my peers on advancing policies to strengthen our economy and make our communities safer.” 

Dunbar as caucus chair will conduct all Republican Caucus meetings, as well as inform members of the session and voting schedules, notify members when bills they are sponsoring are scheduled for a House vote and if amendments are posted to their legislation. He will also participate in leadership discussions and help guide the House agenda. 

Previous sessions saw Dunbar serve as majority vice chairman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committees. He chairs the bicameral, bipartisan Legislative Audit Advisory Committee. 

Also, the House Republican Caucus elected the following members to the House Republican Leadership team for the 2023-24 legislative session: 

  • Leader: Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) 
  • Whip: Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) 
  • Appropriations Chair: Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) 
  • Caucus Chairman: Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) 
  • Caucus Secretary: Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) 
  • Caucus Administrator: Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) 
  • House Republican Policy Committee Chair: Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington) 

 Cutler called the caucus an optimistic group of forward thinkers from diverse backgrounds and regions. 

“Our shared experiences and commitment to find solutions is unwavering and this group is poised and ready to find a pathway to opportunity for all Pennsylvanians,” he said. “This leadership team, just like our caucus, is ready to take on what lies ahead. And I look forward to being with this caucus every step of the way.”

Cumberland County Commissioners approve more COVID recovery grants

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners recently approved an additional $1.21 million in Cumberland County Recovery Grants to businesses/nonprofits for COVID-19 recovery.

Receiving funds earmarked for capital improvement projects are:

· Jeffrey W. & Jo Anne Coy Public Library of Shippensburg, $78,252

· Joseph T. Simpson Public Library, $318,850

· Cleve J. Fredericksen Library, $79,843

· New Hope Ministries Inc., $350,000

· Carlisle Tool Library, $66,500

· Employment Skills Center, $133,441

· Marantha-Carlisle, $54,187

· United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County, $129,645

In total, the county has granted almost $17.26 million in COVID-19 recovery money to colleges and in the areas of mental and physical health, infrastructure and businesses/nonprofits.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Local home sales slow as mortgage rates climb

Soaring interest rates have put the brakes on the once-sizzling housing market, as the pace of local home sales continued to slow in September. Prices, however, are still up over last year, though the month-over-month trend tells a different story.

Harrisburg area

In Cumberland County closed sales fell 6.6% last month year over year, from 347 to 324. Through the first three quarters of 2022, the total is down 5.8%.

The median sold price was $275,000, up 7.8% from September 2021 and 13.1% year to date. But it decreased 8.3% from August, when the price reached $300,000.

Average days on market was 17, while the average sold to original list price ratio was 100.1%.

“If properties are priced aggressively from the start, they are still seeing activity, but where there may have been five to 10 offers per property (at the height of the market a few months ago), we are now seeing fewer offers and increased opportunities for buyers to negotiate price and terms,” Sylvia Hess, president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, wrote in an email.

Closed sales decreased 11% in Dauphin County, from 356 in September 2021 to 317 in September 2022. They are down 6.4% year to date.

Last month, the median sold price was $230,500, up 12.4% from a year ago and 12.5% year to date. That was up slightly from August, when the price was $230,000.

The average days on market was 23, and the average sold to OLP ratio was 99.5%.

In more rural Perry County, with its smaller sample size, September home sales rose from 34 to 40, though they’re down 8.4% year to date.

The median sold price of $217,450 is identical to last September’s and up 9% through the first nine months of 2022.

The average days on market was 25; the average sold to OLP ratio was 97.5%.

Hess wrote: “There is a lot of uncertainty in the market as many buyers seem to be in a ‘wait and see’ mind frame. Interest rate hikes have cooled buyer demand and increased marketing time.”

In the week ending Oct. 13, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.92%, according to Freddie Mac, the highest average rate since April 2002. A year ago, the 30-year fixed rate was well under half that, at 3.05%.

“The higher interest rates have sidelined many buyers who may now be unable to purchase based on their increase in payments, while others are sidelining their search in hopes that rates will again come down,” she said.

“We are seeing more price reductions and increased days on market,” Hess added, “though I’m not sure if it is based upon properties being overpriced; … interest rate hikes; more properties to choose from; apprehension of our overall economy; or a combination of a few of these factors.”


The Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties reported that 947 homes sold in Adams County through September, the same as this time last year. In York County, 5,047 settlements were recorded during the first nine months of 2022, a 7% decrease from last year.

In September alone, the 111 homes sold in Adams County were 8% fewer than the prior year. York County’s total last month – 565 – was 19% below the September 2021 figure.

The median sales price in Adams County was $275,000, a 7% increase since last September. In York County, the median fell 4%, to $249,900.

Year to date, the median sales price in Adams was $279,000, a 13% jump from 2021 at this time. The median sales price in York climbed to $245,000, a 10% increase from the first three quarters of 2021.

“The real estate market has been in the process of adjusting recently due to several economic factors impacting buyer enthusiasm,” including the jump in mortgage interest rates, Elle Hale, the Realtors’ association president, said in a release.

“Homes have been sitting on the market slightly longer than they were a few months ago and sellers have needed to adjust to these changing market conditions.”

Hale said in a phone interview that if houses are priced in a “marketable range” sellers won’t have to reduce the price.

Buyers are still coming from other states, adding to local demand, she said.

The mortgage rates increases, however, are especially tough for first-time buyers, Hale said, “who have to consider what they want their monthly payment to be.”

Lancaster County

In Lancaster County, closed sales declined 16.2% in September, from 579 to 485. Of the houses sold, 297 were on the market no more than 10 days.

Meanwhile, the median sold price – $299,900 – was down 4.8% from August but up 13.2% from September 2021.

Average days on market was 16 in September. The average sold to OLP ratio was 101.5%, as some homes were still selling for above asking price.

Like Hess and Hale, Lancaster County Association of Realtors President Greg Bardell said rising interest rates continue to negatively affect overall market activity.

“As the numbers show, we are seeing fewer listings coming on the market and fewer home sales,” he wrote in an email. “That being said, we are still sitting at about one month of inventory, which still has sellers in control of the market.”

September is historically a slow month, so Bardell said he wasn’t surprised sales were soft. “One thing I am seeing is that we are now trending below the five-year averages for new listings, new pendings and closed sales. I think that trend probably continues through the winter.

“I should also note that there are parts of the country (that) experience numbers a lot worse than what we are seeing here. Lancaster continues to be a steady, diversified real estate market despite the slowdown.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Funding approved for RTP grants in Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry counties

More than $7 million in funding for 13 improvement projects in Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties has been approved by the Harrisburg Area Transportation Study (HATS). Funding was approved under HATS’ 2022 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Implementation Grant Program.

Under the RTP, the status of transportation projects and programs is documented, long-term needs are identified, and projects are recommended to meet those needs. The long-range RTP establishes a framework and priorities for the expenditure of federal transportation funds over a 25-year period. It currently extends to 2045.

HATS staff and PennDOT District 8 will coordinate with awardees on the timing of the projects based on readiness and availability of matching funds, said HATS Coordinating Committee Chairman Jeff Haste.

“This important grant program helps municipalities to fund local transportation projects that otherwise may not fit existing sources,” said Haste. “It really fills a gap and helps implement the goals of the regional transportation plan.”

The following is a list of the 2022 grant awards:

Cumberland County

  • Camp Hill Borough: $88,000, Camp Hill Bypass Alternative Transportation Feasibility Analysis.
  • Lemoyne Borough: $938,560, Phase II Streetscape Improvements.
  • Silver Spring Township: $96,000, Carlisle Pike Alternative Transportation Corridor Study.
  • South Middleton Township: $434,596, Forge Road Bicycle Facilities Implementation Project.

Dauphin County

  • Hummelstown Borough: $48,000, Hummelstown Alternative Transportation Study.
  • Hummelstown Borough: $924,323, Hummelstown Borough Pedestrian Improvements.
  • Lower Paxton Township: $977,427, Union Deposit Road Corridor Improvements
  • Middletown Borough: $1,074,081, Emaus Street Streetscape Project.
  • Millerstown Borough: $56,000, Millerstown Borough Bike/Ped Feasibility Assessment.
  • Susquehanna Township: $30,000, Susquehanna Township Comprehensive Bike, Pedestrian, and Greenway Plan.

