The Renaissance of York City

The Valencia Ballroom Order A Print

Throughout the first half of the Twentieth Century, York City was known throughout the region as the place to be. Several companies manufactured automobiles in the city. The Valencia Ballroom was a popular destination for big band entertainment, regularly hosting big-name entertainers like Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey. Streetcars connected the downtown with communities throughout the countryside. The town was vibrant and growing. But like so many other cities, things changed. People and businesses flocked to suburbia, creating a healthy "ring" around the city, but leaving many holes in the center.

But York City has come back, and continual efforts to renew the downtown have received national recognition. York was the recipient of the Great American Mainstreet Award in 1998, and more recently was a finalist in the 2000 All-America City Award. Today, block by block, the downtown is regaining its one-time status as the place to be. Bricks and mortar are finding new homes at the Susquehanna Commerce Center, a new office complex located adjacent to the Codorus Creek, and at the Boundry Avenue Corridor, a new collection of buildings housing commercial, health care, and educational functions. A new York County Judicial Center is rising along North George Street, and plans are under way for a new baseball stadium and minor league baseball team.

Center city York is again becoming the nucleus of the York County community. The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, York County Heritage Trust museums, Central and Farmers Markets, and recently expanded York County Heritage Rail Trail County Park draw residents from throughout the county and beyond. Restaurants like Autographs at the grand Yorktowne Hotel and Roosevelt Tavern provide fine dining opportunities. The Valencia Ballroom has been resurrected, and now plays host to special events and receptions.

With renewed business support, younger residents moving into the city, and a dedication to make the downtown a thriving urban district, York City is again becoming the place to be.

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1999, 2002 by Scott D. Butcher


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