Lunch with the Mayor Locations Announced

Today the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement announced locations selected for Lunch with the Mayor.  

Lunch with the Mayor will allow Mayor Sorace to meet with residents in a casual environment where she can learn more about them and their neighborhoods. 

Businesses and organizations willing to host were invited to apply in February. The following locations were selected: 

Rafiki Shoppe, 1027 Dillerville Rd. 

Himalayan Curry & Grill, 22 E. Orange St. 

The Alley Kat, 30 W. Lemon St. 

Light of the World Church, 148 Locust St. 

HUBUB World Market, 257 W. King St. 

Church World Services, 308 E. King St. 

Dates are still being finalized and will be released on social media when confirmed. 

Lunch with the Mayor will be open to the public. There is no cost to attend, however, attendees are responsible for their own food and beverage purchases at restaurants.

Mayor's Block Party Recipients Announced

Today the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement announced the 2019 recipients of the Mayor’s Block Parties. 

This year’s recipients include: 

600 block of N. Plum St. 

200 block of S. Ann St.  

600 & 700 blocks of Almanac Ave.  

200 block of Ruby St. 

W. Strawberry St. 

Crystal Park 

The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement will fund and assist resident leaders and neighborhood groups with planning and executing block parties in their neighborhoods. 

Dates for the block parties are still be finalized by the applicants.  

“We’ve asked neighbors what they consider a strong neighborhood to be. One overwhelming theme residents shared is knowing your neighbor, having a good relationship with your neighbor, and an increase in neighborhood-related events where residents can build community. Mayor’s Block Parties are a positive and powerful way for people to connect on their blocks to build stronger, healthier and more cohesive communities. I love block parties!” said Milzy Carrasco, Director of Neighborhood Engagement 

The Mayor’s Block Party was introduced by Mayor Sorace in 2018. W. Strawberry St. was selected as the official Mayor’s Block Party. Southwest Lancaster resident Julia Pelsinski hosted the inaugural Strawberry Street Festival on Sept. 15, 2018. Due to the quality of submissions, sponsorship funds were sought and additional Mayor’s Block Parties were also held on S. Prince St., Beaver St., Chester St., N. Mulberry St., N. Shippen St., N.Queen St. and at Brandon Park.   

Funds are still available for 2019. The deadline to apply for a Mayor’s Block Party has been extended through June 28. Those interested can apply at  

Love Your Block Mini-Grant Recipients Begin Projects

Recipients of Love Your Block mini-grants will soon begin beautification and cleanup projects on Howard Avenue and in the ChurchTowne neighborhood. Projects were selected for grants between 500 and 2,000 dollars earlier this spring.

One project has already been completed. The Cultured Professional Network, lead by resident Marquis Lupton, performed a cleanup outside and on the façade of the Crispus Attucks Community Center on Saturday, May 18. This was the first step of the group’s initiative to rehab the space and provide programming for community education.

“[It’s] such an iconic building and with all the other great stuff going on around Lancaster we figured hey, you know, why don’t we pitch in and have something that we can put our DNA on, we can put our finger prints on, and we can call it our own now,” Lupton said about the project.

Over 80 resident volunteers will be engaged through these projects.

Upcoming projects include:

Rivers Edge Fellowship will install trash cans and a dog waste station and organize a community pickup with neighbors. They will scrape and repaint windows and doorframes on the 500 block of Locust St. They will also host a block party at the end of their project days to bring the community together

Neighbors on the 500 block of North St. will scrape and repaint porches, railings, and doors. They will also purchase trash toters for residents on the block.

Neighbors on Atlantic Ave. will scrape and repaint railings and doors, adding planters to the sidewalk to prevent parking on the wrong side of the street. They will also canvass and promote the City’s Lead Hazard Control Program to neighbors on Atlantic Ave.

The Mix at Arbor Place will work with neighbors to host art workshops to design a mural of Nelson Polite to celebrate Polite’s work in Lancaster. The mural will be installed on the corner of North St. and Atlantic Ave. with LED lighting to prevent criminal activity.

The San Juan Bautista Plaza will install a trash can, as well as lighting and planters around the fencing on Lime. The community center will host public engagement workshops to design public art for the plaza.

Neighbors on the first block of Howard Ave. will install trash cans and partner with Church World Service to organize recurring cleanups on the block. They will also install planters to beautify the space.

Neighbors on the 100 block of Howard Ave. will replace a blighted fence, as well as install a trash can to fight litter. They will also purchase trash toters for neighbors that can easily fit through baker’s alleys between houses.

“Ultimately we're helping neighbors help their neighborhoods. And that's the way to do it. It's designed by neighbors, requires collective action,” said project partner Jack Howell of the Spanish American Civic Association’s Elm Street Program.

The mini-grants are funded through the Love Your Block grant awarded to the City of Lancaster by Cities of Service and supplemented by funds from SACA’s Elm Street Program.

Neighborhood Leaders Academy Begins

The first cohort of Neighborhood Leaders Academy kicked off their six-week training and grant program on Monday, June 3 at City Hall. Classes will continue every Monday through July 8.  

The Neighborhood Leaders Academy was created to identify and cultivate neighborhood leaders. The program will empower leaders throughout Lancaster neighborhoods to encourage one another, identify community problems, and plan projects to remedy the issues. Topics to be covered include the role of local government, what different city departments do, what resources are available to neighborhood leaders, how to engage with neighbors, how to organize a block party, and how to run a meeting. 

“The City is very excited to have a dedicated team of neighborhood leaders who can assist us in solving problems, connecting residents to resources, and generally being an advocate for their neighborhoods.  This is how we build strong neighborhoods,” said Mayor Danene Sorace. 

At the end of the academy, each neighborhood leader will present a neighborhood project proposal and receive $500 of seed funding for the project.  

The six-week training was announced in mid-February. Lancaster city residents who have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact on their neighborhood through engagement and service were encouraged to apply. 12 applicants were selected. Among the participants, all four quadrants of the city are represented.  

