Sunbury, Pennsylvania

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Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Sunbury, Pennsylvania.jpg
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberland County
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberland County
Map of Northumberland County highlighting Sunbury
Map of Northumberland County highlighting Sunbury
Coordinates: 40°51′50″N 76°47′21″W / 40.86389°N 76.78917°W / 40.86389; -76.78917Coordinates: 40°51′50″N 76°47′21″W / 40.86389°N 76.78917°W / 40.86389; -76.78917
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
CountyNorthumberland County
Settled1772
Incorporated (borough)1797
Incorporated (city)1920
Government
 • TypeCity
 • MayorDavid Persing
Area
 • Total2.2 sq mi (6 km2)
 • Land2.1 sq mi (5 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)  1.40%
Elevation[1]450 ft (140 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total9,835
 • Density4,716.7/sq mi (1,821.1/km2)
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
USA/STATE17801
Area code(s)570 Exchanges: 286, 863, 988
Website[1]
 
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Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Sunbury, Pennsylvania.jpg
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberland County
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberland County
Map of Northumberland County highlighting Sunbury
Map of Northumberland County highlighting Sunbury
Coordinates: 40°51′50″N 76°47′21″W / 40.86389°N 76.78917°W / 40.86389; -76.78917Coordinates: 40°51′50″N 76°47′21″W / 40.86389°N 76.78917°W / 40.86389; -76.78917
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
CountyNorthumberland County
Settled1772
Incorporated (borough)1797
Incorporated (city)1920
Government
 • TypeCity
 • MayorDavid Persing
Area
 • Total2.2 sq mi (6 km2)
 • Land2.1 sq mi (5 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)  1.40%
Elevation[1]450 ft (140 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total9,835
 • Density4,716.7/sq mi (1,821.1/km2)
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
USA/STATE17801
Area code(s)570 Exchanges: 286, 863, 988
Website[1]

Sunbury /ˈsʌnbɛri/ is a city in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The city is located on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, just downstream of the confluence of its main and West branches. It dates back to the early 18th century and is the county seat of Northumberland County.[2]

Thomas Edison features in the town's history, and the historic Edison Hotel was renamed in his honor. Other historic sites include the Beck House, Northumberland County Courthouse, and Sunbury Historic District, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

Sunbury's population was 9,905 at the 2010 census.

History[edit]

Sunbury was founded in 1772, four years prior to the Declaration of Independence. The city is located at the site of the former Fort Augusta, built in 1756, which provided protection and order for early British settlers in the Susquehanna Valley. It was named after Sunbury-on-Thames, a town in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne, England, just outside of Greater London.[4]

Thomas Edison installed the first successful three-wire electric lighting system in July 1883 at what was then known as the City Hotel. At the city's 150th anniversary celebration in 1922, the hotel was renamed the Edison Hotel.[5]

Geography[edit]

Sunbury is located at 40°51′50″N 76°47′21″W / 40.86389°N 76.78917°W / 40.86389; -76.78917 (40.863894, -76.789174).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), of which, 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (1.40%) is water.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.
18501,218
18601,80348.0%
18703,13173.7%
18804,07730.2%
18905,93045.5%
19009,81065.4%
191013,77040.4%
192015,72114.2%
193015,626−0.6%
194015,462−1.0%
195015,5700.7%
196013,687−12.1%
197013,025−4.8%
198012,292−5.6%
199011,591−5.7%
200010,610−8.5%
20109,905−6.6%
Est. 20129,835−0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2012 Estimate[8]
Location of the Sunbury-Lewisburg-Selinsgrove CSA and its components:
  Sunbury Micropolitan Statistical Area (Northumberland County)
  Lewisburg Micropolitan Statistical Area (Union County)
  Selinsgrove Micropolitan Statistical Area (Snyder County)

Sunbury is the largest principal city of the Sunbury-Lewisburg-Selinsgrove CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Sunbury (Northumberland County), Lewisburg (Union County), and Selinsgrove (Snyder County) micropolitan areas,[9][10] which had a combined population of 173,726 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2010, there were 9,905 people, 4,540 households, and 2,637 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,716.7 people per square mile. There were 4,864 housing units at an average density of 2,316.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city in the year 2000 was 95.26% White, 1.29% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.91% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.09% of the population.

