PA Heart & Soul Profile | Greater Carlisle

PA Humanities is currently working with cities and towns across the state to put people first in community development and planning processes through Community Heart & Soul®. The program’s innovative approach uses the tools of the humanities to creatively engage residents in planning and decision-making processes as a way to strengthen a town’s social, cultural and economic vibrancy.

The Carlisle Community

Greater Carlisle’s mixture of historic towns, rural and suburban townships, farms and commercial zones are home to 67,000 people. Its green spaces, hiking trails, waterways, bike routes and proximity to South and Blue Mountains make it an ideal location for outdoor activities.

The area is home to the US Army War College, the Central Pennsylvania Youth BalletDickinson College, and the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. The Borough of Carlisle, the county seat and host to collector car events, was ranked 16th on Livability’s Top 100 Best Small Towns list in 2015, with its variety of recreational activities and high level of public participation in redevelopment efforts cited as strengths. 

Community members gather for the annual public meeting of the Greater Carlisle Project. Photo by Lindsey Lyons, Dickinson College.

While Greater Carlisle has many strengths, it also has areas that need improvement. A significant number of jobs were lost when three manufacturing facilities closed in recent years. A 2011 needs assessment identified public transportation, affordable housing, job opportunities, environmental problems, racial divisions and poverty as requiring attention.

Residents, organizations, businesses and local governments of the boroughs and townships of Greater Carlisle are responding to these needs. Successful applications for federal, state and local grants are being used to launch redevelopment efforts.

Long Term Goals

  • Strengthen the community as a great place to live, work, play, learn and visit.

Project Goals

  • Use storytelling to learn and share what the community values, what matters, how we relate to each other and our landscape, and what we want for our future.
  • Assemble a diverse team that have the skills, knowledge, community connections and passion for implementing all phases of our Community Heart & Soul® project.
  • Produce and share storytelling products that have value and impact in the community.
  • Create a Community Heart & Soul ™ project roadmap that has ownership and support from multiple and diverse stakeholders in the community.


Additional project information is available from Greater Carlisle Heart and Soul website.

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