Cohort members include Megan Blackmon, Valerie Bradley, Darlene Byrd, Lisa Colon, Emily Files, Priscilla Glover, Kareema Hernandez, Claudia Martinez, Daisy Plaza, Jose Rivera, Tammy Rojas, and Barry Russell. 

“I know how to help someone with basic issues, like calling for a trash concern… What I am looking forward to is meeting likeminded neighborhood leaders throughout the city and receiving the tools to engage in my neighborhood,” said Lisa Colon, a resident of N. Prince St. 

The course is being facilitated by the department of Neighborhood Engagement and Leadership Lancaster. Funding for this program was provided by the Lancaster County Community Foundations. 

Mayor's Neighborhood Week 2019

It has been just over a year since the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Engagement started working towards improving the quality of life in all of Lancaster's neighborhoods. Milzy Carrasco and her small (but mighty!) team have been hard at work creating new programs and initatives. Starting on Monday, June 3, and concluding on Saturday, June 8 at the Neighbor to Neighbor forum, we'll be rolling out updates about what Milzy and her team have been working on and where Neighborhood Engagement is headed! 


- The first session of Neighborhood Leaders Academy. 


- Update on the Neighborhood Leaders Academy.


- Update about the Love Your Block mini-grant projects.


- Information released regarding the work of the Neighborhood Working Group.


- Announcement of locations for public Lunch with the Mayor events, and Mayor's Block Party winners.


Neighbor to Neighbor Forum
     - Release of the Love Your Neighbor campaign.

Love Your Block Mini-Grant Recipients Announced

The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement is pleased to announce the recipients of nine Love Your Block mini-grants, intended to help residents of Howard Avenue and the ChurchTowne neighborhood fight blight and build community.

The resident-led projects encourage neighbors to build community, while also addressing immediate litter and property façade concerns. Applicants were required to recruit neighbors as volunteers to help complete the projects.

"These projects, getting people to work together - ultimately we're helping neighbors help their neighborhoods. And that's the way to do it. It's designed by neighbors, requires collective action. We hope to seek funds to institutionalize this in years to come, throughout the entire Southeast,” said project partner Jack Howell of the Spanish American Civic Association’s Elm Street Program.

The mini-grants are funded through the Love Your Block grant awarded to the City of Lancaster by Cities of Service and supplemented by funds from SACA’s Elm Street Program.

The nine mini-grants have been awarded to:

Kearasten Jordan - Neighbors on the 500 Block of Dauphin are coming together to rent a dumpster and organize a community clean up. They will canvass to promote the Adopt-a-Block program in the southern half of ChurchTowne and hold a block party, inviting speakers to educate on litter and health.

Rayvon Jordan - Rivers Edge Fellowship will install trash cans and a dog waste station, and organize a community pickup with neighbors. They will scrape and repaint windows and doorframes on the 500 Block of Locust. They will also host a block party at the end of their project days to bring the community together.

Erin Dixon - Neighbors on the 500 Block of North will scrape and repaint porches, railings, and doors. They will also purchase trash totters for residents on the block.

Edna Ortiz - Neighbors on Atlantic will scrape and repaint railings and doors, adding planters to the sidewalk to prevent parking on the wrong side of the street. They will also canvass and encourage the lead remediation program to neighbors on Atlantic.

Luis Torres - The Mix will work with neighbors hosting art workshops to design a mural of Nelson Polite. The mural will be installed on the corner of North and Atlantic with LED lighting to prevent criminal activity and celebrate Nelson Polite’s work in Lancaster.

Marquis Lupton - The Cultured Professional Network will perform a general cleanup outside and on the façade of the Crispus Attucks Community Center. This is the first step of the group’s initiative to rehab the space and provide programming for community education.

Erica Asso - The San Juan Bautista Plaza will install a trash can, as well as lighting and planters around the fencing on Lime. The community center will host public engagement workshops to design public art for the Plaza.

Valerie Bradley - Neighbors on the no hundred block of Howard will install trash cans and partner with CWS to organize frequent cleanups on the block. They will also install planters to beautify the space.

Cooper Linde - Neighbors on the 100 Block of Howard will replace a blighted fence, as well as install a trash can to fight litter. They will also purchase trash totters for neighbors that can easily fit through baker’s alleys between houses.

Projects will commence later this spring and wrap up by August. Another round of mini-grants will be awarded this fall. Residents interested in the next round of funding should contact the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement for more information.

Neighbor of the Month: Thomas Goodhart

Congratulations to Thomas Goodhart, who was named Neighbor of the Month for March!

Thomas is a Lancaster City native, and currently lives on Pearl Street in the home he grew up in since 1968. 

Several neighbors nominated Thomas, noting that he is the "unoffical mayor" of their block! One neighbor said, "He is quick to help you shovel your sidewalk. He has adopted our block and takes that role seriously. He even make sure no one steals the packages from his neighbors stoops!"

Another neighbor wrote, "Since we've known Thomas, he has always been eager to say hello and share a conversation or a joke or facts about our neighborhood's interesting history, as well as offer a helping hand picking weeds or mowing a neighbor's lawn, or to lend a tool."

in December of 2017, there was a fire at Thomas's home that displaced him for several months. Even while he was living in temporary housing, neighbors say that Thomas returned to the block often to visit and lend a hand. 

Thomas is engaged not only on his block of Pearl Street, but in the Lancaster City community as a whole. He volunteers with the Red Rose Run and at the Sertoma Chicken BBQ, and has reached his 40th anniversary as the JP McCaskey football equipment manager. He enjoys history and considers himself an archivist for Lancaster City History. Thomas is an avid collector, with Hallmark ornament, Barbie and Hot Wheels collections. He loves Long's Park, and enjoys Lombardo’s, the House of Pizza, and Captain Gus's Steak Shop. 

We thank Thomas for his commitment to his neighbors on Pearl Street and the Lancaster community as a whole! 

