‘Revitalization fever’ spreads to New Cumberland


NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (WHTM) – New Cumberland is the most recent borough to announce a revitalization effort at its most recent council meeting. It’s one of a handful of downtowns in Cumberland County looking to make changes after it fell behind the times during the economic downturn.

Semoff’s Barber Shop has seen New Cumberland’s downfall in recent years.

“The street was torn up, we lost Coakley’s,” said Chris Semoff, a third generation barber. “I think the recession had a lot to do with it all.”

Semoff’s has always been the place to get a buzz, a bite, or see generations of hometown stories through pictures lining the barber shop walls. Four generations of the family have worked there since their patriarch opened the shop in 1928.

“This has always been a meeting place for the town council and sports,” Semoff said.

Borough Councilman Don Kibler says things have changed, though. One of the borough’s biggest businesses, an anchor to its downtown, Coakley Irish Pub closed down two years ago.

“Those circumstances led to a number of stores just closed down,” Kibler said.

But now, Kibler is leading the efforts to turn the town around.

“Bring back some of the zest we used to have here,” he said.

It’s a similar story we’ve seen in other boroughs across Cumberland County.

“Just the way the economy is going,” said Mary Kuna, economic development manager for Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation. “To bring their communities back to a sense of nostalgic modernism.”

Kuna is overseeing changes in Mt. Holly Springs, Newville, Shippensburg, and others with the “revitalization fever.”

“It’s this vision for the future,” Kuna said.

Six new businesses have already opened in New Cumberland. Kuna says we’ll start to see big changes in the next few years.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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