Harrisburg developing a long-term plan for first time since the 70's

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 8, 2015 3:17 AM

Photo by kev72/flickr

(Harrrisburg) -- The city of Harrisburg is working on a plan to shape development in the city over the next 20 years, and the public announcement felt more like a celebration.

It's not every day you hear Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse say: "As you can tell, I'm excited."

But he's nearly giddy a comprehensive plan is in the works.

After all, the last time the city had one - 1974 - Dancing Machine by the Jackson Five was topping the charts, a Hungarian sculptor was inventing the Rubik's Cube puzzle, and President Nixon was resigning after Watergate.

The plan will shape zoning maps, transportation infrastructure, efforts to combat blight, and more.

Papenfuse says a drive around the city tells him it's time to set long-term goals.

"All the time, and acting without a plan, we can't like not have progress, we can't not continue to move, we can't not continue to have development, but I can tell you, our land bank wants to see the plan, our zoning hearing board wants to see the plan," he adds.

As for what he wants to see...

"Well that is an excellent question for the public. No, but it is. It is not about what individual thinks or about what the mayor thinks," says Papenfuse.

"Sure, I have lots of opinions and I'm going to participate. But the key to a successful plan is asking the community, neighborhood by neighborhood, what it wants to see," 

Public meetings will start in mid-June, with a website going up around the same time for people's ideas and opinions.

The comprehensive plan is required by the Harrisburg Strong debt deal and is expected to cost around $200,000.

City Council is expected to vote on the plan in April 2016.

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