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Nonprofit campus discussed for land near Giant in Carlisle

This article was published on February 10th on Cumberlink.com

A large campus of several nonprofit services and organizations contained in one location could be on its way to the Carlisle area in the not-so-distant future.

Jonathan Bowser, CEO of Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp., presented such a proposal to South Middleton Township Supervisors Thursday. “We saw it as a unique experience to have services all in one area,” Bowser said.

Although preliminary plans for a nonprofit campus are still on the drawing board, Bowser said he wanted to “go back with feedback” from the township for agencies interested in participating in the project.

Bowser said he can’t disclose which organizations are interested in the project, but did say that it includes “a medical clinic, a group home and a K-12 school.”

The campus would be built on a 63.77-acre subdivision between South Spring Garden and East Baltimore streets, near the Giant on Spring Garden Street, known as the Smith Farm tract. A border for South Middleton and Carlisle Borough runs through the property.

In October, township supervisors approved a final minor subdivision plan of the Smith Farm tract that divided it into a 63.77-acre lot and a 24.77-acre lot. The smaller lot is being purchased by Carlisle United Methodist Church, which is relocating from 45 S. West St. in Carlisle and building a new facility. Church construction is tentatively scheduled for 2018, pending township approval.


The larger parcel is zoned as industrial, which technically doesn’t fit what Bower is proposing, township community development director Brian O’Neill said.

“We are unsure at this point which zone would fit (this project) best. That would determine if and what zoning variances would be required,” Bowser said.

Township officials said commercial zoning might work in this instance, with the exception of any senior living complex that would be built there. However, officials said they would be willing to work with Bowser regarding zoning issues as plans develop.

“We love the concept. It’s a great idea,” township supervisor Duff Manweiler said.

Bowser said he expects to submit plans for the project to the township “later this year, hopefully by the fall.” He predicted that the entire project has a timeline of 24 months.

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