Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg receives state grants for gun violence prevention, Reservoir Park improvements

Harrisburg’s recently hired community service aides for the Police Bureau.

Harrisburg has received new state funding to bolster its crime prevention efforts and to improve one of its largest parks.

The commonwealth recently awarded the city a $500,000 grant to expand its community policing division and another $150,000 for improvements to Reservoir Park.

On the public safety front, Harrisburg will receive money from the state’s Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Grant Program, administered through Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The program was announced in September as a way to help prevent gun violence. Harrisburg’s project was one of 40 approved for a portion of $24 million spread throughout the state.

The funds will go towards expanding resources for the Harrisburg Police Bureau’s community service aide (CSA) program and for increasing partnerships with nonprofit organizations, according to the state.

Harrisburg’s CSAs provide assistance to officers to help build relationships with residents and deal with quality-of-life issues. The grant will help the bureau purchase supplies, hire an independent contractor to provide technical assistance, and cover gun violence intervention training costs for the aides, according to the state.

“I’m hopeful that this grant will provide the funds needed to not only address violence in the city of Harrisburg but also decrease the gun violence in our city,” Rep. Patty Kim (D-103) said in a statement. “State funds will be used to help local organizations and community aides to work at the street level to make changes that will have a positive impact in our community.”

Additionally, Harrisburg will receive a grant through the state’s Greenways, Trails and Recreation Fund for improvements to Reservoir Park. The $150,000 grant will create a “tot lot playground” for younger children, add walkways and increase parking in the park, according to the state.

The project is part of Harrisburg’s Reservoir Park Master Plan, which is aimed at increasing use of the Allison Hill park by creating new playgrounds, pavilions, courts and other facilities.

In all, the state’s grant program funded 100 park and recreation projects, totaling $10.4 million, across Pennsylvania.

“The city of Harrisburg has some beautiful parks. However, there is a need for updating and improving some of our green spaces,” Kim said. “This grant will allow the city to improve and revitalize Reservoir Park as well as support families and young children by providing them with a new and safe space to play.”

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