In 2000, there were 4,540 households, of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.91.

In 2000, the city the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,893 in 2000, and the median income for a family was $33,148. Males had a median income of $26,497 versus $18,994 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,350. About 14.6% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.

Government[edit]

Sunbury is a city of the third class. Pennsylvania Third Class Cities are municipalities with a population of at least 10,000 (at one time) but less than 80,000 residents. The city operates under a commission form of government, with a Mayor and four Councilmen. The mayor is a member and serves as president of the council. All third class cities are governed by the Third Class City Code. Each Councilman and Mayor is in charge of one of the city’s major departments. The current mayor is David Persing.

These officials and the controller and treasurer are elected at-large for four-year terms. Appointments of all other city officers and employees are made by the council. The current members of city council are James Eister, Kevin Troup, Joseph Bartello, III, and Todd Snyder. The goals of these members are to enact legislation for the ethical operation of the City Government, to assist in the planning of the City's revitalization and future, and to maintain discussions with the City Administration and City residents to ensure a smooth and efficient government to govern the city.[11]

The city's police department is headed by chief of police Stephen Mazzeo. There is an extensive staff including police officers, a K-9 unit and clerical support. The department participates in the DARE anti-drug program, bolstered by drug sweeps of the city.

The Sunbury Municipal Authority manages the following services for residents, businesses and industries of the City of Sunbury and parts of Upper Augusta: drinking water, wastewater, flood control, recycling, and the Municipal Transfer Station for large rubbish. Residents may bring their trash there for disposal for a per bag or by weight fee.

In July 2007 the city council voted to begin a program aimed at dealing with blighted properties. Initially the program will address seven properties. The properties will be demolished at the taxpayer's expense and put to public use.[12]

The city is located in the 108th District Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the 27th district of the Pennsylvania Senate in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. With regards to the U.S. House of Representatives, residents are in Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district.

Notable businesses[edit]

Weis Markets, a regional supermarket chain operating in five states, is headquartered in Sunbury. The company is a significant employer in the city and the region.

Sunbury Textile Mills,[13] a quality fabric manufacturer operating in Sunbury.

R. U. Troutman & Sons, Inc.,[14] is a snack food distributor located in Sunbury. The company distributes products such as Middleswarth potato chips, Tom Sturgis pretzels, Uncle Henry hard pretzels, Keystone Food products, Trails Best meats, and more.

Great Coasters International is a world-known roller coaster design and manufacturing firm and lists its contact address in Sunbury, though it is actually located outside of the city limits.

Sunbury Motor Company. Family owned and operated since 1915. Located on North 4th Street.

Education[edit]

Map of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania Public School Districts

The local public school system is the Shikellamy School District. The administrative offices are located at Administration Center, 200 Island Blvd, Sunbury, PA 17801. Shikellamy High School has an 84% graduation rate according to the district report card 2010. In 11th grade, 49% were proficient in math. For reading 62% were proficient in 2005-2006. The high school is ranked 384th out of 606 public high schools in Pennsylvania.

In 2007, the Pittsburgh Business Times ranked the district 434th out of 499 Pennsylvania school districts based on three years of Pennsylvania System of Student Assessment test scores.[15]

The Shikellamy School Board set the budget at $34.62 million for 2007-2008. The board levies a variety of taxes to support its programs. Taxes include 62.5 mills real estate tax in 2007.[16] Per capita taxes are $5 per resident. An earned income taxes of one-half of 1 percent of income yields a revenue of approximately $1.8 million. Additionally, the real estate transfer tax of one-half percent (Nothumberland borough, Point Township, Rockefeller Township) and one percent (Snydertown borough) is levied on real estate transfers.[17]

Voters rejected a tax referendum in May 2007 which would have increased local earned income tax by 0.5 percent to reduce property taxes for homeowners and farmers by $176.[18]

SUN Area Technical Institute is a regional vocational school, offering adult education classes, vocational education, and technical career training. SUN Tech serves over 1500 people annually. ISO9001 and Middle States Accredited. SUN Tech was presented with the Significant Achievement Award in Education for raising their Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award score to 648 points, a 345 point increase from 303 points in August, 2000.

