311 Help Desk
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City of harrisburg logo

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

July 6, 2023

HARRISBURG – Parks and playgrounds in Harrisburg are about to undergo a massive renovation, and city leaders need the community’s help to redesign them.

Harrisburg Parks & Recreation is inviting city residents to a free picnic, where they can continue to share thoughts and ideas of how they want their future play spaces to look at Reservoir Park, Wilson Park, 7th & Radnor Park, and Gorgas Playground. Community members are encouraged to please scan the QR code found below and on associated flyers to RSVP to any of the seven meeting dates. There will be six picnics and one virtual meeting.

The meetings will take place on Saturday, July 22 at 1pm at Reservoir Park; Sunday, July 23 at 11am at 7th & Radnor/Gorgas Playground; Monday, July 24 at 6pm at Wilson Park; Friday, September 15 at 6pm at Reservoir Park; Saturday, September 16 at 12pm at Wilson Park; and Sunday, September 17 at 11am at 7th & Radnor/Gorgas.

Families can sign up for multiple picnics.

In addition, there will be a virtual meeting held over Teams on Monday, August 21 at 12pm. The meeting link will be provided at a later date.

In October 2022, The City of Harrisburg received $13,005,733 in grant money from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)-CARES Act funding, which is designed to support community improvements meant to enhance

the quality of life for residents. Because the grant comes from CARES Act funding, the city had to show why improvements were needed as related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic highlighted not only how much our residents wanted to use our parks, but how much those parks desperately needed improvements,” said Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams.

The Department of Parks and Recreation decided to focus the attention on parks it felt needed the most immediate work based off how often they are used and the quality of current equipment. In April, project leaders started three-month public comment period where 497 people filled out surveys which detailed what they wanted to see in their parks and playgrounds.

The next round of “picnic” public meetings will be done in three phases:

  • The first three meetings held July 22-24 will discuss 30% of the design for each park on each respective park’s date
  • The August 21 Teams Webinar will discuss all three projects at 60% design completion
  • The final three meetings held September 15-17 will provide the public a glance at designs at 90% completion, and get input on the finishing touches

“These parks will look nothing like they do now once we’re done with them,” said Parks and Recreation Director Dave Baker. “We’re going to undergo a complete rehabilitation to bring them up to modern requirements and expectations for what our residents deserve.”

Among the changes being discussed at 7th & Radnor and Gorgas Playground include: new bleachers, press box, concession stand, stadium lighting, multi-purpose courts, field restoration, new play equipment, new landscraping; at Wilson Playground: new lighting, basketball and volleyball courts, stormwater infrastructure, connectivity to Greenbelt walking trails; and at Reservoir Park: spray park, stormwater infrastructure, new restrooms and pavilions, water play features, and increased lighting.

In addition, increased ADA accessibility will be at the forefront of all decisions.

Projects are slated for completion by the end of 2024.