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]

April 5, 2023

HARRISBURG – The City of Harrisburg has $13 million in federal funding to makeover its parks and playgrounds, and now we need your help to reimagine them.

In October, the City received a $13,005,733 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for city park improvements. Funds will be used to rebuild and modernize 7th & Radnor Park, Gorgas Playground, Wilson (Rumson) Playground, and Reservoir Park.

However, the turnaround is tight. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has given recipients until June 3 to spend at least 80% of the awarded funding. Because public input is an integral part of the process, everyone is encouraged to complete a survey, sharing your input on the types of equipment, activities, and themes you want to see at your City of Harrisburg parks and playgrounds.

Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WSZBWS2 to complete the survey by no later than June 16. Surveys should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Parents are asked to complete the survey with their children, and fill it out on their behalf.

For additional information, visit the City of Harrisburg Parks and Recreation office at the Reservoir Park Mansion at 100 Concert Drive, or call (717) 255-3030.

All projects must be completed by December 29.

This grant money comes from the most recent round of Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act (CDBG-CV) 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. “I would like to thank our team, led by Grants Director Rebecca Vollmer, for securing this money, which will not only lead to newer and better parks, but will improve the lives and mental well-being of everyone in the City of Harrisburg.”

The parks chosen for improvements are those that are deemed the most in need of immediate repairs. The city is currently in the midst of creating a comprehensive recreation, park, and open space plan for Harrisburg, made possible by a $58,900 grant by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in which additional needs for city parks will be identified.

Once construction begins, the parks project funded by this extraordinary opportunity to implement CDBG-CV funding is expected to be the largest city park project since the modernization of City Island. When completed, at a time still to be determined, the parks designated for improvements will be fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, will be inclusive to all sensories, and will have increased safety measures.

“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.”