Harrisburg officials are announcing more than $2 million in grants earmarked for parks and recreation.

CONTACT: Matt Maisel
Director of Communications, City of Harrisburg
(717) 255-7295
[email protected]

September 21, 2022

HARRISBURG – In the coming years, Harrisburg’s parks will be safer, prettier, and more fun for children, thanks in large part to a series of grants recently received by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

This summer, the city received $2,325,900 in grant money earmarked for parks and recreation needs. More than half came courtesy the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which will go directly towards beautification and environmental projects. Among them, nearly $1 million for Capital Area Greenbelt restoration; $687,000 to rehabilitate the Parkway Creek and more than a mile of trails; and a quarter of a million dollars to help develop the city’s Chutes and Ladders Playground in Reservoir Park.

“This is tremendous, and these grants are going to be a game changer for Harrisburg residents, especially in underserved communities,” said Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams. “I am so proud of our partnership with DCNR, and I cannot thank Secretary (Cindy) Dunn enough for her joint commitment in wanting to make the capital city a center for green space in Pennsylvania.”

Grant money will also go towards creating a pair of “tot lot” playgrounds in Reservoir Park. In addition, the city will be able to make Reservoir Park more ADA accessible, renovate its internal loop trail, and improve its stormwater management.

There is even a grant, courtesy The GIANT (Foods) Company, to install a rain garden to help prevent future flooding at Italian Lake.

“We are really excited about the incredibly positive environmental impact these grants are going to have on the city,” said Dave Baker, Director of Harrisburg’s Parks and Recreation Department. “This will in turn have an impact on residents’ way of life when it comes to their mental health, and being able to enjoy the outdoors.”

Along with the more than $2.3 million the City of Harrisburg has already received in parks and recreation grants, it is awaiting to hear back on potentially $31 million more in county and federal funding available. Included in this is a requested $18 million in Community Block Development Grant funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to go towards park upgrades and renovations, and an additional $13 million devoted to building a splash and slide park in Hall Manor.

A full list of all received and requested grants are listed below:

  • $250,000 from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)  Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2) for the development of the Chutes and Ladders Playground in Reservoir Park.
  •  $900,000 from the PennDOT Transportation Alternatives Set Aside (TASA) program for the Capital Area Greenbelt- Paxtang Parkway Trail Restoration project.
  • $5,000 from the Giant Heal the Plant program to install a rain garden at the north end of Italian Lake.
  • $275,000 from the DCNR C2P2 program for the rehabilitation and further development of Reservoir Park including renovation of an internal loop trail; construction of ADA accessible pedestrian walkways, construction of a “green” parking area, stormwater management measures and installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing.
  • $58,900 from DCNR to prepare a Comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space Plan for Harrisburg City. 
  • $687,000 from the DCNR Rivers Conservation Program for the rehabilitation of the Parkway Creek including rehabilitation of approximately 1.3 miles of trail from Market Street to Derry Street; stream restoration; streambank stabilization; installation of stormwater management measures, riparian forest buffer and ADA access. 
  • $150,000 from the Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Gateways, Trails, and Recreation Program (GTRP) for two tot lots (essentially, playgrounds for younger children and toddlers)

We are also waiting to hear back from a few additional grants:

  • $150,000 in Dauphin County Gaming Grant money to be used to improve the MLK Jr. City Government Center
  • $18,000,000 in CDBG COVID funding to be used for public service building upgrades, and park upgrades and renovations in the following locations
    • 7th & Radnor
    • Sunshine Park
    • Jackson Lick Pool
    • Wilson Park
    • Reservoir Park
  • $13,000,000 in CARES Act (ARPA) Funding to go towards the building of a splash and slide park aquatic center in Hall Manor