Have a neigborhod you'd like to see featured? Nominate a neighbor for Neighbor of the Month using the form at Each month, a new neighbor will be selected by Mayor Sorace. Winners will receive $50 in Downtown Dollars and will be featured on our blog.

Thank you to Limerick Neighborhood Delicatessen for sponsoring the March Neighbor of the Month! 


Neighbor of the Month: Scott Murphy

Congratulations to Scott Murphy who was named Neighbor of the Month for February!

Scott, originally from Pottstown, bought his home on North Mary Street in 2000 and has been an integral part of the neighborhood ever since! He lives there with his son Rowan, who is a third grader at Fulton Elementary. 

The neighbor that nominated Scott said, "Scott works tirelessly for the 100 block of N. Mary St. He consistently cleans up the neighborhood with his son, picking up trash and notifying neighbors of any problem areas. He organizes our block party every year and gets required signatures. His kid goes to a neighborhood school and he is actively engaged in activities at Fulton. He also organizes a coffee social for neighbors at his house every other Saturday so that we all have an opportunity to meet each other and talk about our community. I appreciate everything that Scott does 

Scott is a software consultant. In his spare time, he enjoys restoring vintage audio equipment, listening to music on obsolete media formats, cooking, grilling, golf, singing, and satirical writing. He is the president of the Franklin & Marshall College Toastmasters, a member of Robert Fulton Elementary Parent Leadership Team and PTO, and a SDoL District PAC Representative. One of Scott's favorite things about Lancaster is walking everywhere, including some of his favorite spots: Musser Park, the Bread Peddler, Penn Square, Wacker Brewing, and 551 West.

We thank Scott for his commitment to his neighbors on North Mary Street and the Lancaster community as a whole! 

Have a neigborhod you'd like to see featured? Nominate a neighbor for Neighbor of the Month using the form at Each month, a new neighbor will be selected by Mayor Sorace. Winners will receive $50 in Downtown Dollars, courtesy of the Lancaster City Alliance, and will be featured on our blog.

New Initiatives Champion Strong Neighborhoods

This Valentine’s Day, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement is pledging its love to the neighborhoods of Lancaster through the launch of several new and returning programs and initiatives.

“We are excited for the launch of these new programs on the feast of Valentine’s Day,” said Milzy Carrasco, Director of Neighborhood Engagement. “We recognize this day for love, caring, and appreciation of one another and felt it was appropriate to share with the community programming that is focused on love and caring for our community.”


Residents of Howard Avenue and the ChurchTowne neighborhood, as well as related neighborhood organizations and their volunteer partners are invited to apply for mini-grants through the Love Your Block program beginning on Thurs., Feb. 14. Love Your Block is a community engagement program that supports resident-led improvement projects and makes it easier for residents to connect with City leaders and resources. The mini-grants, ranging from $500 to $2,000, are offered for projects that focus on reducing litter and addressing simple façade repairs on Howard Avenue and in the ChurchTowne neighborhood. The application is available online at or at City Hall, 120 N. Duke St. Applications are due April 1.


This new program is intended to identify and cultivate neighborhood leaders. The six-month training is open to Lancaster City residents who have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact on their neighborhood through engagement and service. Applications are available online at or at City Hall, 120 N. Duke St. beginning Thurs., Feb. 14. Applications are due no later than March 28. Information sessions will be held at City Hall on: Tues., March 5 from 6 to 7 p.m.; Wed., March 6 from 9 to 10 a.m.; and Wed., March 6 from 6 - 7 p.m. Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance in late April.


Residents that have good relationships with other households in their neighborhood are more likely to engage in neighborhood improvement activities. Block parties facilitate the creation of those relationships. For a second year, Mayor Sorace will provide a select block with permits, food, drink and entertainment for a summer block party. Residents can apply to be considered for the Mayor’s Block Party online at Submissions are due May 2, and require applicants to submit a short video, photos, an essay, a song, a poem, or other creative documentation of the block.


The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement is seeking restaurants interested in hosting informal, public meet and greet lunches with Mayor Sorace on weekdays throughout the year. These will be open to the public, with guests purchasing their own food and beverages. Restaurants interested in hosting can request to be considered at


To give residents an opportunity for Mayor Sorace to meet them where they live, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement is seeking residents that would like to host her for dinner. Those chosen will host in their home or office and invite their own neighbors. Food and beverages will be provided by a sponsor. Residents interested in hosting can request to be considered at

Neighbor of the Month: Rosalind Dickinson

Congratulations to Rosalind Dickinson who was named Neighbor of the Month for January!

Rosalind, a valued member of the SoWe initative, has lived in her home on Poplar Street for ten years. While most of her seven siblings are spread throughout the country, she is a Lancaster County native originally from Nine Points. 

The neighbor that nominated Rosalind said, "Rosalind is a connector on her block. She was the first to sign up as SoWe's Block Liaison. She has connected countless people to the SoWe initiative. Her block has taken the lead to have the highest number of SoWe porch lights thanks to her efforts. Rosalind is also a key individual on our Neighborhood Connections committee."

Rosalind is a caregiver for Connections at Home VIA Willow Valley, and outside of work and SoWe commitments, she attends the Woship Center in Leola, is a member of the Professional Hive women's group, volunteers at the Water Street Rescue Mission, and is a member of the Free Bird travel club. She enjoys photography, crafts, playing the clarinet, riding her bike. Her favorite restraunt is Jethro's Restaurant and Bar, and she loves walking or biking to Brandon Park.  

We thank Rosalind for her comitment to Lancaster City and her SoWe neighbors!

Have a neigborhod you'd like to see featured? Nominate a neighbor for Neighbor of the Month using the form at Each month, a new neighbor will be selected by Mayor Sorace. Winners will receive $50 in Downtown Dollars, courtesy of the Lancaster City Alliance, and will be featured on our blog.

Neighbor of the Month: Sue Mackey

Congratulations to Sue Mackey of the 200 block of North Mulberry Street, who was named Neighbor of the Month for December!

