ULI Philadelphia: Central PA Mayoral Update - A Tale of Three Cities


Thursday, April 11th, 2019
8:00am - 10:00am EDT


Gamut Theater Will open in a new window 15 N 4th ST Harrisburg, PA 17101-1804 UNITED STATES


Standard Pricing Until April 8 Members Non-Members
Private $55.00 $75.00
Public/Academic/Nonprofit $35.00 $45.00
Retired $55.00 N/A
Student $25.00 $40.00
Under Age 35 $35.00 $45.00
Request for refunds must be made at least 48 hours before the event.
All prices will raise $15 after online registration closes on April 8, 2019.
Whether it be the ever-changing infrastructure demands, the need for creative developments, or making our cities more viable for the future, cities throughout Pennsylvania are evolving at a rapid rate. Join us in Harrisburg to hear from mayors of three prominent Pennsylvania Cities: Harrisburg, Lancaster and York, who will share their visions, strategic plans, challenges and highlights for their respective cities.  During this dynamic conversation, we will get a sense of urban development trends across the region.  This event will also showcase the most exciting upcoming urban projects and how we can work together as a region to create better developments, communities and economic growth.
Moderated by Jeremy Jenkins, WGAL News 8 Reporter. 

Gamut Theater 15 N 4th ST Harrisburg, PA 17101-1804 UNITED STATES

view map Will open in a new window



Danene Sorace

Mayor of Lancaster, City of Lancaster

In January 2018, Danene Sorace was elected to serve as the City’s 43rd Mayor, the second woman to hold this post. Danene spent part of her growing up years in Lancaster County and knows first hand how lost jobs and medical emergencies can suddenly result in a family’s financial ruin. In the 3rd grade, she watched as most of her family’s belongings were sold at an auction, but it wasn’t enough. Food stamps, Medicaid, a large vegetable garden and the generosity of family, friends, and neighbors helped. Danene will tell you that getting to eat at a friend’s house meant there would be more food at home for the next day. It wasn’t a happy time for her family. In sixth grade, the family moved to rural Juniata County to start over. Her parents sold their only asset, their home, and bought some land. While living in a pop-up camper, they set about clearing land and building a home. Quickly, neighbors joined in the effort, including several Amish families who remain life long friends. The house was under roof and enclosed by winter, albeit largely unfinished. Danene graduated from Juniata High School in 1990 and Albright College in 1994, holding down parttime jobs throughout both. She went on to receive her Master’s in Public Policy from the Bloustein School at Rutgers University while also working full-time at the university. While at Albright College, she met her husband of twenty years, Christian Recknagel. They were married at the Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1998. After a 9-year stint in Christian’s home state of New Jersey, they moved back to Lancaster, PA to raise their daughter Aurelia (Lia). Lia is now a Reynolds Middle School 7th grader. With more than twenty years of non-profit and philanthropy experience, she has a proven record of developing and implementing strategies to advance shared goals among public/private partners, including the City’s Green Infrastructure program. As a member of City Council, she chaired the Finance Committee. Her mom Bonnie and sister Renee live in Lancaster County. Her father Aurelio passed away in 1999. He ended his career as an instructional aide at a vocational technical school. She is eternally grateful to her parents and family for the experiences that have shaped her life, their love and steadfast belief that the best is yet to be.


Eric Papenfuse

Mayor of Harrisburg, City of Harrisburg

The Honorable Eric Papenfuse took the oath of office for his second term as the Mayor of the City of Harrisburg on Jan. 2, 2018 in a simple but moving ceremony in the MLK Government Center, vowing to continue leading the movement to revitalize the City’s economy and restore trust in government. A successful businessman, Papenfuse led a renaissance in Pennsylvania’s capital city during his first term in office. He was elected Mayor of the City of Harrisburg in 2014 on a platform of uniting the residents of Harrisburg to work toward the common goal of building a better community through attracting business and investment, improving education and restoring pride and prosperity to the state capital. With the motto “Together, We Can,” Papenfuse inspired thousands of people to place their confidence in him to lead Harrisburg out of a period of economic and political malaise. In re-electing him to a second term, the people of Harrisburg reconfirmed their commitment to support Mayor Papenfuse’s initiatives to continue the City’s revival. Papenfuse brought significant business acumen to the Office of the Mayor. He and his wife Cathy started the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, which helped to revitalize the City’s Midtown neighborhood. The Midtown Scholar Bookstore-Café today serves as an important community resource and cultural center, bringing together people from Harrisburg’s diverse neighborhoods. But the company’s main business headquarters is a 50,000 square-foot warehouse near Harrisburg stocked with more than one million books. The Midtown Scholar has become one of the region’s largest national and international shippers. A former public school teacher, Papenfuse taught Latin at Central Dauphin East and Linglestown Junior High Schools, where he served as chair of the Foreign Language department. Born in Baltimore, MD, in 1971 to an elementary-school reading teacher and a state-government archivist, Papenfuse attended Yale University for college and graduate school. The Mayor moved with his wife Cathy to Harrisburg in 1999 after she accepted a post as Assistant Professor of History at Messiah College. It was not long after their move to Harrisburg that the couple went into the book business, a decision that has enriched the entire region and led to his eventual election as Mayor of the City of Harrisburg.


Michael Helfrich

Mayor of York, City of York

Michael Ray Helfrich, a Democrat, was first elected to York City Council in November 2011 and was sworn into office on January 3, 2012. After a successful campaign Michael was re-elected to City Council in November 2015 and was again sworn into office on January 4, 2016. He served as Vice President of Council from January 4, 2016 to November 8, 2016 until he obtained the Presidency on November 9, 2016 following resignation of the seated Council President. Michael Helfrich was elected Mayor on November 8th, 2017 and took the oath of office on January 2nd, 2018. Born the son of Kenneth R. Helfrich from Girard Avenue in the City of York and Christine Hartmann from Frankfurt, Germany, Michael grew up in West York but spent a lot of his time in the City of York in his youth. Michael graduated in the top five of his class in 1988 from West York High School. After graduation, Michael attended York College but spent most of his “twenties” traveling the country. He had the opportunity to visit places such as Boulder, Colorado, New Orleans, and the Florida Keys. In 2001, Michael returned to York City and started the non-profit Codorus Creek Improvement Partnership, leading York’s volunteers in an effort that has since made great progress in restoring York’s main natural resource. Since 2005, Michael has served as the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, a legal and political advocate to improve waterways and communities around central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. Michael served as Judge of Elections from 2003 to 2005 and as an elections inspector and clerk from 2008 to 2010. He was honored with the York City Leader of the Year Award in 2004, and the York County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award in 2005. Michael previously sat on the York County Community Foundation Codorus Watershed Endowment Advisory Board, was Director of the Board of Keep York Beautiful and the Watershed Alliance of York, and was Vice-Chair of the York NAACP Labor and Industry Committee. A local historian, Mayor Helfrich is living in the oldest owner-occupied home in the City of York, the Cookes House, also known as the Tom Paine House, which was built in 1761. The research he completed on his house, and Thomas Paine’s time in York in 1778, developed into a published work of art titled “The Question of Thomas Paine at York Town,” and was published in the Journal of York County Heritage, vol. 2, 2011. In his spare time Mayor Helfrich enjoys spending time with his young daughter, Lily, fishing in the Codorus Creek, eating at Central Market, and listening to and playing music around the York community.

Event Sponsors

Supporting Sponsor

Harristown Development Corporation
High Real Estate Group LLC

Title Sponsor

B&F Partners

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please keep in touch .