York County History Center receives $650K for new campus improvements

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
This rendering by Warehaus shows a bird's eye view of the new York County History Center, which officials hope to open in early 2020. The new history center will repurpose the former Met-Ed steam plant and an adjacent building at the corner of North Pershing Avenue and West Philadelphia Street.

The York County History Center has received a $652,000 grant to improve infrastructure, traffic areas and more for its new campus.

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, announced the grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority on Tuesday, March 26. It will cover nearly 70 percent of the $950,000 price tag to work on infrastructure on and around the site, improve traffic and pedestrian areas, relocate utilities and improve streets.

"This will turn a blighted property into a community beacon to be enjoyed by generations in the years to come," Phillips-Hill said.

The York County Heritage Trust bought the site located at the corner of West Philadelphia Street and North Pershing Avenue for $1.75 million in 2015 with hopes of turning it into a local history-focused campus. 

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The new campus will stretch along the east bank of the Codorus Creek and North Pershing Avenue from West Philadelphia Street to West Gay Avenue.

Although the infrastructure improvement grant is a small chunk of the complete project's $22 million cost, it isn't the first financial aid the history center has received.

As of January, the project's $20 million capital campaign had received $6.5 million from donations and $7 million from the state, with $2 million expected from National Park Service historic tax credits. 

“This grant money will foster the growth of an important educational institution, the York County History Center,” said Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York City. 

In addition to a new museum, the center will have two rotating exhibits, allowing it to showcase more of its collections as well as feature others from more than 20 local historical societies.

It alsowill include the Colonial Complex — Colonial Court House, Golden Plough Tavern, General Gates House and Barnett Bobb Log House — along with the Fire Museum, Agricultural and Industrial Museum and Bonham House.

Other improvements include updates to the center's library and archives, more digital access, better preservation and more options for a variety of learners.

The new location is supposed to open in 2021.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.