Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New Bike Racks in Downtown Harrisburg

The temperature outside has officially reached 90 degrees. So that means summer is here.  What a great time to get out your bicycle and enjoy the many attractions in Harrisburg.  Harrisburg is full of great things to see and do; many of those things are right in the heart of Downtown.  We invite you to visit downtown by foot or bike and if you choose the latter, be sure to lock up your bike at one of our new bike racks.  Eight artistically functional bike racks have been installed throughout downtown. So while you are out and about, be sure to visit a bike rack, maybe even take a picture with one (yes, they are that cool).  Be sure to send us your pics ( and we will post them to our Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Small Business Week May 12 ~16

In a city like Harrisburg, with a population around 50,000 people, we consider ourselves a small city.  We have vibrant neighbors full of small shops and restaurants.  In effort to promote the small businesses, just as we like promote shopping local, we have joined as a partner advocating the Central PA Small Business Week.  The weeklong program from May 12 to 16, coincides with National Small Business Week and is being coordinated by the Central Penn Business Journal.  The program highlights small business as the powerlifters of innovation, economic growth and job creation.
As part of a week full of events focused on helping business owners increase their strength and expand their networks, the DID will be hosting Downtown at Sundown from 5 pm to 7 pm on Wednesday, May 14 at the DID office (22 N. 2nd Street).  Mix and mingle at the Downtown Improvement District. Explore our visitors center featuring information about the region such as upcoming events as well as various attractions while socializing and enjoying hors d'oeuvres and drinks. We invite you to stop in and say hello and then venture out to Restaurant Row and enjoy happy hour in our beautiful downtown. Live Work Shop Dine & Play in Downtown Harrisburg!
Please RSVP to Leigh Ann at Parking information will be provided to you upon RSVP. The event is free but you must RSVP.
We are also pleased that this partnership enables us to offer you, our valued business owners and community members, discounted registration to attend the Central Penn Business Journal's Small Business Strong kick-off event on Monday, May 12 from 3 to 7 pm at the York Barbell Museum.  To get $5 off a regular registration, use our discount code: SBWhdid.
There is also an opportunity to win prizes by entering the Small Business Strong Video Contest.  You could win $10,000 in advertising if yours is the viewers' or judges' choice!  Nominees are being accepted through April 25.
For more information about Small Business Week visit
Support #SmallBusiness #ShopLocal!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Parade - March 22

Officially St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, but in the City of Harrisburg we celebrate for two weekends.  The Capital Region Association of Irish and Celts (CRAIC) invites visitors and residents to celebrate the luck of the Irish this Saturday, March 22nd, during the Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.  The Parade will take place in downtown and features over 90 organizations showing off their Irish spirit, stepping off at 2 pm. (Map of the Parade Route) (The parade has a long history of working with the city of York; York celebrates the parade on the weekend of/prior to St. Pat's, while Harrisburg celebrates after)
The CRAIC, formerly the Harrisburg St Patrick's Day Parade Association, has gone through some changes over the last year.  A name change as well as increased focus has brought a renewed energy to this organization.  CRAIC is now a year-round resource for students, educators, and parents.  They provide opportunities to engage in ongoing cultural, educational, religious, historical, economic, and political issues of heritage in the Central Pennsylvania area.
Come downtown on Saturday, enjoy the parade and show off your Irish pride (everyone is Irish on parade day!)  Three Irish pubs are located in downtown - Ceolta's, McGrath's and Molly Brannigan's.  All three will be open early Saturday morning offering Irish breakfast as well as great drink specials.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gridiron Gala Weekend

A few years ago I was introduced to a local organization that has been making a huge impact in rare disease research through partnerships with colleges and universities throughout the country.  As the state capital, Harrisburg is home to many headquarters of state organizations and yet we are so fortunate to also be home to the national headquarters of Uplifting Athletes. 
Uplifting Athletes is an non-profit organization that began in a Penn State University dorm room in 2003.  My friend, Scott Shirley, and his fellow Penn State football teammates founded Uplifting Athletes after the passing of Scott's father due to a rare disease.  The group banded together in an effort to raise money to help benefit research for kidney cancer. Scott's passion for this organization is contagious.  So contagious in fact, that over 20 colleges and universities have joined in the fight against rare diseases, each school choosing their own rare disease to focus on and raise funds for.
This weekend Uplifting Athletes will host the 3rd Annual Gridiron Gala at the State Museum of Pennsylvania on Saturday, March 8 from 7 to 10 pm.  Attendees will hear the story of how Uplifting Athletes began and be inspired to do their part to help fight rare diseases and raise money for research and education. The event also features tailgate style food, entertainment as well as an awesome silent auction. This event is one of my favorites each year.  It is so impressive to see where this group began and how far it has come to be touching lives all over the country.  If you are interested in attending this event, tickets are still available.  Please reach out to Becky Mayes at for more information.  If you can't make the Gridiron Gala, but would like to donate to a great cause, visit and click on donate.  Together we can White Out Rare Diseases!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What we do....