Sue, a former School District of Lancaster teacher, moved to Lancaster from Peeskill, New York in August 1974. After over 45 years in Lancaster, she considers herself a true Lancastrian! She and her husband of 28 years, Tim, bought their home on North Mulberry Street 8 years ago and have enjoyed the neighborhood ever since!

The neighbor that nominated Sue noted that she is the, “driving force behind the block,” by planning events throughout the year, including block parties and neighborhood cleanups. Sue even cooks chili on Halloween night for neighbors to enjoy while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters! Sue also created a block email list, and goes out of her way to make sure new neighbors are added when they move in to ensure they’re informed of what’s happening on the block. They went on to say, “Thanks to Sue, we have become not just neighbors, but friends that support one another. Our block is only as special as it is because of Sue's friendship, leadership, and her passion for the Lancaster community.”

Sue is involved with St. James Episcopal Church, the People’s Shakespeare Project, and LancasterHistory.Org, is a block captain with the Lancaster City Alliance, and a committee person for the Lancaster City Democratic Committee. Outside of her community involvement, she enjoys spending time with family and partaking in the many cultural activities, restaurants, musical events, quiet parks, great biking, walking, and shopping that Lancaster City has to offer!  

As for her favorite restaurant, Sue said, “I could never name just one. We enjoy Carr’s Wine Bar, Checkers (try the scallops), the Belvedere and Luca. There is so much diversity in our culinary choices. It’s hard to beat Lancaster! How lucky are we to live here?” While Sue might feel lucky to have Lancaster, Lancaster sure feels lucky to have Sue and other neighbors like her. Thank you, Sue!

Have a neigborhod you'd like to see featured? Nominate a neighbor for Neighbor of the Month using the form at Each month, a new neighbor will be selected by Mayor Sorace. Winners will receive $50 in Downtown Dollars, courtesy of the Lancaster City Alliance, and will be featured on our blog.

Nominations Open for Neighbor of the Month

Great neighbors are an essential part of strong neighborhoods, but many great neighbors go unrecognized by those who don’t live on the block. Now is your chance to honor the great neighbors around you!

Nominate a neighbor for Neighbor of the Month using the form at Each month, a new neighbor will be selected by Mayor Sorace. Winners will receive $50 in Downtown Dollars, courtesy of the Lancaster City Alliance, and will be featured here on our blog.

Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis, however they should be submitted by the 1st of the month for consideration that month. A new Neighbor of the Month will be announced on the 15th of each month (or the Monday after, if the 15th falls on a weekend).

Thank you to the Lancaster City Alliance for sponsoring Neighbor of the Month!

Seeking AmeriCorps VISTAs for LYB Program



About Cities of Service
A national nonprofit organization, Cities of Service helps mayors and city leaders tap the knowledge, creativity, and service of citizens to solve public problems and create vibrant cities. The organization provides technical assistance, programmatic support, planning resources, and funding opportunities to cities and their leadership.

Founded in 2009 by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cities of Service was initially incubated within Bloomberg Philanthropies and began operating as an independent entity in February 2014. Today, Cities of Service supports a coalition of more than 240 cities whose mayors and chief executives represent nearly 65 million people in 45 states, and more than 10 million people in the UK.

Position Overview
Cities of Service is seeking AmeriCorps VISTA members to serve in ten city halls as part of its new Love Your Block program starting in September 2018.

Nestled in the heart of Lancaster County an hour outside of Philadelphia, the City of Lancaster is a vibrant urban community of over 60,000 diverse residents, rich in history and culture. Lancaster’s blocks are lined with independently owned galleries, shops and restaurants, highlighting our long-held entrepreneurial and creative spirit. Through Love Your Blocks, we hope to reconnect residents to their neighborhood’s history and identity and restore pride through ground-up improvement projects

Love your Block is a high-impact service strategy that connects city leaders with community residents to help revitalize their neighborhoods one block at a time. Typically, city officials provide mini-grants that support volunteer-fueled solutions developed by the community. Whether turning vacant lots into community gardens, removing graffiti, or helping elderly neighbors with simple home repairs that allow them to keep their homes, citizen volunteers are making their neighborhoods — and their cities — better places to live.

Love Your Block AmeriCorps VISTA members will plan, develop, and implement impact volunteering and community engagement initiatives that target blight. Responsibilities will include: Plan and host community meetings; Develop a mini-grant process with supporting materials; Conduct outreach through grant application info sessions in target neighborhoods; Assist Love Your Block project leaders in the recruitment and management of community volunteers; Cultivate partnerships among stakeholders such as community organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, neighborhoods associations, and block groups; Maintain a database of Love Your Block projects and partners; Write stories about the impact of the Love Your Block projects; Interview community members affected by Love Your Block projects; and Secure funding to sustain and expand Love Your Block.

Duration and Compensation
This is a one-year, full-time AmeriCorps VISTA commitment commencing in September 2018. A stipend is provided and an additional end of service award is provided contingent on successful completion of the service year.

To Apply
To express interest in the position, please email your resume and cover letter to

Get to Know Your City Employees: Jameel Thrash

The first time we saw Jameel Thrash’s name on a permit, we thought it must be a fake name. Who was this hero with the superpower of being able to grant zoning permission? After a thorough review of the rolls of city employers we concluded that this was indeed the coolest name of any public servant to ever serve the city of Lancaster — sorry, 19th-century Mayor Nathaniel Pierre Lightner (Natty Light for short), your reign is over. 

We sat down to talk to Jameel in a first ever segment we’re calling, "Get to Know Your City Employees."

Name: Jameel Barakat (Arabic for Beautiful Blessing) Thrash

What is your position? Zoning Officer/Sign Administrator

But no, really, what does that position do? As Zoning Officer I help to ensure that different types of uses (Residential, Commercial, Manufacturing, etc.) operate in areas that (we hope) will allow for an optimal quality of life for our residents.

