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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:47 PM
Status: "Bricks" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Philadelphia
2,034 posts, read 1,149,125 times
Reputation: 2051

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I wanted to ask posters. What do you think is the #1 thing/plan/program Harrisburg needs in terms of evolving into a more developed metro. The area has immense potential. But it seems it does not capture it.

My personal input: Is the local townships/municipalities need to start to work together, and share services, cut cost, and start investing in transit corridors with transit oriented development that promotes walkable communities. It will 100% improve the quality of life, and economic development.

Also partnering with Penn State in State College to create an incubator for tech/entrepreneurial development. Harrisburg is Penn State's closest sizeable metro.


With that. I would love to hear other ideas from posters. Central PA has so much potential. Geographically it is unmatched in the USA. It is why we are the Keystone State. There is growing momentum from people looking to leave larger metros, because cost of living has increased dramatically. And many are looking to PA, to move. But are finding outside of Southeast PA, and the Lehigh Valley, there is much to be desired. Pittsburgh is great but too far west for many. I think PA's next best opportunity is Central PA. I would love to hear other ideas.
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
628 posts, read 432,101 times
Reputation: 661
#1 reason - Harrisburg city proper is lacking density due to blighted, abandoned, and low-density areas. Harrisburg, while stabilizing, is well-below its historical population peak reached around 1960. To reach that level again would mean adding 40,000 residents to its current boundaries. In which case, new or replaced housing supply is needed. Harrisburg city public schools need addressed in a major way. Zoning laws may need to be relaxed. Cameron, 6th, and 7th Streets are under-utilized.

Some people see the city proper population and might think it is small area, but that is not the case at all when looking at its urban area population and metro. Harrisburg loses recognition being located close to the Bos-Wash corridor and other cities (see below). HIA competes with Baltimore, two (2) DC-area airports, Philadelphia, and NYC.

Major improvement to infrastructure. Specifically I-83 from South Bridge through Colonial Park, and all I-283, which are unable to adequately handle traffic volume. I-83 is currently not up to interstate standards, which PennDOT is addressing, and should already be 3x3 lanes entirely, with wide shoulders for safety.

Regional identity. There is competition among all the municipalities and townships due to past history and pride and there's even a East/West Shore rivalry. There is also competition for the title of PA's "third city". None has consistently out-shined the others, and none has stood out in a large state like PA. Allentown, Harrisburg, Scranton, Lancaster, and Erie continue to battle it out.

The widening rural/urban divide going on nationally and even more so in PA. Some feel dislike for, or avoid entirely cities for perceived and real threats. And because of how different they are from the rest of the state, which is rural and small town outside the cities.

I like this area being a semi-urban/semi-rural region allowing for lower cost of living, all while still providing access to big city amenities.

Last edited by g500; 11-13-2017 at 12:15 AM..
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:28 AM
Status: "Bricks" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Philadelphia
2,034 posts, read 1,149,125 times
Reputation: 2051
Quote:
Originally Posted by g500 View Post
#1 reason - Harrisburg city proper is lacking density due to blighted, abandoned, and low-density areas. Harrisburg, while stabilizing, is well-below its historical population peak reached around 1960. To reach that level again would mean adding 40,000 residents to its current boundaries. In which case, new or replaced housing supply is needed. Harrisburg city public schools need addressed in a major way. Zoning laws may need to be relaxed. Cameron, 6th, and 7th Streets are under-utilized.

Some people see the city proper population and might think it is small area, but that is not the case at all when looking at its urban area population and metro. Harrisburg loses recognition being located close to the Bos-Wash corridor and other cities (see below). HIA competes with Baltimore, two (2) DC-area airports, Philadelphia, and NYC.

Major improvement to infrastructure. Specifically I-83 from South Bridge through Colonial Park, and all I-283, which are unable to adequately handle traffic volume. I-83 is currently not up to interstate standards, which PennDOT is addressing, and should already be 3x3 lanes entirely, with wide shoulders for safety.

Regional identity. There is competition among all the municipalities and townships due to past history and pride and there's even a East/West Shore rivalry. There is also competition for the title of PA's "third city". None has consistently out-shined the others, and none has stood out in a large state like PA. Allentown, Harrisburg, Scranton, Lancaster, and Erie continue to battle it out.

The widening rural/urban divide going on nationally and even more so in PA. Some feel dislike for, or avoid entirely cities for perceived and real threats. And because of how different they are from the rest of the state, which is rural and small town outside the cities.

I like this area being a semi-urban/semi-rural region allowing for lower cost of living, all while still providing access to big city amenities.
Great response! Yes Harrisburg is FINALLY starting to regain population after loosing population for decades. It is a slow process though, in 5 years I feel the amenities will all be in the right place, to finally start to draw some major investment within residential properties/projects, and even maybe a new high rise in downtown.

Allentown is in the midst of a major revival (tallest new building in PA outside Phila and Pittsburgh is being constructed there), and I see Harrisburg's major construction revival taking off in a 5 year timeline.

The school district is definitely a major factor in determining what families continue to stay and live in the city.


I think the biggest reason why we are slowly starting to see a revival, is that as the cost of living has sky rocketed in Harrisburg's closest cities, more young professionals have decided to stay and invest in the area, and assume leadership in changing the social and physical scape of the region. And as the cost of living continues to increase in places like D.C, NYC and Philadelphia I only see that trend strengthening.