Residents also have a selection of alternative schools. By law, the local public school must provide transportation to schools within 10 miles (20 km) of the borders of the school district at no charge to the student.[19]

Parochial schools[edit]

Charter schools[edit]

Library[edit]

The Degenstein Community Library is located at 40 South Fifth Street. It provides print, video, microfilm and online resources. Programs promote reading for all age levels.

The Northumberland County Historical Society maintains the Charlotte Darrah Walter Genealogical Library. It contains material on local history along with thousands of records of early families from Northumberland County and surrounding counties. Access to records is on a fee basis. There are also permanent exhibits dealing with the site in prehistoric times, at the time of the Moravian Mission and blacksmith shop, and Fort Augusta during the French and Indian War and later under the Americans, during the Revolutionary War.[22]

The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way in 2006 commissioned a study regarding what matters most in area communities. They found that some major concerns were: alcohol and drug use among all age groups and its effects on the community, the dependency on social services and assistance across generations, and a lack of public transportation.[23] It is the intention of the organization to focus spending on these issues.

Media[edit]

The local newspaper is The Daily Item, and there are a variety of local radio stations, including the All News/Sports channel WKOK 1070 kHz AM, the Big Country Radio Network (WLGL 92.3 FM, WYGL-FM 100.5 FM, and WWBE 98.3 FM) and WFYY Y106.5 FM and 94.1 WQKX.

Notable people[edit]

Parks and recreation[edit]

The extensive Sunbury Riverfront Park Project is in the planning and implementation stages in Sunbury. An extensive floodwall protection system was designed and built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1951. Additional height was added to the wall in 2003. The system has provided protection from 15 major flood events over the past 50 years.[28] In 1972, flood waters from Hurricane Agnes crested at 35.8 feet (10.9 m) at Sunbury, two feet higher than the crest in 1936. The wall held back the water and residents showed their gratitude in messages they wrote on the wall.[29]

Hurricane Agnes in late June 1972 was blamed for 10 deaths in Lancaster County, eight in Dauphin County, five in York County and four in both Northumberland and Luzerne counties, according to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.[30]

Additionally, a multimillion dollar fish ladder is being built across the river in Shamokin Dam to mitigate the impediment of the shad migration up the Susquehanna River that the annual inflation of the Adam T. Bower Fabri Dam causes.[31]

The Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam, an inflatable fabric-tube dam barrage impounding the Susquehanna River, creates a 3,000 acres (12 km2) Augusta Lake for recreation. It is inflated in May and deflated in the fall. The new waterfront development in Sunbury will provide a marina with transient boat docks, walking trails, gardens, an amphitheater and a new accessible fishing pier. In all three acres of land will be added to the river side of the flood wall.

The city offers baseball fields, a skating park, tennis courts, playgrounds, a community pool and a small park that is located next to the county courthouse, in the downtown area.[32]

A vacant building in the Shikellamy State Park along the river is under consideration for redevelopment as an environmental research and education center. Designed in the 1960s, the facility was originally the Basse Beck Environmental Center. It has been vacant for several years.

Economy[edit]

The city and state struggle economically, part of America's "Rust Belt". A Brookings Institute publication has cited reasons including a lack of inter-municipal coordination and cooperation, a changing employment base and a dearth of jobs paying a living wage, out-migration of young people, an aging population, the need for workforce development, and an inequitable local tax structure.[33]

The Susquehanna Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) received $173,500 in planning grant funding (2005) to support the redevelopment of the Wilhold Manufacturing facility located in Sunbury. The BOS funding paid for a market study, phase II environmental study, wetland review, traffic impact study and title survey. The site, an 11.6-acre (47,000 m2) former rail yard and plastic manufacturing plant, is to be developed into four, 2-acre (8,100 m2) shovel-ready sites. It was suggested that the redevelopment of this facility will result in the creation of 120 jobs.[34] The site was purchased by Moran Industries, based in Watsontown, for $200,000.[35] Moran is using the space for food grade storage.