I also have to inform you that you are not allowed to park on your grass. Yes, I understand it’s yours. Yes, I understand some of your neighbors are in violation as well. Because we want to be able to capture as much rain as possible. But we don’t want it in the gutter. I promise I am contacting your neighbors.

As Sign Administrator (which comes with a cape and dramatic narration when said), I review sign proposals to make sure the type and size are appropriate for that district.

How does your job relate to making Lancaster a better, safer, or more equitable community? By grouping complementary uses together and trying to isolate other uses that may generate noise, traffic, odor, etc., we hope that our residents and businesses can coexist in the most harmonious way possible. AND preserving grass (which will be mud if you keep parking there) will help reduce our pollution.

What are your hobbies outside of work? Trying to inspire and instill, within my kids, a sense of wonder about the world (crabbing, fishing, fossiling, hiking, sailing, snowboarding); imagination and finances are our only limitations. Additionally, I’m an avid traveler who believes that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, in that spirit I am constantly planning my next adventure (some of my recent trips include Cancun, Havana, Iceland and Disney World during Halloween, which has to be the best time of year to go).

Where do you like to visit in town (restaurants, bars, parks, etc.)? Flora's, Callaloo, Roburrito’s, Caribbean Wave and Silantra are some of my favorites, but I was born & raised in the 7th ward so when I’m in the mood for a burger (and nostalgia), nothing beats Speeds. I like options and for late night entertainment we have them downtown. Usually, by the end of the night, I’m at Yorgos.

Do you have siblings? Kids? Pets? I have a twin brother (Alimayu [God’s gift]) and have mistakenly been on the receiving end of several affable greetings. I have two sons, Lennox (9) and Kingston (7) and we have 1 fish.

What was your job before coming to the City of Lancaster? Before I worked for the City, I worked for Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries as a counselor for at-risk youth.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your job? I have no ability to determine where your property lines lie, nor do I have the authority to make your neighbor trim the tree limbs that encroach onto your property.

What is your best, “Lancaster Moment?" I enjoy Celebrate Lancaster. It’s great to see the diversity of our community.

What’s your favorite song right now? I doubt I’ve ever had a singularly favorite song, but I do like, "Like That," by Cardi B. Some of my all time favorites are, "Black Hole Sun," by Soundgarden, "Iron Man," by Black Sabbath, "Party," by Biggie Smalls, and "Stan," by Eminem.

Amendment to Lead Ordinance Public Meeting

The City Of Lancaster will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, November 1 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 120 North Duke Street to present an amendment to the City’s Lead Poisoning Prevention and Lead Hazard Control Ordinance.  Please use the Marion Street entrance to City Hall.  The meeting will be facilitated by staff of the Department of Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization.

The purpose of the public meeting is to present the work of the Task Force appointed by the Mayor to review the Lead Ordinance Amendment presented in February and to present to the Mayor and City Council a proposed amendment for consideration. The Task Force was Chaired by City Councilman Peter Soto and had individuals representing landlords (small, medium and large investor owners), those representing affordable housing and fair housing, individuals from the medical profession and the legal community representing the interests of tenants. Following the presentation of the Task Force recommendations there will be an opportunity for those in attendance to present comments. Comments will be presented to City Council for their consideration prior to the 2nd reading and adoption of the Ordinance amendment. Click here to review a copy of the proposed Ordinance Amendment.  

Community Service Day Project - Farnum Park

On Wednesday, August 23, the City of Lancaster teamed up with volunteers from IMPACT! Missions to make many improvements needed at Farnum Park.

Smucker HVAC contacted IMPACT! Missions about a companywide give back day. Smucker HVAC wanted to do a project in the community including all 45 employees in their company. IMPACT! Missions contacted the SoWe sub-group Friends of Farnum Park about doing projects to help with general maintenance in the park. IMPACT! Missions volunteers have provided over 20,000 hours of volunteer service in the South West neighborhood over the last three years and completed 10 home rehabs. IMPACT! Missions was the coordinator for the completion of the work today. The City of Lancaster is very fortunate to have worked with this very talented group of individuals. We are very appreciative to all who participated!

Proposed Lead Legislation Information


Lead is a soft blue-gray metal found in the natural environment. It was added to paint and gasoline until 1978, when it was banned in the United States. 

It is still used in some consumer products such as: imported candy, foot powder, jewelry, stained-glass, pottery, etc. People are exposed to lead through dust, paint, soil, water, and imported home remedies.

Children are the most at risk from lead poisoning which can result in learning and reading disabilities, loss of IQ, hearing loss, Attention Deficit Disorder, hyperactivity, and speech delays. A child that is lead poisoned is:

•       7 times more likely to drop out of school

•       6 times more likely to be involved with the juvenile justice system

It is estimated that lead poisoning costs $50.9 billion per year in medical, special education, lost earnings, and criminal justice costs.

To give you an idea of how dangerous lead is, and how little needs to ingested, there are 20,000 “doses” of potential lead poisoning in the amount of sugar substitute in a packet you’d find on a table in a restaurant.

No level of lead is safe and its effects are irreversible.

Proposed Legislation: 

In 2010, the City adopted a new Lead Ordinance to address lead poisoned children. The Ordinance was amended in 2016.  A copy of the current Ordinance can be found on the City’s website at:

Below is an explanation of the most recent amendments, which impact Investor Owned/Rental properties, being considered by City Council for approval on March 14, 2017.  Click here for a copy of the proposed amendments.


Once every four years, or during the time of the systematic inspection conducted by the City’s assigned Housing Inspector, a landlord or investor owner will be required to provide a Lead-Safe Certification completed by a Pennsylvania Lead Risk Assessor indicating the unit(s) are lead-safe.  It is important to understand that we are requiring a Lead-Safe Certification for each unit in a building.

The Clearance Examination, required to obtain a Lead-Safe Certification, can be completed and submitted at the time a unit turns over to another tenant, rather than at the time of the systematic inspection.  As long as the City has a Lead-Safe Certification on file for the unit that is dated within a four-year period of time, the unit/property will be in compliance with the proposed ordinance amendments and will not be subject to at the systematic inspection.

