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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:34 PM
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,630 posts, read 13,681,495 times
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A few days ago I went to Harrisburg for a day trip. I took in the State Capitol, the State Museum, strolled along the park by the edge of the Susquehanna - there was a fair with booths and food stalls, strolled around the historic Capitol district and the nearby Midtown district. Had both lunch and dinner in the "Restaurant Row" part of 2nd Street. Browsed in a terrific bookstore and cafe on 3rd Street in the midtown area.

I had been to Harrisburg 3 or 4 times before, most recently about 5 years ago - so this was not my first visit.

I took the back roads through Hershey and Ephrata home late that night ... that was interesting! Young Amish on bicycles up to mischief at 1 AM!!!! Buggy racing on Route 388!!!!

They say that the population of Harrisburg is only 50,000 people and that is the 9th largest city in Pennsylvania. It is, however, the focal point of a metro area of half a million people.

When arriving in H'burg the first thing that struck me was this city has a much more impressive skyline and most towns with twice the population. It looks much bigger than it actually is.

The State Capitol building is extremely impressive, and I like to tell people is gives the US Capitol a run for it's money. The interiors are gorgeous. My only complaint about the architecture of the building is that the dome copies Michelangelo's design for the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City too faithfully. I wish the dome was more original.

The older neighborhoods near the Capitol seem to be much improved and "gentrified" since the last time I was there. They are very nice. The Victorian townhouses remind me a lot of some of Philly's better neighborhoods. The Restaurant Row was great. I had dinner in a very upscale and trendy place - NOT INEXPENSIVE and up to Philly/NYC/Washington prices! - but quite good nonetheless.

Housing prices - if you're buying a house that is - seem very reasonable; and you get a lot of house for your money. At least compared to Philly. On the other hand, I don't know what your property taxes are like.

Serendipity was finding the great bookstore and cafe on North 3rd Street. Friendly staff, good coffee and snacks, and great selection of books.

My over all impressions of H'burg is very positive. It has a lovely setting on the river. It seems like a clean and tidy smallish city. So many other towns in PA seem either boring or run-down by comparison. Allentown, Erie, Hazleton, Williamsport ... seem like they have been in decline for years.

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Old 07-06-2012, 09:35 AM
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Property taxes in the Harrisburg City limits tend to run high for PA, in addition the City's effective (if not yet nominal) bankruptcy offers a significant upside to taxes and downside for services.

A portion of the debt was guaranteed by Dauphin County as well - although if a pattern of sweetheart property assessments in one particular township were corrected they could likely pay off their portion in one year without a tax rate increase.

One formerly active poster said that the neighborhoods within signt of the Capitol were acceptable, otherwise not (strangely, compared to other cities, going uphill in Harrisburg seems worse). Of course, if you apply City of Philadephia standards, even South Allison Hill is a garden spot!
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