You can't predict the future. You can only predict the past. But here is my best attempt anyway. Artists, entrepreneurs, engineers, and city officials in Harrisburg have big plans for 2021. Below is an idea of what may be on the way. Take it with a grain of salt. If 2020 has taught us something, plans can change very quickly.
Advisory Committee on the Prosecution of Citizens
This was one of the hottest pieces of legislation in town in 2020. Months of town hall meetings and public comments from affected residents led to the approval of a panel tasked with overseeing the Harrisburg Police Department. The nine board members will have the authority to review police documents and records and make recommendations to the city council. The council and mayor are to appoint residents to serve in the coming year.
Harrisburg significantly increased its budget for the police office for 2021 and created new police positions in the community. There will be seven "Community Service Assistants," a new civilian position aimed at improving the offices' relationships with residents and assisting officials. Two more co-responders will join who is already on a Dauphin County program in Harrisburg. The co-responders are trained professionals who help with police calls where mental health problems may play a role.
Oh the days of listening to live music. Harrisburg University had big plans for 2020 concerts, but COVID derails them all. That didn't stop them from bringing out big names for 2021. Rockers Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will perform at Riverfront Park on May 29th. September 23rd brings a weekend concert blitz with Cage the Elephant, Dawes and Portugal. The man. Concerts canceled from 2020, including Young the Giant and MisterWives, have also been postponed to 2021.
In his January column, our editor pondered the many important development plans that surfaced in 2020 but didn't do much. Developers have big plans for the New Year, but when exactly will they come true? Bridge Ecovillage plans to begin construction on the old Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg this spring. Integrated Development Partners may begin construction of the former Salvation Army building on Cumberland and Green Streets, subject to city approval. They propose 16 standard condominiums. Also subject to city approval is a plan to renovate the former Gerber department store – also known as "carpets and drapes" for the front sign – on the 1500s block of N. 3rd Street. Nathaniel Foote, who lives in Harrisburg, hopes to convert it into a small home by the end of the year. TLC Construction & Renovations plans to build eight apartments in Uptown and two abandoned buildings on N. Cameron Street for Harrisburg Commercial Interiors to convert into office and residential space. After all, Harrisburg University was about to lay the foundation for its eleven-story academic building.
New beers, eats
A Broad Street Market favorite, Zeroday Brewing Co. is slated to open a much larger location on the 900 block on 3rd 3rd St. early next year. The Radish & Rye Food Hub, which was also a market vendor, was due to open soon across the street on N. 3rd Street, the owners confirmed. Also expected earlier this year is the eagerly anticipated Good Brothas Book Café on the 1400 block on N. 3rd Street.
After a chaotic presidential election year, Harrisburg will host a race for its own chairman in 2021. The primaries will take place in May, followed by a general election in November. Current Mayor Eric Papenfuse is likely to stand for re-election. David Schankweiler, former editor of the Central Penn Business Journal and former chairman of the federally appointed Intergovernmental Cooperation Agency, said he plans to challenge Papenfuse. According to sources, former city council member Otto Banks could also be at the start. In addition, there are four seats on the city council.
Sprocket Mural Works announced that they will be hosting a 2021 Mural Festival in Harrisburg. According to their website, they plan to paint more in Allison Hill, create a mural on Mulberry Street Bridge, and want to create a pocket park in Midtown. However, due to COVID, they are not allowed to hold an outdoor celebration.
South Allison Hill Security Project
The 2021 city budget approved $ 103,345 for an initiative to improve lighting, security, demolished homes and vacant lots in Allison Hill. Tri County Community Action, Wildheart Ministries, Power to the Hill and four other organizations decided to take action after crime rates rose in this part of Harrisburg.
City engineer Wayne Martin has told TheBurg that Harrisburg will be busy with road works in 2021. Some larger projects include reducing the number of lanes on State Street to reduce car accidents and pedestrian deaths. This has been approved by PennDOT, who owns the road. Other projects coming next year are likely to include adding bike lanes, parking, and improving the sidewalk on Chestnut and Walnut streets. Plans are underway to convert 2nd Street into a one-way street, improve 7th Street and expand a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly corridor on Boyd Street from N. 3rd Street to N. 6th Street.
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