Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg to open parks for pre-4th fireworks, begins tracking illegal use

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse gives a press conference on Wednesday.

Keep buying those fireworks, but be careful where you set them off.

The city is opening spaces for Harrisburg residents to light fireworks this year in hopes of curtailing illegal usage, Mayor Eric Papenfuse announced on Wednesday.

On July 3, from 7 to 10 p.m., four parks will be open, allowing safe firework fun with the supervision of Fire Bureau officials. Participants have the options of Sunshine Park, 7th & Radnor Playground, Reservoir Park by the basketball courts and the 14th Street Open Space Park.

“We have been having some issues with fireworks being set off at all hours of the night,” Papenfuse said. “It’s a quality of life issue. This is not just in Harrisburg, but throughout PA […] and across the country.”

According to Fire Chief Brian Enterline, there have been dangerous incidents when rules regarding fireworks have not been followed. He said there were three or four fires throughout the 4th of July weekend last year.

The fire chief reminded people that it is illegal to set off fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied building. He added that, in order to participate in the firework event on the 3rd, you must be 18 years or older, not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and fireworks must be consumer-grade.

All You Can Inc.’s Ralph Rodriguez suggested the event to the mayor in the hope that it will bring the community together and present a solution to Harrisburg’s illegal fireworks problem.

“I look forward to this initiative,” he said.

Harrisburg Young Professionals of Color also partnered with the city to come up with the idea for mapping illegal firework usage with geographic information system (GIS) technology.

Reports will allow the city to see where hotspots for firework activity are.

Residents can call the city’s communications team at 3-1-1 or 717-255-6571 to report illegal activity. Papenfuse encouraged contacting the city that way, rather than calling 9-1-1.

“We are hoping we can help our residents build community by setting off fireworks in a controlled location,” Enterline said.

For more information, visit Harrisburg’s website.



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