The City will also have staff available to conduct the Clearance Examination, for a fee to be established by City Council.  The proposed fee for City staff at this time for the initial Clearance Examination, including materials and lab costs, is estimated to be a maximum of $250 for the initial Clearance Examination and $120.00 if a follow-up test is necessary.  You may be contract with a private firm that has been licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  You will not be required to use City staff and the availability of City staff to conduct clearance testing will be dependent on their schedule.

It is important to note that this does not require that a Lead Hazard Evaluation or Risk Assessment be done on the unit to identify lead paint hazards.  The City will allow the investor owner/landlord to assume that lead paint exists in the unit. It does require that a Clearance Examination be done to insure that the lead paint that exists is not a lead hazard, since a Risk Assessment was not completed.  This follows the federal guidelines issued by the HUD Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Controls.

If the unit fails the first Clearance Examination, the landlord/investor owner will be notified of those areas that failed and provided additional time to clean the area and do a second Clearance Examination.  There will be a charge for each time a Clearance Examination must be completed (see above for rates associated with additional Clearance Examinations).  If the unit is vacant at the time, occupancy will not be permitted until a Lead-Safe certification can be provided.

If the investor owner/landlord intends to provide the Lead-Safe Certification for units at the time of the City’s systematic inspection on the property, the certifications will be required before the property is approved by the City’s Housing Inspector.

Failure to provide the Lead-Safe Certification (Clearance Examination results) that the unit is Lead-Safe at least once every four years may result in the rescission of the rental license for the unit, or the property.  If the property/unit continues to be rented without a license the investor owner/landlord is subject to the penalties in the City’s Rental Housing Ordinance, including penalties associated with renting a unit without a license.


If a property has been condemned by the City, the owner (or the person that will conduct the repairs to remove the condemnation) is required at a minimum to obtain the 8-hour Renovate, Repair, Painting Course issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prior to acquiring a permit to do lead remediation work at the property.  The owner may also provide a copy of a contract entered into with a PA Certified Lead Safe Supervisor or PA Licensed Lead Abatement Company to complete the remediation/abatement.

After the repairs have been made, a Lead-Safe Certification must be presented to the City’s Senior Health Officer or the City’s Chief Building Code Official in order to have the condemnation lifted and obtain the required Certificate of Occupancy from the City. 


When a property has been identified by the City of Lancaster as having lead hazards because we have been notified that a child with an elevated lead blood level under the age of 6 resides in the property, and the owner is interested in selling the property before or during the remediation takes place, the Seller Disclosure Statement must be provided to the City Senior Health Officer at the time the property is listed for sale.  This will insure that the proper Lead Paint disclosures have been included in the sales listing. 

If a Risk Assessment has been completed by the City staff, or a certified PA Lead Risk Assessor, prior to the sale of the property, a copy of the Risk Assessment must also be included in the Seller Disclosures.


Area Lead Professionals: 

Lancaster Unity Community Cleanup

Lancaster Unity was originally formed after I saw litter on the sidewalks of our beautiful city. I posted on Facebook asking what we could do about the trash, people responded, one thing led to another and eventually we held our first community clean up. Almost a year later, we are looking forward to our fifth clean up event. 

On Saturday, August 22, Lancaster Unity and Isaac's Famous Grilled Sandwiches invite the community to come out and pick up litter around the city. The litter collected will be used for “Let's RETHINK Litter in Lancaster”, a Litter Letter Project sponsored by Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority. The word RETHINK will be displayed in the city, built with 3D letters made from chicken wire and rebar and filled with trash collected from the city streets. We hope the display will encourage people to RETHINK and reevaluate their consumption and waste.

Please join us in collecting trash to fill these letters and help to bring awareness and action to the litter that is in our gorgeous home. Everyone is invited to join on August 22 at 10 AM at Tellus360, 24 East King Street, for the clean up event. Bags, gloves and vests will be provided. Click here to view the event on our Facebook page.

By Martha Good, Lancaster Unity

Proposal to allow keeping chickens

As Lancaster City Council members attempted to balance the wishes of residents who wanted to keep backyard hens with the concerns of their neighbors, it was small size of city lots that was the biggest factor.

The typical lot in Lancaster City is 2,000 square feet, or less than .05 of an acre. Corner or duplex lots are often about 2,500 square feet.

Councilwoman Danene Sorace said during the May 4 Council committee meeting that it would be impossible for her neighbors not to see or smell hens if she kept them in her back yard.

City Council's Community Development and Planning Committee voted 3-0 on May 4 not to move forward with a proposal that would have revised the city animal ordinance to allow chickens. The decision came after extensive research and two months of deliberation.

Few Pennsylvania cities - often where lots are larger - have allowed hens. Yet, those cities have so severely restricted the areas where they are allowed that hens are essentially prohibited in neighborhood settings.

Philadelphia allows hens on properties of at least three acres in size. Harrisburg allows keeping them on properties of at least 40,000 square feet, or nearly an acre.

Harrisburg also requires that chickens be kept 75 feet from a from a property line.

City Council members and Mayor Gray said they were unwilling to support an ordinance that allowed residents to have hens, but made it so restrictive that few, if any, could actually do so.

Another primary concern was the cost of enforcing an ordinance that allowed hens. Randy Patterson, the city's economic development and neighborhood revitalization director, said expanding the city's ordinance to allow hens could require the hiring of a second animal enforcement officer and another housing inspector. His concern, however, was the additional workload on an already overburdened staff.

At the Council committee meeting, Patterson said he wasn't concerned about those seeking permission to keep hens. His concern was for those who would not follow the rules put in place.

Councilman James Reichenbach urged residents who wish to keep hens to look at alternatives. He suggested they approach School District of Lancaster school board members about keeping them on school property. Patterson suggested they talk to Lancaster County officials about allowing chicken coops at County Park, in much the same way the park rents garden plots.

