Residents brainstorm potential solutions for Lemoyne Middle School property

LEMONYE, Pa. --- Built in the 1920s, Lemoyne Middle School has been vacant since it was closed in 2013.

Developers are trying to give it new life and residents want a say in what it becomes.

An original plan for re-zoning and re-developing the property was met with backlash.

Now, RGS Associates, a consulting firm hired by the Real Estate Collaborative of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation, is surveying residents to hear their preferences, concerns or ideas on what to do with Lemoyne Middle School.

mark hackenburg/rgs associates: "This was an opportunity to step back and really engage with the community to address the issues that they feel so strongly about. Rightly so, it's their home," said Mark Hackenburg with RGS associates.

Pens went to paper as residents and project partners wrote down their vision for the former middle school.

Some residents, like Laurie Zimmerman, say the most important piece is keeping the current zoning in place: 25 percent commercial and 75 percent residential.

"I'd like them to keep it a neighborhood and to keep the commercial part out of our neighborhood. Keep it on the front of Market Street and keep the back homes, to keep it our neighborhood and not change the characters," said Zimmerman.

Harrison Bink, a principal architect who went to Lemonye Middle School, questioned the private interests of the property: what was the property purchased to be?

He said he sees some of the school's current structures becoming a potential community center for Lemoyne.

"Keep it as a gym, have youth groups. Keep the classrooms that surround it as community services: daycare...a senior center. There's a lot of different opportunities to use classroom-sized buildings," said Bink.

The next public meeting is scheduled for August 20 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Cleve J. Fredericksen Library in the Ruggaber Community Room at 100 N 19th Street in Camp Hill.

Project partners plan to share the results of this first session, with the hopes of having a conceptual vision in place for the project.

There is also an on-going community survey for the property, that can be found here.

For more on the project, follow the link here.