Wow! My apologies.  We have taken quite a long break from blogging.  It is my hope to make a full recovery and start blogging each week moving forward.  This week I would like to bring you up to speed on what it is that the Downtown Improvement District does and explain the territory that we cover.
So what does the Downtown Improvement District do and how does it function?  The DID is a 501 c3 non profit organization that covers a specific territory within downtown.  It is an approximately 25 block area covering the central business district. Our core mission is based on three items: Clean, Safe, & Beautiful.  We provide cleaning services 7 days a week within the coverage area by a subcontracted cleaning crew to supplement the City's existing services. The DID crew sweeps the sidewalks, curbs, removes graffiti & posters/flyers on light poles, provides power washing on the sidewalks (during summer months), picks up liter, as well as several other cleaning related tasks. 
For the past several years, we have also provided additional safety resources to the territory.  A 2-man safety team walks around the territory during warmer months, reporting light outages, broken curbs, downed signs, as well as helps pedestrians with directions or any safety related issues they may have.  As part of the Safety aspect of the mission, we report light outages to the city and most recently, partnered with Harristown Enterprises to replace/repair 38 streetlights downtown. 
Another aspect of our mission is beautification projects.  Each year we purchase hundreds of hanging and potted flower baskets to line the streets of downtown.  The pots typically are hung in May and taken down in October.  The flowers are watered and maintained 7 days a week. We have planted/replaced trees throughout the territory to help create a green environment for visitors and residents alike. Throughout the years of service to the downtown, we have made several donations to the city in regards to beautification.  For example, the snow flake lights that are hung on the light poles during holiday months, were a donation from the DID. 
While clean, safe, and beautiful are our core focuses, the DID provides additional services to the community.  We produce an e-newsletter that goes out each week promoting events happening primarily downtown (and also within the city).  We operate a large LED message board in Market Square (on the M&T Bank Bldg) listing upcoming events.  We post upcoming events on our website as well on social media outlets.  We try to encourage visitors and residents to frequent downtown. We are also responsible for the creation and execution of Harrisburg Restaurant Week (2 weeks).  Entering the 7th year, the event continues to grow and showcase downtown restaurants as premier dining experiences.
Although a brief explanation, this covers what the DID does in a nutshell.  If you were to review what other DIDs, BIDs, NIDs do, you will find that the services provided vary depending on the needs of the community.
Have more questions about the DID... feel free to contact us!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

D.I.D. You Know....

When you drive through downtown each morning on your way to work, you're probably more concerned with keeping your eyes on the traffic around you, the song on the radio and maybe checking your hair to ensure you look good before you head into the office.  But if you've ever looked up, you will notice the light poles are full of vibrant banners displaying the Downtown Improvement District's motto... Live Work Shop Dine Play. The banners have become one of the most recognizable projects that the Downtown Improvement District has done over the last several years, includint the Hometown Heroes Banners, the Susquecentennial Banners and most recently the Live Work Shop Dine Play banners.  So as your drive or walk through downtown, look up and admire the great banners highlighting some of downtown's best qualities.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Friday Night Downtown - January 18

Stepping out on a Friday night in Downtown Harrisburg is always an adventure.  Friday the 18th was no exception.  I headed to Federal Taphouse, Restaurant Row’s latest addition, with my roommate. It was packed, which I didn’t mind because I always like to see downtown businesses busy. The atmosphere was one that I didn’t expect to see in the city. It’s casual and comfortable and there is lots of space inside the Taphouse.  After about a 10 minute wait, we were seated and I had a perfect view of the kitchen as well as plenty of full tables – couples and families, friends and coworkers. With a large chalkboard wall listing all the beers on tap, it was time to make a selection.  I’m not a big beer drinker, so I tried the WoodChuck Pear. Yummy! Both my roommate and I decided to go with Brick Oven Pizzas.  I tried the Margherita pizza while roomie tried the 4 cheese pizza.  Both were delicious and came out rather quickly. For as busy as it was, our service was quite good and our waiter was friendly and entertaining.  I’ll definitely be visiting Federal Taphouse again!
Roomie & I with Caroline Rhea

Caroline Rhea on Stage
Margherita Pizza from Taphouse

Following dinner, we strolled right next door to 2nd Street Comedy Club.  We had tickets to see Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda… for those of you who don’t remember the show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I’m referring to Caroline Rhea.  We arrived around 8:30 pm for the 9 pm show. Thank goodness, because the room was already packed and seating was limited.  I think they oversold the show because several people had to stand the entire time.  The room is small and simple and while I appreciate that you need to have a bar close by, it did become quite a disturbance throughout the show while you’re trying to listen and all you hear is bartenders shaking up ice in drinks.  Caroline even pointed it out multiple times which was a funny addition to her performance. The show lasted right up until her next performance at 10:30 pm, maybe even a little longer.  For my first time at the club, I’m so happy I got to see her perform. She was great.  Will I go back? Of course. It was a neat experience and definitely something new and different.