Harrisburg expects to apply for grants for several infrastructure projects, as it makes plans for improvements to roads, sidewalks and recreational spaces.
At tonight’s work session, the administration will make a pitch to City Council for submitting three separate grant applications.
The largest, a $2.24 million grant request to the Commonwealth Financing Authority, would help fund a series of improvements downtown along Walnut, Market and Chestnut streets.
“It’s for road diets, bike lanes, paving and general improvements,” said city Engineer Wayne Martin, who noted that this is the fourth time that the city has sought funding for what is now called the “Harrisburg East-West Multimodal Connection Project.”
Other improvements would include traffic signal upgrades, new crosswalks, bump-outs and green areas.
According to Martin, the city hopes to build on the improvements now taking place along the 3rd Street corridor, which includes new curbs, lighting, sewers, ADA-accessible ramps and pavement, among other work.
The idea, he said, is to improve several critical north/south corridors, including the portion of Market Street between the train station and Cameron Street. Both the city and the state hope to revitalize those largely abandoned blocks on Market Street by better controlling flooding, adding green space and relocating the city’s bus transfer station to the area.
“We’re going to make a concentrated effort to make this [grant] happen,” he said.
The administration also is seeking council approval to apply for two smaller grants focused on recreation.
The first would offer match funding for the planned Chutes & Ladders playground in Reservoir Park, a $600,000 project that is part of the Reservoir Park Master Plan.
In April, the city submitted an application for a $250,000 grant to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to build the playground. That grant, though, requires a one-to-one funding match, which the city hopes to obtain through a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
Another project, if it came to fruition, would mean a major change to the city’s summer recreation for its young people.
The administration hopes to apply for a $50,000 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to conduct a feasibility study for replacing the city’s two public swimming pools with spray park/splash pad installations.
In recent years, the two pools—at the Jackson Lick and Hall Manor public housing projects—have been closed often due to leaks and other problems. According to Martin, the pools are nearing the end of their lifespans, and the cost of replacing them is prohibitive. Therefore, the city is searching for more affordable options.
“Every year, we spend tens of thousands of dollars to Band-Aid them,” he said. “The feasibility study would look at the new aquatic facilities and what they would cost.”
Currently, both pools are slated to open for the season in mid-June.