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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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We are a young, professional, BM/WF couple looking to relocate from Northern VA (DC Metro) to Camp Hill/Harrisburg PA. Although for the most part we have enjoyed life in NoVA and have some close friends here, we are tired of the cost of living (and myself personally of the fast pace of life here) and wish to find a wholly suitable-to-our-desires place to raise a family. Those desires would include a great school district, a suburban area where we can own a home with close proximity to a city to enjoy nightlife & other activities, and more importantly, an area with a sense of community that is diverse, interactive, and accepting of other cultures. We know our expectations are high, but we believe our best option is Camp Hill, PA and we are seeking some honest feedback on the area and its tolerance of interracial families.

I was born and raised in York, PA but moved away about 10 years ago. We visit at least twice a year, as my entire family lives there, but unfortunately even 10 years later I do not feel comfortable moving back and raising bi-racial children there. Although the area has become more diverse demographically (mainly due to the influx of Marylanders), it still seems so segregated, both economically and racially (whites in the suburbs, all other minorities in the city). We know that racism/discrimination exists on some level everywhere and we are not foolishly optimistic that we won't run into this issue at all, but we are hoping that perhaps another similar young professional based city would offer more of the open-mindedness we seek.

So our question is, even though Harrisburg is statistically more diverse, is it segregated along economic and racial lines like York, AND, since Camp Hill is predominantly white, what is the tolerance for interracial families (and bi-racial children in the schools) really like there?

Camp Hill appeals to us because of the well regarded CHSD and the fact that it is minutes from Harrisburg (with plenty of activities and nightlife). Please let us know what your personal thoughts/opinions are on the area, particularly if you are an interracial family that has moved there with firsthand experience of the community. We look forward to your comments!
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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My family has a similar background (BF/WM) and relocation goals. We spotted Harrisburg but are curious to know more about race relations there, in particular whether the diversity is integrated or segregated.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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I've lived in this area since the late 1980's and have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of interracial couples. It's much more common on the east shore (Harrisburg and its eastern suburbs) then it is on the west shore (west of the Susquehanna river, including Camp Hill) however it has been increasing in both areas.

Camp Hill is certainly predominantly white - but it has still changed quite a bit over the years. It's become more liberal (the Republican mayor endorsed Obama in 2008) and has seen an influx of young professionals seeking a somewhat urban, walkable community with close proximity to Harrisburg. I honestly think you will fit in just fine there. Many families move from midtown Harrisburg, which is very diverse, to Camp Hill when their children reach school age.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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If you are looking for a newer subdivision area with highly rated schools then the SW corner of Derry Township, Dauphin County, with a Hummelstown postal address might be suitable. Many professionals associated with Penn State Hershey and otherwise. You can walk to Gelder Park but not to schools or shopping. A visit to Gelder Park shows middle-class kids of many colors. In-town Hershey offers walk to school, rec center, library (not shopping, there isn't any) but noticeably whiter and also pricey for the Harrisburg region.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
If you are looking for a newer subdivision area with highly rated schools then the SW corner of Derry Township, Dauphin County, with a Hummelstown postal address might be suitable. Many professionals associated with Penn State Hershey and otherwise. You can walk to Gelder Park but not to schools or shopping. A visit to Gelder Park shows middle-class kids of many colors. In-town Hershey offers walk to school, rec center, library (not shopping, there isn't any) but noticeably whiter and also pricey for the Harrisburg region.
Good points here. Not that you should overlook Camp Hill, but the massive Penn State Hershey Medical Center and school bring a lot of diversity to the Derry township and Hummelstown area. It's a nice place to live -- albeit on the more expensive side. If you are coming from NOVA it will still be cheaper, however.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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Thank you much for taking the time to reply. If you have another moment, I wonder if you might provide some insight into the mayoral change. I'm aware that Stephen Reed, as mayor for nearly three decades, was instrumental in bringing some favorable change to Harristown. Do you think the new mayor, Linda Thompson, will have a positive force?
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:00 PM
 
4,264 posts, read 10,270,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pupcorn View Post
Do you think the new mayor, Linda Thompson, will have a positive force?
Reed dug a big financial hole with some stupid ideas like a Wild West museum. I don't think LT had or has any platform other than not being Reed. The commenters on pennlive.com run about 99 "no" to 1 "yes" on your question. I hope they're wrong but fear they're right.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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I really don't want to have this discussion on here so I will just mention a few things.

Linda Thompson ran on a race and class warfare campaign strategy. She just barely won. While claiming to be for the "have-nots" and openly telling the "rich" people of Midtown (who, keep in mind, mostly own houses for less then $200,000, hardly rich) that she is not going to do a damn thing to help out their neighborhood, she came into office raising management salaries, hiring cronies and all the while submitting a budget to raise property taxes 20% and water rates 40%. She said she wanted to hire 100 police officers but proposed cutting police overtime in the budget. The woman has been a walking disaster of epic proportions since she came into office. Luckilly, city council on Saturday voted down her awful budget, kept salaries at the same rate as during Reed's tenure and held the line on property taxes and water rates. This is mostly due to the standing-room only city council meetings where city resident after resident got up to speak about how outraged they are at what Linda Thompson is doing.

This is a huge turning point for the city, but in my opinion, the residents have finally woken up (think of how much we let Reed get away with) and despite the mounting problems and enormous debt I think the city will come out leaner and stronger when this is all over. Oh, and Linda Thompson most likely won't get re-elected. I have already heard of quite a few good candidates waiting in the wings for her unavoidable demise.
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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Thanks much, your comments have been insightful.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:06 AM
 
2 posts, read 11,730 times
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danwxman & ki0eh,

Thank you very much for your responses and suggestions! I feel much better about the Harrisburg/Camp Hill area after reading your replies, and we will be sure to look into Derry Township and Hummelstown as well. We appreciate your time!
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