Lancaster City Council is responsible for setting the policy and vision for the city. Council members attempt to do so while balancing the interests of all residents.

City + Mix at Arbor Place form PAL

Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) programs have been successful in countless urban communities throughout the United States, fostering positive relationships between neighborhood children and the police officers that serve their communities. That is why the City of Lancaster has partnered with the Mix at Arbor Place to form a local PAL.

PAL programs are a mainstay across the country. Officers mentor local youth through activities like sports, music, dance, and outdoor recreation. City of Lancaster police office Josiah King will lead the program, and has already recruited officers and other volunteers to teach basketball, martial arts, and archery to children at the Mix at Arbor Place. The Mix at Arbor Place provides at-risk youth a safe environment, adult mentoring, homework help, recreational programs, bible studies and a hot meal. The PAL program builds on the already strong after-school programs provided by Arbor Place.

The Lancaster PAL will begin September 29 with archery, basketball, flag football, outdoor recreation and much more. The program is made possible through the support of the Gunterberg Foundation, Steinman Foundation, Clark Family Foundation, and Rodgers and Associates. 

Ewell Gantz Mural

The Ewell Gantz Playground, located on the corner of South Christian and North Streets was dedicated in 1996. It was dedicated to Henry Norwood “Barney” Ewell, a local Olympic athlete, and Ida Gantz, an active community member. Both were strong, well-known members in Lancaster’s Southeast community. The Ewell Gantz playground is situated in the heart of Southeast Lancaster City. It is a residential corner where children live and frequent on a daily basis. It is next door to Arbor Place, an after school program for kids and teens.

Last year, the Public Art Advisory Board and the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (PCA&D) collaborated on a mural commemorating both figures. Senior PCA&D illustration students Tylor Heagy, Danny Morgan and Nicole Cruz-Ramos, along with Jonathan Yeager, a PCA&D alumni and adjunct instructor in the illustration department, created a series of images which were tweaked, critiqued and ultimately chosen by local residents. Tylor Heagy created the final design using elements from each of the artists’ works.

Heagy said prior to the project’s conception, he had not heard of Ewell or Gantz but saw, “it was immediately clear how inspirational and giving each of them were.”

He continued to discuss the collaborative working process, working with two other artists, an instructor and the neighborhood's suggestions saying, “It has been an amazing experience to work with such a strong team. We thrive off of each others’ work. This energy also comes from the community. Their feedback and opinions were strong contributions to what the mural looks like today.”

His favorite part has been meeting the children in the community to get their opinions. “It’s always humorous how blunt and honest a child can be. Don’t get me wrong though, their feedback was some of the strongest."

Heagy is a 2014 graduate of the BFA degree program in illustration at PCA&D, a graduate of Warwick High School, and a military veteran.

The mural was painted with the help of Two Dudes Painting Company, The Mix at Arbor Place, Shah Properties, and Hamilton Distributing Company. Funding was provided by Wells Fargo and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 

By Joshua Graupera, Public Art Advisory Board

Lancaster City’s Annual Assessment by HUD

Lancaster City’s Annual Assessment for the period of January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013, by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Philadelphia Office
The Wanamaker Building 
100 Penn Square East 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-3380

The Honorable J. Richard Gray Mayor
City of Lancaster Municipal Building
P.O. Box 1599
120 N. Duke Street Lancaster, PA  17608-1599

Dear Mayor Gray:

SUBJECT: - Annual Community Assessment City of Lancaster
January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013

The provisions of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, and the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, require the annual submission of performance reports by grant recipients receiving federal assistance through programs covered under these Acts. Additionally, these Acts require that a determination be made by the Secretary of HUD that the grant recipient is in compliance with the statutes and has the continuing capacity to implement and administer the programs for which assistance is received.

The Consolidated Plan regulation at 24 CPR 91.525 requires this Department to evaluate and report to the public on a community's overall progress in the management of its program funds, compliance with the Consolidated Plan, the accuracy of performance reports, and the extent to which progress has been achieved toward the statutory goals identified in Section 91.1. This letter serves to apprise you of our assessment of Lancaster City's overall progress.

In making our evaluation, we relied primarily upon the City's submission of the Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) for Fiscal Year 2013. This report summarized accomplishments made with funds provided from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. Iri addition, we took into account technical assistance, and follow up conversations with City staff. This letter is a summary of our review of the City of Lancaster's overall performance.

As you know, under the update to the Part 91 Consolidated Planning regulations that came into effect March 13, 2006, all Annual Action Plans and Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Reports (CAPER) are required to include performance measures as part of their annual reporting. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has deemed this information necessary to validate the continued funding of HUD programs. The City of Lancaster provided performance measures as required by this guidance.

The HUD timeliness requirement is that a community may have no more than 1.5 times their most recent annual grant remaining in the line of credit 60 days prior to the end of their program year. When the 60-day timeliness test was conducted on November 2, 2013, it was calculated that Lancaster City had a balance in its line of credit of .85 times its annual grant. Please note that this did not include any program income that the City may have in its accounts. Thus, this figure may actually be higher.

During the 2013 program year, the City has expended 93.39 percent of its CDBG funds for activities benefiting low/moderate income persons, which meets the primary objective of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. In addition, the City obligated 7.07 percent of funds on public service activities, which meets the 15 percent regulatory cap. The City of Lancaster obligated 12.58 percent of its funds on planning and administration, which is within the 20 percent regulatory cap.

The City continues to participate with Lancaster County in a HOME Consortium, where the Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority manage the Consortium HOME funds that cover the City and the County.

During 2013, CDBG funds were used in nine discrete projects in the categories of housing (rehabilitation, inspections, critical repairs and fair housing services), economic development activities (promoting small business development and opportunities for minorities), human services (public safety/crime prevention and homeless outreach), and infrastructure improvements.

Additionally, CDBG funds were used to assist 15 homeowners deal with serious safety and/or health threats in their residences by using the City's emergency repair loan program designed to eliminate hazardous structural conditions and/or reduce or remove unhygienic elements in the environment.

