Dauphin County Commissioners cut ribbon on five new Susquehanna Township homes financed by county’s Land Bank

Posted On On: October 27, 2016 Categories Filed Under: Member News

SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP, PA (October 25, 2016) – Five new town homes now sit where a line of trash-filled and half collapsed duplexes once blighted the 4700 block of Tuscarora Street thanks to the latest revitalization project funded by the Dauphin County Land Bank.


The Dauphin County Commissioners, who created the Land Bank in 2013, today held a ribbon cutting to officially put the new homes on the market. Each unit features three bedrooms, 1 ½ baths, a small deck off the dining room, unfinished basements and a full kitchen with dishwasher. Additionally, the homes, listed for $140,000, have electric heat pumps, efficient tankless hot water heaters and central air.


“For years the potential of this quiet neighborhood just a block away from the Susquehanna River was being destroyed by a row of rotting, dilapidated buildings that were even being used as an illegal dump site,’’ said County Commissioner Chairman Jeff Haste. “These new homes represent why we created the Land Bank – to help municipalities fight blight and to improve the quality of life of our residents. Not only the buyers of these homes benefit, but this project has raised the entire neighborhood.’’


One local realtor, Cynthia Brown with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, is selling the property. For more information about Brown’s listings, call her at 717-652-6015 or go to www.coldwellbanker.com/agents/Cyndi-Brown-17112.


For those who qualify, the county has a First-Time Home Buyers Program that offers up to $3,000 to help with closing costs. More information is available at www.DauphinCounty.org.


The overall project costs $625,000 – an expense that would be difficult for most municipalities to handle on their own, said Commissioner Mike Pries.


“Municipalities don’t have the resources to make these neighborhood improvements, which is why the Land Bank is so important,’’ Pries said. “We are working with municipalities across the county to help keep neighborhoods intact and return properties to the tax rolls, which truly benefits everyone.’’


The Tuscarora Street project, which began in August 2015 and was completed by Marysville-based BS Smith Services, Inc. and Smith Homes Inc., marks the second Land Bank success. In 2015, a ranch home renovated in the 3500 block of Centerfield Street of Susquehanna Township was sold to a family for about $120,000.


Additional projects are planned in Steelton and Penbrook, with the demolition of vacant, deteriorating homes.


“Even a single blighted home can have an outsized, negative impact on a community, driving down property prices and tearing at the very fabric of a neighborhood,’’ said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “The Land Bank program is one way this board is able to directly help people’s quality of life.’’


The commissioners were the first to take advantage of a state law passed in January 2013 allowing counties and municipalities to create land bank authorities dedicated to working with municipalities and school districts to buy, repair and sell vacant residential and commercial properties. Once restored, the properties can be returned to the property tax rolls and become assets once again to the community.


To start the Dauphin County Land Bank, the commissioners used $250,000 in gaming money. Ongoing funding for the land bank comes from the sale of the restored homes or businesses and agreements between the county and host municipalities and school districts to give half of the post-sale property taxes to the land bank for five years.


To learn more about the Dauphin County Land Bank, go to www.dauphincounty.org/government/community-economic-development/land-bank-authority