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Carlisle launches “Connectivity” redevelopment project

By Roger DuPuis

This article was published on Central Penn Business Journal on August 4, 2016.

A high-ranking federal transportation official was on hand this afternoon as the Borough of Carlisle formally kicked off a multi-million dollar community redevelopment project.

U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez joined Mayor Tim Scott and other officials for the groundbreaking of a plan to transform the former International Automotive Components factory site into a mixed-used entertainment, retail, and housing center development.

“We are excited to be connecting the people of Carlisle to renewed neighborhoods, more walkable streets, and better job opportunities, and we are grateful for all of our partners who are helping make this happen, including the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Scott, who grew up in this northwest quadrant of Carlisle and who has dedicated himself to its renewal.

Scott said the project will create about 3,000 jobs and improve economic prospects for many in the neighborhood, including low-income residents, including members of the borough’s African-American community.


A rendering of the intersection of North Hanover Street, Penn Street and Fairground Avenue shows the area the Borough of Carlisle is seeking to redevelop.

A rendering of the intersection of North Hanover Street, Penn Street and Fairground Avenue shows the area the Borough of Carlisle is seeking to redevelop. – (Submitted)

Between 2008 and 2010, three major factories closed and hundreds of jobs were lost in the northwest quadrant, in the area around Route 11, Fairgrounds Avenue and Carlisle Springs Road. Since then, the borough has been working on ways to redevelop the vacant properties, including the International Automotive Components/Masland site, and the Carlisle Tire & Wheel site.

Working with the private sector and neighborhood groups, borough and Cumberland County officials created plans for a mix of entertainment, hotels, retail shops, affordable housing, market rate housing, and community parks.

But that vision also requires upgrades to the neighborhood’s infrastructure, including intersections, roadways and stormwater management. The proposed public works — to the intersection of Carlisle Springs Road and Hanover Street, the intersection of Fairgrounds Avenue and Hanover Street, and to the roadways at B Street, C Street, Fairgrounds Avenue and Carlisle Springs Road — are called the “Carlisle Connectivity” project.

The borough, the county and private sector partners have obtained grants from state, regional and federal sources, while the borough also is working on plans to raise local funding through a Tax Increment Finance program.

Those efforts are getting another major shot in the arm from federal transportation officials, with today’s announcement of a $5 million grant under the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. Carlisle was one of only 40 communities nationwide to receive a 2016 TIGER grant, officials said.

“We are excited about this team effort that has taken place,” said Carlisle Events co-owner/co-founder Bill Miller, Jr., whose organization is major force behind the site redevelopment.

“Today’s groundbreaking and TIGER Grant award will undoubtedly help bring this project to life and brings us together today to jump start it all,” Miller said, adding that construction on the commercial and residential elements is expected to begin next spring and take three to five years.

Mendez noted that the TIGER program is very competitive, but Carlisle’s application impressed federal officials.

“Not every community can say they received a TIGER grant,” Mendez said.

“Stuff like this doesn’t happen without people coming together in earnest to improve their community,” he said. “Whatever you’re doing, it seems to be working.”

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