locally owned since 1854

Woodworth picked to be new Middletown Borough Council member, replacing Ben Kapenstein

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 5/17/18

Mike Woodworth was appointed by Middletown Borough Council on Wednesday to fill the vacancy created by the May 1 resignation of Ben Kapenstein.

Woodworth, of the 600 block of Hoffer Street, will …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Woodworth picked to be new Middletown Borough Council member, replacing Ben Kapenstein

Posted

Mike Woodworth was appointed by Middletown Borough Council on May 16 to fill the vacancy created by the May 1 resignation of former councilor Ben Kapenstein.

Woodworth, of the 600 block of Hoffer Street, will serve until the end of Kapenstein’s term which expires at the end of 2019. Council voted 6-0 to appoint Woodworth.

Woodworth during a public question and answer session before being appointed told council he does not know yet if he will run for a full term on council in 2019.

Woodworth in September 2016 was appointed to a five-year term on the borough’s recently reconstituted Human Relations Commission.

Woodworth chairs the commission and, responding to a question from Mayor James H. Curry III, said he plans to remain on the commission while serving on council.

Serving on the commission is “very rewarding but time consuming,” Woodworth said, adding that he expects being on council to be more time consuming still.

Woodworth said he hopes to evaluate through his experience on council whether to run in 2019, if being on council “fits right for my life and family.”

Woodworth was the only borough resident to apply to fill the vacancy, in contrast to five residents who applied to fill the vacancy created when Diana McGlone resigned from her council seat in March.

Council on April 3 picked Angela Lloyd of the 100 block of Oak Hill Drive to replace McGlone. Lloyd had also been appointed to the Human Relations Commission by council, and she is still on the commission according to the borough web site.

Woodworth said he hopes to bring a “positive, constructive, reasonable and rational voice” to council discussions, and that he considers himself “an independent thinker” who looks at situations from all perspectives in making a decision.

Asked what is the biggest issue facing Middletown, Woodworth said there are many individual issues but they all come down to where the borough gets its revenue, and how it spends its money.

For example, he described the borough having its own electric company as a double-edged sword - electric revenue helps the borough avoid raising taxes, but residents and businesses not being able to shop for competitive electric rates is “an obstacle and a burden” that can make it harder for Middletown to attract new people and companies to move into the town.
The borough needs to explore “new sources of revenue” or find ways of “tweaking existing sources” to provide more “options” for how residents and businesses can support the town, Woodworth said.

He sees Middletown’s biggest asset as “the opportunities” the town has, including the school district, the growing Penn State Harrisburg campus, proximity to Harrisburg International Airport, “alot of fantastic businesses” and available storefronts that Woodworth described as “canvasses for new businesses.”

Woodworth also discussed in detail his efforts since being appointed to the Human Relations Commission to establish closer ties between the borough and Penn State Harrisburg, particularly its students.

The effort has led to two Penn State Harrisburg students volunteering to serve as a liaison to the commission, Woodworth said.

Meetings with these students and Penn State Harrisburg staff have led to an understanding that the students’ biggest concern regarding Middletown is a lack of “mobility,” Woodworth said.

Most students have little alternative but to walk to get into town, he told council. That can be unsafe, especially on the north side of Main Street near campus where there are no sidewalks, Woodworth said.

The commission has been working to address the sidewalk issue. Also, in consultation with the campus, the commission is also trying to develop new transportation options for Penn State students and borough residents, one being a proposed public trolley system, Woodworth said.

Woodworth grew up in Middletown on Ann Street, and has lived in the borough his entire life except for a few years in the early 2000s.

Woodworth's wife Katie is an art teacher at Harrisburg High School. They have a son, Strummer, who is wrapping up his 4th grade year at Reid Elementary School.