Dauphin County Library System begins $3.5 million expansion of historic riverfront library

A rendering of Dauphin County Library System’s incomming expansion to its McCormick Riverfront Library. PHOTO PROVIDED.

The Dauphin County Library System broke ground on a $3.5 million project on Thursday that will combine two historic Harrisburg properties. 

The library system’s project will expand its McCormick Riverfront Library by connecting it with the 5,458-square-foot Front Street residence of Sara Haldeman Haly, who seeded the Dauphin County Library System in 1896. 

When finished, the combined building will boast more than a 3,400-square-foot family area incorporating STEAM learning support, a 950-squaure-foot public meeting space, added public computer resources and more, said the library system in a press release. 

“We’re excited to get started and look forward to standing here about a year from now and welcoming everyone to a dynamic educational and cultural center,” said Karen Cullings, the Dauphin County Library System’s executive director. “The demand for our services has never been higher, and this location in the heart of downtown Harrisburg is easily accessible.”   

The project is expected to be finished in 2022 and the library will remain open during that time. 

The library system is paying for the project with funds from its “Your Place to Belong” campaign. The campaign has raised $2.6 million, or 76% of its goal. 

“For more than a century, this community has generously donated its time and treasure to The Library,” said Your Place to Belong campaign co-chair Andrew Enders. “Now, The Library is returning the favor by investing in the community. We are well on the way to creating an ideal space that models the direction of libraries for the 21st century and beyond.” 

Land preservation nonprofit opens headquarters in historic York County building

The former Western Maryland Railway Freight Offices in downtown York will be the new headquarters for local nonprofit the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County. PHOTO PROVIDED

A historic office building in downtown York is getting its first tenant since being renovated by a local developer.

York-based land preservation nonprofit the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County is moving its headquarters to the Western Maryland Railway Freight Offices on the corner of North George Street and the Codorus Creek. The 2,684-square-foot railroad office building was built in 1896 and was most recently used as a transfer station for grain.

Real estate developer Kinsley Properties began a preservation project last year to restore the space using drawings from its original design, the firm wrote in a statement on Monday. Renovations included restorations to the building’s exterior, arched windows and masonry, including stone sills and brick.

“The Western Maryland office project showcases our company’s ongoing commitment to community investment and historic preservation projects,” said Timothy Kinsley, president of Kinsley Properties. “ We hope it sends a message that the momentum of revitalization in York remains alive and well.”

The building’s new tenants, the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County, currently operate from their headquarters at 156 N. George Street. The nonprofit specializes in conservation easements, or deed restrictions that restrict and limit development on private property. Sean Kenny, the organization’s executive director, said they are on pace to protect 1,500 acres of land in York county this year.

“This new office will only enhance our downtown visibility to attract new partners and do more to advance our long term mission,” Kenny said.