County Accomplishments 2017-18
Dauphin County is off to a strong start in 2018! The Commissioners held the line on property taxes for an unprecedented 13 years in a row. During the first few months, there’s been other big news, including:
- Keeping our bridges safe
Building on their successful bridge maintenance program, the Commissioners tonight unveiled the Municipal Bridge Project, which gives townships and boroughs the help they need to fix their bridges at a fraction of the cost. Leveraging state and federal dollars, the municipalities will be responsible for 40 percent of the cost and that amount can be financed through Dauphin County Infrastructure Bank loans of less than 1%.
- Helping our children
Giving our children a good start is crucial to ensuring their success throughout life. Dauphin is one of eight counties across the country – and the only one in Pennsylvania – to receive a Pritzker Children’s Initiative grant to develop innovative approaches to supporting families with infants and toddlers. Our Early Intervention Program already ranks among the top four counties in the nation and we are committed to giving all our children the best chance for success.
- 25-year dream of linking Fort Hunter Park to Capital Area Greenbelt becoming reality
Adding the roughly 1.5-mile connector is among upgrades to six intersections and other improvements that are part of $7.5 million in upgrades expected to be completed by mid-2019. Between 100,000 to 400,000 visitors use sections of the Greenbelt every year, and the work ensures families from across the region will continue to have a safe and fun experience.
- Continuing to fight blight and spur the local economy
The county joined with Millersburg in tearing down a factory shuttered since 2011 and will be helping the borough attract new development to the site. This project is part of the Transformation Initiative unveiled last year to reclaim old industrial and commercial sites. The county is also working with Hummelstown to find investors to redevelop the borough’s former municipal complex as well as other commercial and residential projects.
- Making drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic
Ever-more resources are needed to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic ravaging our communities and the Commissioners’ lawsuit demands the drug manufacturers that helped create the problem pay their fair share for drug abuse treatment and prevention programs. Not only are overdose deaths claiming more lives than car accidents, but last year the county spent $19.6 million to help almost 3,000 people suffering from addiction – a nearly 860 percent increase.
- Preserving our farms for future generations
This month, through their Farmland Preservation Program, the Commissioners purchased the easement rights for the 173-acre farm, ensuring it will remain in agricultural use. Since 1992, when the county began buying easements, it has preserved almost 17,000 acres.
- Detweiler Park: a 411-acre jewel in Middle Paxton Township
Thanks to a generous donation from the Detweiler family and a combination of state grants and gaming money, the Commissioners last summer opened the largest of the county’s eight parks. Detweiler offers 7+ miles of walking trails and some of the best fishing around. Now the board is asking residents what they would like to see at the park. Visit www.detweilerpark.org for more info and to fill out a survey.
- Dauphin County’s First Skateboard Park opens in Steelton
Helping with Steelton’s borough-wide revitalization effort, a 28,000-square-foot park opened in September thanks to a combination of gaming grants and county Industrial Development financing. Since opening the park has attracted hundreds of visitors and is helping further boost area businesses and restaurants.
- Transformation Initiative: Continuing to grow our economy
Dauphin was only one of four Pennsylvania communities to receive an EPA grant to pay for environmental assessments of disused industrial sites that are prime locations for redevelopment. The county’s Redevelopment Authority oversees environmental assessments and can help market the properties, while the Land Bank restores or demolishes vacant and blighted homes or commercial buildings. Recent projects include reclaiming former steel mill land as part of Steelton’s Renaissance Row project, featuring 80,000-square-feet of retail space and 46 apartments and a nearby affordable townhouse project with 12 units.
- Dauphin County Land and Infrastructure banks: First-of-their-kind in the state when established in 2013, both banks leverage state and federal money to address critical community needs
Land Bank: Demolished and replaced four decaying homes in Susquehanna Twp.’s Tuscarora St. with five new townhomes and spurred further development in the area. Also demolished Millersburg’s former Reamer & Tool Co. to encourage redevelopment and partnered with Habitat for Humanity to restore a home in Steelton.
Infrastructure Bank: From storm sewer improvements to bridge replacements to intersection upgrades, Susquehanna, Lower Swatara, Swatara, Middle Paxton and Londonderry townships are among the municipalities benefitting from ultra-low-interest loans making critical road and transportation projects possible.
- Gaming Grants: Safety upgrades to CD School District schools, new equipment for Harrisburg police and firefighters in East Hanover, Susquehanna, Wiconisco townships, Steelton and Lykens are among $6 million in awarded gaming grants for 2018 under the revenue sharing program with Hollywood Casino at Penn National. All the projects are expected to attract almost $30 million in additional investment.
- Fighting the opioid epidemic
In addition to holding drug manufacturers accountable, the Commissioners expanded expand availability of treatment and prevention programs, including:
Hiring mobile case managers to respond to emergency room overdoses and arrange for drug treatment
Work with the District Attorney to provide the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) to police and first responders.
Working with area treatment providers, such as Gaudenzia Common Ground, to reduce the waiting list for treatment, especially detox beds.