The City has worked with the Department of Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization to address lead hazards by conducting risk assessments and clearance inspections. In addition, certified contractors conduct lead hazard reduction work on all single-family and rental units rehabilitated with CDBG and HOME funds.

The City included in its CAPER its role in affirmatively furthering fair housing and identifying impediments to fair housing. In 2013, the County in conjunction with the City. of Lancaster updated the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. We commend you for these efforts. Please note that the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is available to provide technical assistance regarding affirmatively furthering fair housing upon your request.

We congratulate the City on its many accomplishments during this program year.  Based on our review, we have concluded that the City of Lancaster has the capacity to carry out its programs and has met its reporting requirements.

We ask that you review our assessment of your performance and provide any comments that you may have within 35 days of the date of this letter. Upon receipt, we will evaluate your comments and make any revisions that are deemed appropriate. If you do not have any comments, we request that you formally notify us of that fact within the 35-day timeframe. Where no comments are received within the designated timeframe, our initial letter will serve as our final assessment of the City's performance for this program year. To facilitate and expedite citizen access to our performance letter, we request that you inform the general public and interested citizens' organizations and non-profit entities of its availability. If, for any reason, the City chooses not to do so, please be advised that our office is obligated to make the letter available to the public. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

We look forward to continuing to work with you and members of your staff to accomplish Departmental goals and mutual objectives to develop viable urban communities. We would also be pleased to provide you with any information on resources that may be available to your community. · If you need assistance, or if you have any questions concerning the content of this letter, please contact Mr. Nadab 0. Bynum, Community Planning and Development Director, at (215) 861-7652, or Ms. Patina Ming, Senior Community Planning and Development Representative, at (215) 861-7662. This office may be reached via text telephone (TTY), by dialing (215) 656-3452.


Jane C. W. Vincent
Regional Administrator

Bill Bard - still Changing Gears after all these years

Long-time City resident Bill Bard was born in a house on New Dorwart Street over 90 years ago. He has many fond memories of growing up in the Cabbage Hill neighborhood.

He sent Tracy Beyl, public art manager, the following poem about Changing Gears, the new public art piece in Crystal Park:

Changing Gears Sculpture in Crystal Park
Fine Art to Behold
Accolades, Artist Ulrich Pakker
Crystal, Rodney Parks
Your Dream has come true
Changing Gears is what we do
As we travel life’s highway
Childhood to final Journey
New adventure everyday
Children always high gear
So full of energy, frisky
Their play is a pleasure to see
Then in our middle years
Earn a living, raise a family
Always in overdrive
Best, most productive, all our days
Then as the hourglass empties
We are in low gears
It has been a great Adventure
Most delightful years
When a child, lived a block away
Parks were my retreat
The wading pool, open space
My little friends meet
Thank you for your contribution
Fine Artwork to behold
In the City of Lancaster
Changing Gears, Sculpture Bold
Man does not live by bread alone
All art, music pleases me
Panacea for the soul
Most pleasurable as can be

Poem written by William Cliff Bard, Age 90

We're glad to see that the new piece is making an impact on residents of the past and present alike. Enjoy!

Lancaster Gateway Bundle

On Friday, October 31 the Lancaster Gateway Bundle was installed at Lancaster Brewing Company. Part green infrastructure project, part public art piece, the new addition to the Lancaster Brewing Company will greet those coming into the City via the Walnut & Plum Street intersection. Read on for a message from one of the artists. 

Dear All,

As I stood and looked at the sculpture yesterday, after the installers had left, I realized that what I was looking at was something truly special.  It's hard to put into words the feeling of looking at something that you have brought into the world, but what now sits outside the Lancaster Brewing Company is not the product of individual expertise, but of a very real form of collaboration.  The sheer number of people involved in this work, especially for such a small project, is astounding.  To think that we not only accomplished what we set out to do, but executed it to the fullest degree, is something we should all be proud of.

To do a project that was not only environmentally responsible, but also contributed to a business and a community is a special feeling.  Being able to work on this project with so many people was also a great learning experience.  I feel that we have given something to the city and to the brewery that they will both find useful and enjoy for years to come.  This is important as we can begin to reflect on our work and understand its continuing role in the city and its ever more sustainable infrastructure.

I would like to thank everyone, on behalf of A+M, for helping to make this project a reality.  I'm looking forward to reconvening again, Lancaster-brewed beers in hand, to commemorate this achievement.


Marc Lewis Krawitz
Austin + Mergold LLC

2013 Leaf Collection

Being in the midst of an Indian summer, it doesn’t feel much like fall these days – but the leaves are still turning! That means the City’s Annual Street Leaf Collection Program will begin October 14. Leaves are collected two different ways depending on where they fall.

Leaves falling into streets are collected by street sweepers. Street sweeping leaf collection follows the twice monthly street sweeping schedule, except on King, Orange, Queen, Prince and Manor Streets and Highland Avenue, which are designated for weekly cleaning.

Residents can confirm their pickup days by checking the signs on their street. On November 5th, 28th and 29th, leaf collection will not occur due to City holidays.

Residents should not rake leaves into street-side gutters, as leaf collection by street sweeping is not intended to be used for the collection of leaves that have fallen on sidewalks and private property. 

Leaves falling in the yards of private property will be collected, but must be placed in 30-gallon yard waste bags; leaves should not be placed in plastic bags. Appropriate yard waste bags are free of charge and can be picked up at the following locations:

-          The Treasury Office at 39 West Chestnut Street

-          City Hall at 120 North Duke Street

-          Bureau of Streets at 515 North Franklin Street

-          Recycling Drop-Off Center at 850 New Holland Avenue. 

Bagged leaves will be collected by Penn Waste on the weeks of November 4, November 18 and December 2 in relation to the trash collection schedule.

Leaf collection will continue through mid-December, weather permitting.

If you have questions about street cleaning and leaf collection, feel free to call the Bureau of Streets at (717) 291-4835.