Perry County

  • Newport Borough: $520,000, Sidewalks and Curbs Reconstruction Phase 2.
  • Perry County: $1,000,000, County Covered Bridge Bundle Project 1.
  • Perry County: $869,428, County Covered Bridge Bundle Project 2.

A GIS-based story map of the awardees was developed by HATS to aid in meeting discussions and subsequent outreach and communication efforts.

HATS is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties and their 103 municipalities. It works with federal, state and local agencies and officials from throughout South-Central Pennsylvania, including the City of Harrisburg and Capital Area Transit, to meet the transportation needs of an area covering nearly 1,700 square miles.

HATS’ lead staff agency is the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC), located in Harrisburg.

Local home prices may be starting to stabilize

As the local housing market slows to a less frenetic pace, home prices in some areas show signs of stabilizing, according to August numbers.

Harrisburg region

Closed sales in Cumberland County totaled 358 last month, down 5.8% from a year ago. The median sales price was $300,000 in August, 13.2% more than 12 months earlier, and average days on market was 14.

Sales fell 9.3% – to 341 – in Dauphin County, where the median sales price of $230,000 was 6.5% less than in August 2021. Average days on market was also 14.

And in less populous Perry County, year-over-year sales last month were down 7.3%, to 38. As in Dauphin, the median sales price dropped, from $230,000 to $202,450. Average days on market in August was 12.

“It’s still a case of supply and demand,” Sylvia Hess, 2022 president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, wrote in an email. “Although the demand frenzy has cooled a bit, supply is still critically low.”

She noted that prices are still considerably higher than they were in August 2019, which was pre-pandemic.

In Cumberland, the median sales price three years ago was $218,500, and active listings were 817, compared with 336 in August 2022.

In Dauphin, the median was $184,900, and active listings totaled 783, compared with 357 three years prior.

In Perry, $153,750 was the median in August 2019, while active listings were 112, or almost two-and-a-half times more than the 46 from last month.

Hess said that listings are generating fewer offers, and some properties are staying on the market longer. But they still sell fast if the price is right.

The need for properties to be priced appropriately from the start is key right now, she said, as compared with the last nine to 12 months, where homes were selling over list price and multiple offers were commonplace.

She said the market “isn’t the same as it was six months ago, let alone six weeks ago. Buyers are seeing more opportunities to negotiate, we are seeing home inspections once again become contingencies to offers.” There are also fewer cash offers.

“We are still in the midst of a very robust real estate market,” Hess explained. “It seems things are stabilizing, which is … great … for buyers.”


The Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties reports that 835 homes have sold in Adams County in the first eight months of 2022, which is a 2% increase from this time last year. In York County, there were 4,475 settlements through August, a 6% decrease from a year ago.

The year-to-date median sales price in Adams County is $279,000, a 14% jump from 2021, while the median sales price in York County is $244,360, an 11% increase.

In August alone, 112 houses sold in Adams County, 2% fewer than at this time last year. York County saw a 14% decrease in home sales, with 631.

The median sales price in Adams County was up 3% to $278,500, and the median sales price in York County was $250,000, a 7% increase from last year.

“It is important to keep in perspective that 2020 and 2021 were historical years in that they broke all previous records in terms of the number of home sales in one single year,” Elle Hale, 2022 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, said in a release.

“The pace we are seeing today is similar to real estate market trends in 2019. Anyone who was in real estate in 2019 would tell you it was a great year.”

Mortgage interest rates have now surpassed 6% for a 30-year, fixed mortgage. As long as buyers stick with a manageable monthly mortgage payment that they’re comfortable with, they’re in good shape, Hale said in a phone interview.

Average days on market in York County is 8, she said, which shows inventory is still moving fast.

As people return from vacation and settle their kids in school, the number of listings may rise.

“We’re moving back toward a healthy market,” Hale said, which is three to six months of inventory. “We’re not quite there.”


In Lancaster County, closed sales fell slightly, from 580 in August 2021 to 571 in August 2022. Year to date, they’re down 10.3%.

The median sold price was $315,000, which was 11.9% more than the $281,500 recorded a year ago. July’s median was $300,500, so month over month home prices rose 4.8%.

