Steelton hopes future development will transform downtown

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Jun 1, 2018 4:44 AM

Steelton is looking for a developer to transform this former industrial site into a mix of apartments and retail. (Photo: Rachel McDevitt/WITF)

(Steelton) -- An aging steel town in Dauphin County is hoping to attract a developer for a key revitalization project.

The move stems from an effort by both the county and the Borough of Steelton to breathe new life into old industrial sites.

Much of the six-block area on Steelton's Front Street targeted for redevelopment used to be part of a steel mill, but has since been paved over into parking lots.

Borough Manager Doug Brown said a grocery store is a must for the site.

"Steelton is a food desert, so having a grocery store would be a huge plus for us," he said. 

Brown said he'd also like to see a mix of apartments and retail, and maybe even a brewpub.

"Our vision is to have it walkable, so that you can have some plaza elements to it," he said. "So when somebody stops -- one of the 15,000-plus cars that are going up and down Front Street every day -- that they can stop and actually spend some time there."

Developers have until July 27 to submit proposals, which must include a minimum bid of $350,000 for the land, now owned by the Steelton Economic Development Corporation. 

The new development will benefit from a tax abatement zone approved last summer by the county, Steelton and the Steelton-Highspire School District, which means developers will only pay property taxes at the pre-improvement rate for the first ten years. 

Brown hopes a groundbreaking can be held late next year.

Steelton has been reinventing itself recently. It opened its doors to the county's first medical marijuana dispensary earlier this month and built the county's first skate park last year.

But Brown said he thinks this new project could put Steelton back on the map. 

"We do see this as the largest sort of linchpin of our transformation, revitalization as a borough," Brown said. 

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