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New Cumberland: One of Cumberland County’s Best Kept Secrets

Just a stone’s throw away from downtown Harrisburg, the borough of New Cumberland is not your typical West Shore town.

Situated west of the Susquehanna River and bordering the Yellow Breeches Creek, New Cumberland is one of the very few South-Central Pennsylvania communities with a town center.

Borough Councilman Don Kibler said, “We always knew we had a good town, but we wanted to make it better.”

In 2016, New Cumberland’s Community Enhancement Committee shared a vision. They wanted to develop a long-term revitalization strategy for the borough.

“The committee first looked at collaborating with the county, as well as the local economic development corporation,” added the nearly 50-year resident. “They looked to have partners behind the initiative as resources for both expertise and funding.”

Soon after plans for a revitalization strategy were brought to the table and after securing about $50,000 in funding, New Cumberland borough hired Gannett Fleming to lead the creation of a long-term urban development strategy.

Kibler indicated they were seeking a 5-20-year comprehensive plan. He further added, “We weren’t looking to just put on a few fresh coats of paint or awnings to our downtown, we were focused on transforming it for the future and had two long-term goals in mind.”

Long-term goals

With the quality of life and economic vitality nearing the top of the list, the goal of the project was to allow the opportunity for new businesses to relocate or launch in the downtown center, as well as attract more residents to the community.

Kibler explained, “We wanted to be on the path to creating a more active, connected, and desirable community and economic conditions.”

Andy Kohr, a commercial real estate agent with Landmark Commercial Realty, Inc., is thrilled about the revitalization plans.

He said, “As a resident of the borough and someone who has been a part of relocating businesses into the downtown, I have been noticing new energy, good energy. I have been working in commercial real estate for nearly 25 years. Being able to make an impact on the place I call home, in my backyard, is both suiting and fulfilling.”

Currently, the planning and strategy development has switched to implementation mode. Five categories were created as a focus.

    1. ACE – Arts/Culture/Entertainment
    2. SAH – Safe/Active/Healthy
    3. Property Values
    4. Economic Development
    5. New Cumberland Identity & Marketing

 

“Each has its team and team leader that meet regularly, Kibler explained. “They review progress and plan the next steps to take.”

Don Kibler has been a member of the borough council for four years and lived in New Cumberland for nearly five decades. He is originally from a small town just west of Erie (Girard).

He closed with, “I consider New Cumberland to be home. It has so many of the characteristics of the place I was born and raised. I have always felt a closeness to the spirit of small-town Pennsylvania.  I am lucky to be a part of a project that will continue for years to come.”