Also, average days on market was 15, and the average sold to original list price ratio was 103.1%, as some houses continue to sell for above asking price.

Among properties that sold, 458 went under agreement within 20 days – 369 of them within 10 days.

“It looks like more of the same – listings are down, pending sales are down and closed sales are down year over year,” Greg Bardell, 2022 president of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors, wrote via email.

“Remarkably, (the) median sale price remains up (11.9%) and we still have less than one month of inventory … . With 458 active listings and 571 closed sales, we have about 24 days of inventory for sale. Interest rates have bumped up again and with a lot of focus on the economy nationally, I think a lot of people are pausing to see what happens next.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Cumberland County maintains coveted ‘AAA’ S&P bond rating

In advance of a bond issuance, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners announced Monday that the county’s “AAA” Standard & Poor’s Global Rating was confirmed by S&P.

Cumberland County has been “AAA” rated – the highest S&P bestows – since 2008 and is one of only five Pennsylvania counties with this rating, a release noted.

“Because of the county’s ‘AAA’ rating, it allows the county to save taxpayer dollars on interest when issuing a bond,” said Chief Operating Officer Dana Best. “Over the past 14 years, the county has been able to save more than a million dollars, thanks to our good financial standing.”

The S&P report highlighted Cumberland County’s strong economy and diverse tax base as well as its healthy financial position, buttressed by very strong flexibility and liquidity, and balanced

Standard & Poor’s also praised Cumberland’s financial management policies and practices; manageable debt burden; and well-funded pension and pay-as-you go other post-employment

“We view the county’s strong management team as the driver of the financial performance and a key credit strength,” the report said. “Management uses comprehensive long-term planning,
scenario stress tests and conservative budgeting practice to maintain the county’s healthy financial profile.”

The “AAA” rating improves the county’s position during the sale/auction of the bond. An auction took place May 25 for a $14.4 million bond for the improvements to the county’s public safety radio network.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Two Pennsylvania railroad rehab projects receive $16.4 million in grant funding 

Railroad infrastructure projects in Berks County and Adams and Cumberland counties will receive a total of $16.4 million in grant funding. 

Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week that the Gettysburg & Northern Railroad Co. was awarded up to $1.84 million and the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Berks was awarded up to $14.6 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants. 

The grants were made possible by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed last November. The law included $368 million in funding for CRISI grants for 46 projects in 32 states. 

The funding is expected to strengthen supply chains and create good-paying jobs, according to the Wolf Administration. 

“Rail infrastructure is critical to this commonwealth, as we rank first in the nation in the number of operating railroads and nearly top in total track mileage, so this funding will ensure that our infrastructure remains strong and reliable, while creating good-paying jobs,” said Wolf. “I’m grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for its continued commitment to investing in our infrastructure through the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will make a significant difference for not only our physical infrastructure but also our economy and our workforce.” 

Gettysburg & Northern Railroad Co. will use its grant funding for the Gettysburg State and Private Investments Driving Economic Recovery Project, which is expected to rehabilitate approximately 24 miles of the Gettysburg & Northern Railway mainline in Adams and Cumberland counties. 

The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Berks will use its funding for its Colebrookdale Railroad Infrastructure, Safety & Capacity Upgrade. The proposed project will rehabilitate approximately 8.6 miles of track with 130-pound continuous welded rail to ensure compliance with class 2 track standards and the ability to able to handle 286,000-pound railcars between Boyertown and Pottstown. The project will also rehabilitate or replace 14 bridges that are deteriorating, construct two rail-served transload yards, and six new sidings. 

West Manchester Town Center sold for $42.5M

JLL Capital Markets announced this week that it closed the sale of West Manchester Town Center, a 488,037-square-foot retail complex in York County.

A Paramount Realty Joint Venture purchased the property for $42.5 million, BizNewsPA reported. JLL represented the seller, ATR Corinth Partners.

“We at ATR Corinth are excited about the redevelopment of West Manchester Town Center into a dynamic retail center that will serve the community for decades,” Partner Tony Ruggeri said in a release. “As with any project of this size, we would like to thank the officials at West Manchester Township, the Redevelopment Authority of York County and the residents of the township and county for their support in this transformation.” Based in Lakewood, New Jersey, Paramount Realty owns and operates a portfolio of more than 15 million square feet throughout the Northeast, including other retail centers in central Pennsylvania.

