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New Cumberland: Old Town, New Energy

Sitting across the Susquehanna River from Pennsylvania’s capital is the energized town of New Cumberland, which offers amenities like parks, shops, restaurants, and a cultural arts theatre. There is a revitalized spirit among the businesses and residents, and what lies ahead may be even more captivating.

Among New Cumberland staples like Oxford Hall Celtic Shop, the newly upgraded West Shore Theatre, Nicks 114 Café and Tickle My Senses Gallery, the town has welcomed new businesses like Retro & Rad and Wild Rabbit Pies & Pints (a sister location of Ever Grain Brewing Company). With growing businesses and new leadership, the New Cumberland Borough formulated a plan for rejuvenation of the town.

In September 2022, the New Cumberland Borough Council approved the beginning of a Community Identity and Downtown Master Plan, which was fully adopted by the Borough Council in April 2023. The process included an online survey, multiple workshops and public meetings held in the Borough, market research, and a field assessment. The new plans outline a Community Identity, along with a Downtown Master Plan. The Community Identity encompassed new strategies to improve communications with residents, and a new brand and vision for New Cumberland to market and promote their community as a great place to live, learn, work, and play during its next phase of growth.

The Downtown Master Plan focuses on strategies for redevelopment projects to retain and attract businesses, along with beautification, streetscape improvements and public gathering spaces. The newly approved plan suggested funding opportunities for the Borough, façade improvements, and incentive-based design guidelines so new construction and proposed alterations to existing properties will enhance, rather than adversely affect, the architectural character of New Cumberland Borough.

With the approval of the Downtown Master Plan, several projects are already underway and/or completed, including attracting new businesses, strategizing mixed-use development, signage, public gathering spaces, façade improvements, a new website, and a monthly electronic newsletter. The New Cumberland Borough will also be undergoing a Comprehensive Park, Recreation and Trail Network Plan later this summer, paid in full by a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and a grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Pending funding an exciting project awaits on Third Avenue from Bridge Street to the Susquehanna River Discharge, which would include storm sewer replacement, resurfacing at Riverside Park, new lighting and signage, and a pocket-park with benches, murals, and a community space.

“The Community Identity and Downtown Master Plan provides us a framework to manage change and enhancements in the Borough over the next twenty years and beyond. It’s intended to be a guiding yet flexible document. The Borough will be the entity in charge of incrementally implementing the master plan; however, we look forward to working with partners on many of the projects,” said Valerie Copenhaver, Director of Community and Economic Development. “We look forward to implementing this new plan and seeing how it shapes strategic investment to continue to evolve New Cumberland Borough and the downtown.”

New Cumberland Borough continues to be a great place to live and play and with recent work by the Borough, along with private sector, non-profit entities, individuals and businesses, the town’s renewed energy will be even more attractive to businesses and residents.

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