True partnership helps turn Danskin 'disaster' into State Street Crossing 'triumph'

Pennrose employees, local and state officials celebrate affordable housing community State Street Crossing as a resident cuts the ribbon.
  • The $17 million State Steet Crossing project was completed in June.
  • The 56-unit affordable housing development is already at capacity, and has a waiting list.
  • A partnership between organizations, both public and private, helped the project reach fruition.

Anyone who has tried to buy a house recently knows one thing — it’s a seller’s market.

In simpler terms, housing costs are skyrocketing, leaving some poorer folks in our community in desperate situations. They simply can’t afford the housing prices that are being demanded, especially when also dealing with the economic fallout inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s why the recent news about the State Street Crossing project is so welcome on multiple levels.

The $17 million, 56-unit affordable housing development in York City was completed in June and is already at capacity, with a waiting list of prospective residents.

More:From defunct factory to thriving community, former Danskin property rises up

That means 56 local families will have the opportunity to live in their own house and own a real stake in the success of the York community, and they’ll be able to do it at an affordable price.

That’s a wise investment.

Erasing a blighted site: Even better, the State Street Crossing development was built at the site of the old Danskin clothing factory, which had been a blight on the city landscape. In fact, before any construction could start, 25,000 tons of materials containing asbestos had to be removed. It was no small task.

The former Danskin factory on State Street in York City, Thursday, June 8, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

“This site was a disaster from every angle," Mayor Michael Helfrich said, referring to the property during its blighted days. "This (State Street Crossing) is a triumph right here."

We don’t always agree with Mr. Helfrich, but in this case, he’s right.

A true partnership: Converting the Danskin “disaster” into the State Street Crossing “triumph” was not the doing of just one person or organization, but a true partnership, involving the private sector, the York County Redevelopment Authority and multiple government bodies.

The Redevelopment Authority selected Pennrose as the developer in 2016.

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Financing for the project included $900,000 in HOME funds from the City of York, $1,276,000 in PHARE – Housing Trust Funds and $1,771,000 in grant funds from the Department of Community and Economic Development for the environmental remediation.

Proof that government can be a positive force: In the end, the cooperation of all of those organizations helped State Street Crossing come to a successful completion.

It shows that government can be a creative and positive force in our lives, not just some overbearing and corrupt power to be feared and loathed.

The new development also will live in synergy with the surrounding area, including the development of homes by Habitat for Humanity on Chestnut Street and a new park.

Correcting a misconception: Hopefully, those combined efforts will help to correct the misconception of many who live outside of the city that York is a scary place to be avoided at all costs.

Yes, York has many issues, but there are many sections of the city that are not just surviving, but actually thriving.

Hopefully, State Street Crossing will join those areas.

Owning a home can be a life-changing moment: Owning a home can be a life-changing moment for a family, especially for a family which had been dealing with housing insecurity.

"The most important part for the quality of life of the members of our community is a place to call home," said state Rep. Carol Hill Evans, D-York, "a place to make cherished memories and a place to rest at the end of a hard day's work."

What’s next? Now, we must ask, what’s next?

The immediate waiting list for the State Street Crossing units shows there’s a desperate need for affordable housing.

We must not stop here. We must continue the hard work and the momentum.