On 94.1 acres, West Manchester Town Center is at 415 Town Center Drive and features such national retailers as Kohl’s, At Home, HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby and Burlington.

The release noted that the property drew more than 4.2 million customer visits over the last year, the second most visits to an open-air shopping center within a 15-mile radius.

“We have seen renewed demand for best-in-class power centers over the last 24 months, which speaks to the positive macro performance of big box retailers as we exited the pandemic,” added JLL Senior Director Chris Behr.

“With an extremely competitive bid process, West Manchester is a perfect example of this ongoing trend.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Meet the women chosen to receive CPBJ’s Women of Influence Awards 

The Central Penn Business Journal is celebrating 39 of the midstate’s most influential, up and coming and successful business leaders as part of its 2022 Women of Influence awards. 

This year’s honorees fall into three categories: Women of Influence, Women to Watch and Circle of Excellence. 

The Women of Influence award honors high-achieving women for their career accomplishments. The honorees are selected based on their professional experience, community involvement, leadership and sustained commitment to mentoring. 

Women to Watch honors women leaders 35 or younger who demonstrate outstanding professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to positive change. 

Circle of Excellence honorees are women of longstanding, notable success in the community who are leading the way for other women. 

See the full list here.

To be eligible for the awards, candidates must live or work in the central Pennsylvania area, which includes Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York counties. 

“The 2022 Women of Influence honorees are leading companies, creating new products, changing the way we do business and most importantly, paving the way for future generations of women. They are providing an incredible impact on the Central Pennsylvania region,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, senior group publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal. “The women being inducted into the Circle of Excellence have demonstrated longstanding, notable success in their industries and in the community, and the Women to Watch honorees are the next generation of women leaders in Central Pennsylvania. Central Penn Business Journal is honored to recognize the accomplishments of these incredible women.” 

As of May 24, sponsors for this year’s event include: 

Presenting Sponsor, Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz; Supporting Sponsor, Buchanon Ingersoll & Rooney PC; Awards Sponsor, UPMC; Social Media/Red Carpet Sponsors, Highmark and Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences; and Celebration Sponsors, Barley Snyder, Boyer & Ritter, Central Penn College, Conrad Siegel, McNees Wallace & Nurick, Mid Penn Bank, Pennian Bank, PeoplesBank, a Codorus Valley Company, RKL and WellSpan Health.

Smart growth toolkit available to municipalities, public

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission has launched an online “planning toolkit” with the goal of providing local governments with, and educating the public about, the techniques and policies promoting up-to-date smart growth principles.

The toolkit was developed after more than a year of research and preparation by the commission, a land use and transportation planning agency serving Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties and their 103 municipalities.

It received a $37,500 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the project.

The toolkit includes fact sheets and reference materials on environmental, subdivision, transportation and zoning topics, along with model ordinances to guide municipalities as they create their own. Under “environmental topics,” visitors to the site can find fact sheets on such subjects as agricultural resource protection, brownfield redevelopment, conservation easements and stormwater management. And “zoning topics” includes such topics as accessory dwelling units, affordable and attainable housing, short-term rentals and warehouse zoning.

Some of the model ordinances in the toolkit cover medical marijuana, riparian forest buffer protection, solar energy systems, stormwater, and subdivision and land development.

The commission’s executive director, Steve Deck, said in a release that the toolkit will be updated regularly.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union expands community charter 

York-based Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union (FCU) announced that it will now serve clients in Adams, Cumberland and Dauphin counties. 

The National Credit Union Administration approved the credit union’s community charter expansion in April. 

The expanded charter allows businesses or anyone who works, worships or attends school in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties to use the company’s loan products and banking services, according to Heritage Valley. 

“The board and staff of Heritage Valley FCU are excited about the opportunity to serve the residents of Adams, Cumberland, and Dauphin counties; as we have done for York County residents for so many years,” said Mike Gutshall, president and CEO of Heritage Valley FCU. 

Heritage Valley FCU has operated in York County since 1935 and currently operates three branches throughout the county.