Weis Markets has its corporate headquarters in Sunbury.[36]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Sunbury, Pennsylvania (PA) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  4. ^ http://www.cityofsunbury.com/Pages/Home.aspx
  5. ^ History of the Edison Hotel
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  10. ^ COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENT CORE BASED STATISTICAL AREAS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  11. ^ "Sunbury- City Council". Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Scott, Rob, " City to take over 7 vacant houses." The Daily Item, July 24, 2007.
  13. ^ Sunbury Textile Mills: http://www.sunburytextiles.com/
  14. ^ R. U. Troutman & Sons, Inc. Distributing: http://pasnacks.com/Troutmans.htm
  15. ^ Valley schools all over the chart, Daily Item June 6, 2007 http://www.dailyitem.com/archivesearch/local_story_163000144.html
  16. ^ Shikellamy school board adopts $34.6M budget, Daily Item, June 20, 2007 http://www.dailyitem.com/0100_news/local_story_171003120.html
  17. ^ Shikellamy budget approved Daily Item, May 19, 2007 http://www.dailyitem.com/archivesearch/local_story_139001649.html
  18. ^ Tax reform proposal falls in all Valley school districts, Daily Item, May 19, 2007. http://www.dailyitem.com/archivesearch/local_story_139203055.html
  19. ^ 24 PS 17-1726-A Transportation to charter schools http://www.pde.state.pa.us/transportation/lib/transportation/SchoolCode_Transportation_7-17-06.pdf
  20. ^ http://www.connectionsacademy.com/state/home.asp?schoolCode=CCA Connections Academy
  21. ^ Boss, Shira, "Virtual charters: public schooling, at home", Christian Science Monitor, January 2002.
  22. ^ Northumberland County Historical Society web site. http://www.northumberlandcountyhistoricalsociety.org/information.htm
  23. ^ "Group works to define quality of life issues." The Daily Item, July 15, 2007.
  24. ^ J. L. Floyd & Co., Genealogical and Biographical Annals of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, 1911, page 160
  25. ^ "Shikellamy Historical Marker", explorepahistory.com (Harrisburg, PA, USA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission), retrieved July 28, 2012, "Oneida chief and overseer or vice-regent of the Six Nations asserting Iroquois dominion over conquered Delaware and other tribes. He lived at Shamokin Indian town, Sunbury, from about 1728 until his death, 1748. Said to be buried near here." 
  26. ^ Merrell, James. "Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier". 
  27. ^ Grumet, Robert Steven (1996), Northeastern Indian lives, 1632-1816, Native Americans of the Northeast, Amherst, MA, USA: University of Massachusetts Press, ISBN 1558490019, OCLC 605358451, LCCN 95-33144, retrieved July 28, 2012 Closed access(subscription required)
  28. ^ Background Information and Data, Sunbury Riverfront Park Project http://www.seda-cog.org/nor-sunbury/lib/nor-sunbury/riverfrontproject/finalmsp/01_background.pdf
  29. ^ History of Sunbury The flood wall SEDA-COG, Oct. 12, 2005.
  30. ^ Tropical Storm Agnes in the Susquehanna River Basin June 21–24, 1972, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Information Sheet
  31. ^ DCNR to Remove Last Impediment to Shad on Susquehanna, http://www.dep.state.pa.us/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=3840&SubjectID=
  32. ^ Public parks of Sunbury http://www.seda-cog.org/nor-sunbury/cwp/view.asp?a=853&q=428179
  33. ^ Alter, Theodore R. "Strengthening Rural Pennsylvania" Brookings Institute. March 2007.
  34. ^ Business in our Sites award
  35. ^ Finnerty, John, "Moran buys Wilhold site", The Daily Item, Jan 13, 2006.
  36. ^ "Contact Us." (Archive) Weis Markets. Retrieved on May 7, 2012. "1000 South Second Street PO Box 471 Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801"