Citing high renovation costs, Harrisburg Symphony turns down free building offer

Posted on: December 2, 2013

In Saturday’s (11/30) Sentinel (Cumberland County, Pennsylvania), David Dunkle writes that the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra has “declined the offer of a free riverfront home in Susquehanna Township because the costs of renovation would simply be too high.… The decision to turn down the property, valued at nearly $700,000, means that the professional orchestra … will remain in its current corporate headquarters … in Susquehanna Township. According to HSO Executive Director Jeff Woodruff, the orchestra has a lease there that runs through 2015. The three-story brick home at 3405 Front St., built around 1929, was donated to the orchestra in August 2012 by local philanthropists Derek and Margaret Hathaway.… Because of HSO’s decision not to proceed with the headquarters project, the North Front Street property will revert to the Hathaways…. ‘Symphony supporters should be impressed by the board’s courage to say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” ’ the couple said in a statement. ‘It is obviously better for the community to have … a fully funded symphony, performing to the standards which we are privileged to witness, rather than having an expensively remodeled center and an underfunded orchestra.’ [Board chairman William Lehr Jr.] said the orchestra was appreciative of the Hathaways’ gesture, even though HSO officials ultimately declined their offer.”

Posted December 2, 2013