by Buz Wolfe
As I pen my last letter for the Cumberland Valley Business Journal, I reflect upon what a great honor it was to be asked to contribute my thoughts and opinions over the last year.
While my job was to provide information and insight regarding local real estate, the scope of my thoughts are so much more.
In a few weeks, many of us will be making resolutions for the New Year. One of my resolutions is to be more thankful for the privilege and opportunity of living in the community that I call the Greater Carlisle Area.
The quality of life in this community is exceptional. We have so many people who dedicate themselves as professionals or as volunteers to making this a very special place to live. So for my “swan song”, allow me to point out the obvious.
INSTITUTIONS: The United States Army War College; Dickinson College; Penn State Dickinson School of Law; Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet; American Heritage Education Center.
What do these have in common? These are world class academic institutions situated right here in our very back yard.
Their combined economic impact to this community is in the hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Yet, as local residents, we frequently take for granted this enormous local gift.
These institutions are recognized all over the world. Let’s be a little bit thankful.
EDUCATION: I referenced above several world class academic institutions that are present here in our community. But let’s not lose sight of the blessings that have been bestowed upon all of us as it relates to our public school systems.
Big Spring, Carlisle Area, Cumberland Valley and South Middleton Schools provide some of the finest public school education opportunities anywhere in the country. And this is not to overlook or exclude our neighbors in Mechanicsburg and Shippensburg and other areas. I only mention the Districts represented by the five municipalities which physically touch the Borough of Carlisle.
Let’s not forget to give thanks to the volunteer school board members and highly educated administrators and dedicated faculty members who support these Districts.
ECONOMY: It is well known that Cumberland County is the fastest growing county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We also typically have the lowest unemployment rate. This is not an accident.
We do enjoy a geographic location and proximity that is helpful. How many times have you been grateful that within 2-3 hours you can be in major metropolitan markets such as Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and even New York City?
For some folks, this is a blessing and a curse. It has brought to us the warehouse and distribution market. I won’t debate the pros and cons of the big warehouses other than to mention that they are an enormous source of tax revenue for our local governments and school districts without imposing almost any burden by way of police protection and school enrollment increases.
Carlisle is the seat for Cumberland County. Carlisle is twenty or thirty minutes from the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Carlisle continues to enjoy a healthy diversification of business, industry and institutions that support a very healthy economy.
HUMAN SERVICES: Despite our relative fortune and affluence, there are many people within our midst who have real needs. Carlisle handles those as well as any community anywhere. The United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County helps to support nearly thirty human service organizations throughout the area which provide much needed services to those who require it. We have one of the best United Way organizations in the country right here in our own backyard. And did you know that 100% of every dollar given to the United Way here in Carlisle stays in Carlisle?
We are fortunate to have so many other important community organizations such as the Carlisle Family YMCA, The YWCA, the Salvation Army and Red Cross, Carlisle Cares, Safe Harbour and on and on. We are indeed a giving community.
AUTONOMY: Our town. Yes, this is our town.
Carlisle is so blessed to have its own daily newspaper, its own Chamber of Commerce, its own United Way and other organizations referenced above.
Carlisle is not some amalgamation of communities that call themselves the “West Shore”. Carlisle is a fiercely autonomous community. We have a square in Carlisle!
I take great pride – – and have tried hard to give back – – for living in such a vibrant community. The Greater Carlisle Area represents five school districts and a dozen or more municipalities. Together, we enjoy a lot and we accomplish a great deal as well.
REAL ESTATE: Most people read this article for my opinion on Real Estate. So allow me to close with some thoughts on local real estate.
I have been a Broker in this community for 35 years. During that time I have witnessed a very stable, conservative and reasonably paced market place.
Although the unprecedented period of 2007-20012 produced some amount of property deprecation (devaluation) – – something that I had never observed before – – we are back on strong footing. Property values now are pretty much back to 2005/2006 levels. That is good for everyone. Supply and demand are in relative balance.
If you are considering buying or selling in 2018, take the time to seek out an experienced real estate professional to assist you with your business. Carlisle is also blessed with several very good real estate companies and many very good real estate practitioners. Simply do your homework to make sure your “agent” possesses the designations, background and experience to help you be successful.
It has been my pleasure to share my thoughts with you during 2017. May God bless you and allow you and your loved ones to enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year!
*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986