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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:48 PM
3 posts, read 3,686 times
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My Husband is about to start his new job in Middletown! We were advised by way too many people to avoid living in Middletown at all costs. We are looking at Hummelstown, originally because that's our last name, but after doing research it looks good in my opinion

I want to hear the good and the bad about the area! I did hear that it is going down hill... but I am unsure about this.

We have a 4 year old daughter. Safety is our top concern. Could anyone recommend a good area to live in Hummelstown or near it?

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Old 01-12-2015, 09:10 PM
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I don't think Middletown is that bad, especially for being squeezed between the airport and Three Mile Island. It's kind of middling average, neither scary nor sexy I guess. The Penn State branch campus, Amtrak station (soon to be replaced), and relatively easy highway access are pluses. It also has relatively large lots for detached houses in town, compared to the 40x100-ish postage stamps typical of older southeastern PA towns.

Most of the southern portion of the Hummelstown 17036 zip code is in Derry Township Home which is the municipality which also includes most of the Hershey 17033 zip, and the Hershey K-12 public schools Derry Township School District / DTSD Homepage rated among the best in PA. This community might be in the running for the safest place on planet Earth. Crime, while not unknown in a municipality of 20k+ pop., generally consists of the kids running away with their doctor mom and dad's prescription forms, or taking a toke in the parking lot during a concert at Hersheypark. Locals are far more likely to work at the Penn State medical school/hospital complex Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Children's Hospital, College of Medicine - Home - Penn State Hershey than the downsized but still remaining chocolate factories (the chocolate workers tend to live out in Lebanon County). Derry Twp has a real estate premium, especially the parts with the Hershey postal address.

Hummelstown Borough, and most of the surrounding townships barring Derry, are in the also highly rated Lower Dauphin school district Lower Dauphin School District / Welcome to Lower Dauphin Its downtown has several cute shops, including this one of great interest to a 4 year old: Welcome to Toys On The Square, Unusual Toys & Pottery Painting - Toys on the Square (a much better bricks-and-mortar than web experience). A former industrial site on the east side of the borough (where bagged salad was invented) is being converted into a new-urbanist complex VERDE Luxury Apartment Community, and its borough council makes the paper far less often for general stupidity than Middletown's.

Honestly, I don't understand why anyone would say Hummelstown is "going downhill", although traffic is not getting better, and shopping can fall short of the standards of larger metros' suburbs (the box stores/malls are closer to Harrisburg - 20-30 minutes one way real-time - there is a Wegmans in the Harrisburg metro but it's so far "out the West shore" that it's 45 minutes one-way real-time - and IKEA/Nordstrom/REI/etc. are 1.5 hr+ away in Baltimore or Philly suburbs).
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:08 AM
Location: Maryland
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I am not sure if you are renting, stay away from the older apartments in Middletown. It is not really the crime so much as the conditions of some of the apartments. Keep in mind, the older places tend to run on electric heat. Also keep in mind of mold issues, if you see a lease with a mold addendum in it, then that place has mold issues. Personally. Middletown is meh!

Hummelstown is a good area in general. Traffic is the biggest issue but in Central PA, you really can't escape it. Every town has its issues but I personally don't think Hummelstown is going downhill.

Bottom line, you need to spend some time in these towns and see what you think. I will say ki0eh is on point with his post.

Best of Luck.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:04 AM
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Yep, with all this PA natural gas supposedly seeking a market, in the 717 there are even rowhomes and "semi-detached" houses with electric or fuel oil heat (perhaps with a now rusty oil fill poking out through what used to be a coal chute). Anything built in the Carter administration or thereabouts will lack natural gas, and some older areas never had gas lines either (some have gas lines that need to be re-run). Another example of our progressive infrastructure failure.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:50 AM
Location: Paradise
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We live in the area and it's not bad at all. We don't have kids so I can't really comment on the schools.

ki0eh pretty much nailed it.

Shopping is not completely inconvenient, but the selection is a little limited. While there are about 5 Giant markets in the area (with the Middletown one being the "worst") each one is different in offerings. The demographics of the immediate vicinity are VERY apparent in each store.

If I may ask, where are you coming from? Coming from a much more urban area, this is like idyllic countrified living to me. Quiet, and very safe.

I don't know how it's considered going "downhill" as I've only been here 2 years, but I suppose that could be a result of the economy of late.

The only recommendation I would make is see if you can live in Derry Township rather than Hummelstown proper. I think the township has a few more ammenities than the Boro and there is some political friction there with services. (We got that from the guy at the township recycling center).
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:00 PM
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Hope I can shed some light... relocated with family here almost six months ago. We are still adjusting to central PA but we came here from NW PA for our work.

The previous posters are pretty much on point, and with having the same concerns with schools and kids I can provide my opinions.

Hummelstown (Lower Dauphin Schools), Hershey (Derry Township) and Palmyra (Lebanon County) have some of the best schools here and around PA. The are all very comparable and if you research them all on school digger.com you will see how they rank. I have went round and round about changing mine from Palmyra to Hershey to Lower Dauphin BUT they all are just so comparable.

In the 2014 stats that just came out Palmyra HS jumped up quit a bit to like 86 in the state. Hershey came in slightly higher and I think LD in the middle...

You should check out each town and their perspective schools. Hummelstown, Hershey and Palmyra all blend together from Harrisburg east.

In my opinion Hummelstown is nice in its own way, but it is closer to the city of Harrisburg itself and in my opinion crime is out of control in the city itself.

The three areas of Hummelstown, Hershey and Palmyra seem from our experience to keep a close watch on crime spilling over from the city, but does it really have any boundaries? Just my thought.

All areas have there positives and negatives and real estate is definitely more expensive in Hershey not to mention limited.

Which ever area you decide on don't forget you can enjoy the good things about each little community due to their close association with one another. Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:02 PM
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Also the other poster is accurate about Derry Township. As a whole they seem to invest the most back into the community but that is of course reflected in the taxes.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:05 PM
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Just wish Harrisburg City could be turned around to make the entire metro area more appealing.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:22 PM
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Thank you so much for the responses. He has been staying with family in Mechanicsburg until we settle on the area we plan on living in. We will be renting for a while before we consider buying. He said that Mechanicsburg seems nice. Anyone have any input on that? I know people usually recommend east or west shore. I just don't know!

Are the mechanicsburg schools comparable to Hershey?

So many choices...
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:13 PM
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The Cumberland Valley schools (much of what has a Mechanicsburg postal address, to the north) are considered one of the premier school districts, at least by real estate agents. It is a large district.

Mechanicsburg Area (the borough limits and south) is smaller, and at least better than average for PA.

The Mechanicsburg postal address goes so far out that it may include other school districts than these two.

There might be a greater variety of new-build homes in CV, and you would be closer to Wegmans but there is also traffic befitting a larger metro between these areas and Middletown.

I would personally not bother to be further out that way, as I don't really see these areas as being that much if any better than Derry/LD (although Upstate NY born and bred does make me miss Wegmans).

Traffic is every day bad and sometimes worse, missing kids' activities might be frequent and the gas money (possibly Turnpike toll too) saved can fix homes too.
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