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What's in a name? Rebranding Harrisburg neighborhoods - abc27 WHTM

What's in a name? Rebranding Harrisburg neighborhoods

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Hardscrabble. Engleton. Fox Ridge. What's in a name? Like Romeo and Juliet, Harrisburg residents are falling in love with their city block. City leaders and organizations continue to push 'City Beautiful 2.0,' a movement building micro-neighborhoods.

Living inside any urban setting, many seek to stand out and identify. New York City is famous for its marked neighborhoods such as SoHo, Upper East Side, Chelsea and Tribeca.

Harrisburg's 11.4-square miles have been lumped into a few main neighborhoods. Most know Uptown, Midtown, Downtown and Allison Hill. There is a growing trend to make an early 1900s movement popular once again—micro-neighborhood.

At the turn of the last century, Harrisburg was described as a "dirt hole" by historians. Filth and blight ruled the city at that time. According to national archives, President Theodore Roosevelt put forth a national plan to improve urban settings in 1906, which Harrisburg embraced.

Within 15 years, the city improved and was a hub of growth and prosperity.

City Beautiful 2.0 was launched last spring and is spearheaded by Historic Harrisburg's Jeb Stuart.

"Being able to generate community pride and the involvement and love of neighborhood helps to coalesce," he said.

The movement embodies all facets of Harrisburg from city government, civic organizations, and residents themselves.

Midtown Square Action Council has begun to hang "Historic Midtown" banners. MAC secured a $10,000 Dauphin County Gaming Grant to hang 51 identifiers. The neighborhood will stretch from Verbeke to Forster streets and Front to Third streets.

Harrisburg City's Building and Housing Director, Roy Christ, said his department is working on a marketing campaign to help re-brand neighborhoods and the city as a whole. He encouraged residents or neighborhoods to apply for grants so they could do the similar improvements.

William King who lives in South Allison Hill likes the movement and identifying with his neighborhood.

"I want to be known in my neighborhood, where I live at," he said. "I want to be known in my neighborhood."

There are many labels in certain neighborhoods in Harrisburg that have come and gone. But currently there is a revival of some historic neighborhoods and twists on other.

In Uptown, there is the Italian Lake neighborhood around Third and Division. Further down on 6th Street is dubbed Camp Curtin, named after its Civil War significance.

Midtown has the most sub-sections. Historically, Midtown is bordered from Maclay to Forster streets and 6th to Front streets along the Susquehanna River. Ironically, Olde Uptown is inside Midtown from Reily to Maclay streets and 2nd to 3rd streets.

This breaks down even further to Engleton, which are homes from Kelker to Reily, 3rd to 2nd. Just north of Engleton is known as Capitol Heights, which are homes from Kelker to Reily near 5th and Fulton.

Hardscrabble is not about the board game, rather a neighborhood named after the Hardscrabble Hotel in the neighborhood of Verbeke to Reily and Front to 3rd.

Old/New Fox Ridge around the Jackson House near Boas and Capital streets to Forster has since dropped the "Old" or "New," and residents there just say Fox Ridge.

Downtown is often broken down to the famous Capitol District, Restaurant Row, Central Business District and Historic Shipoke.

Even "The Hill" is broken down to several neighborhoods. North Allison Hill and South Allison Hill residents often try to distinguish the difference between each other. Those living in the hidden gem of Bellevue Park reside in historic homes in the shadow of Bishop McDevitt off Market Street to Rudy.

To the west of Allison Hill sits Mount Pleasant. The neighborhood has been under rejuvenation with the addition of Habitat for Humanity Cape Cod-style homes. Designated a historic neighborhood by the national registry, this neighborhood stretches Market to Brookwood from 19th Street to Allison Bluff.

South Harrisburg is designated from Paxton Street or I-83 to Steelton. Hall Manor is a well-known Harrisburg neighborhood here.

Not everyone believes shrinking the community creates harmony.

"No, nah," said one man in South Allison Hill. "I like being identified as a citizen of Harrisburg. [Micro-neighborhoods] creates a separation. Instead of just saying like we're all from one city. We're all one."

Some hesitancy is connected to Harrisburg's well-known and often reported rivalry between 'The Hill' and 'Uptown,' which fuels retaliatory crimes and violence.

Overall, Stuart believes the sense of pride one feels from living in an identified neighborhood could attract other urbanites to Harrisburg. The movement hopes to attract a great number of property owners, which obviously increases Harrisburg's tax base.

More than that, Stuart believes diversifying neighborhoods leads to a culturally enriched life.

"The weaving of the tapestry of the neighborhood together for the benefit of the whole and the city as a whole, in my opinion is constructive and positive," he said.

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