I really wish the region could strengthen an economic coalition, figure out a system to share services and regional benefits and reduce costs. And then strategically partner with PSU, to create a tech hub. Moving forward that is the industry most needed to prosper, to remain economically relevant.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:17 PM
 
4,267 posts, read 10,416,206 times
Reputation: 3840
It is not unusual to find folks who opted out of the Northern Virginia rat race and moved to Hershey.

I think the lack of regional identity in the 717 is somewhat costly. Need to come up with a moniker like NC's Triangle and Triad.

Although it might make sense to regard the Harrisburg area as the PSU grad/professional hub, the administration instead has been siphoning off parts of the Dickinson law and even the med school to University Park.

Yes, roads are horrible, but not worse than Philly or Pgh.

Putting on diesel train shuttles (like the NJ Transit River Line) on the low-hanging fruit of the relatively underutilized Harrisburg-Carlisle and Harrisburg-Millersburg corridors (and the alternate hours of Harrisburg-Lancaster) should be more easily implementable than those who currently arrange such things will let on. It's too bad the Harrisburg-York-Baltimore rail lines got cannibalized, that would be tough to bring back.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:01 AM
Status: "Bricks" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Philadelphia
2,034 posts, read 1,149,125 times
Reputation: 2051
Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
It is not unusual to find folks who opted out of the Northern Virginia rat race and moved to Hershey.

I think the lack of regional identity in the 717 is somewhat costly. Need to come up with a moniker like NC's Triangle and Triad.

Although it might make sense to regard the Harrisburg area as the PSU grad/professional hub, the administration instead has been siphoning off parts of the Dickinson law and even the med school to University Park.

Yes, roads are horrible, but not worse than Philly or Pgh.

Putting on diesel train shuttles (like the NJ Transit River Line) on the low-hanging fruit of the relatively underutilized Harrisburg-Carlisle and Harrisburg-Millersburg corridors (and the alternate hours of Harrisburg-Lancaster) should be more easily implementable than those who currently arrange such things will let on. It's too bad the Harrisburg-York-Baltimore rail lines got cannibalized, that would be tough to bring back.
Yes I agree with you, if we could create a transit network linking the region, it would transform, quality of life and spur some positive economic development. Harrisburg - Lancaster (which does exist through Amtrak, but making it a more frequent local based system). Harrisburg - Carlisle and Harrisburg York, with a connection between York and Lancaster. That would be a start. And then incorporating a light rail network within each of the individual areas.

Pennsylvania does have one large transit system (SEPTA) and a moderately sized one (Port Authority). If we can join the region together to fight for a 3rd significant system, that would be huge. I know a great portion of that funding to jump start that project comes from Federal money though.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:08 PM
 
61 posts, read 64,630 times
Reputation: 37
Harrisburg city needs to first overcome its debt problem, otherwise nothing will get better for the long-term. Once that happens, then they need to find a balance between APPROPRIATE parking rates for a city of its size and maintaining enough of a revenue stream to prevent going into such a massive debt catastrophe again. Also it needs to do everything that it can to provide incentives (such as low taxes/rental rates) for businesses to come to the city AND STAY OPEN PAST 6PM AND ON WEEKENDS (this includes Strawberry Square). One good city to look at is Lancaster city when it comes to their revitalization and all of the shops and restaurants in their downtown area, they really bring a crowd and that creates a lot of commerce for that city's economy. Once these things happen and the city economy is back on track with a future for investing, that is when we can start talking about building new transportation systems and partnerships with Penn State. I agree with a lot of what has been listed above, but we can't get to Vegas to play when the car currently has 4 flat tires and a dead battery.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:02 PM
 
4,074 posts, read 3,019,407 times
Reputation: 1227
Harrisburg needs to improve its reputation. There is no reason why people should be embarrassed of their state capital.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:22 AM
Status: "Bricks" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Philadelphia
2,034 posts, read 1,149,125 times
Reputation: 2051
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dequindre View Post
Harrisburg needs to improve its reputation. There is no reason why people should be embarrassed of their state capital.
I agree with you. There has been alot of positive growth in Midtown. Between The Millworks. Broad Street Market. HMAC. Susquehanna Art Museum. Riley Theater. and more. Even downtown has seen more growth.

What I find though is largely that only those who live in the city are aware of this positive investment. Where as everyone else from the region looks negatively on Harrisburg. It is almost the chicken and egg story. Because if people would just come into the city more, and discover how great it is becoming, it would come along even at a faster pace.

And I agree, it is remarkable what has happened in Lancaster.

One of the biggest problems with Harrisburg, is that it is a relatively small city, and its taxable land is quite limited. And the state occupies half of its central business district. And hurts the tax base.

And yes the parking issue is a major problem. Harrisburg does not have the demand to merit parking rates as high as they are. It definitely does drive people away which is a shame.

The region has so much potential.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:12 PM
 
61 posts, read 64,630 times
Reputation: 37
FYI a draft of Harrisburg's Comprehensive Plan is available for reading and commenting from the public (including us). This could be a good way for us to help bring our ideas one step closer to reality:

https://theburgnews.com/news/its-her...-plan-released
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:27 AM
Status: "Bricks" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Philadelphia
2,034 posts, read 1,149,125 times
Reputation: 2051
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelGuitar22 View Post
FYI a draft of Harrisburg's Comprehensive Plan is available for reading and commenting from the public (including us). This could be a good way for us to help bring our ideas one step closer to reality:

https://theburgnews.com/news/its-her...-plan-released
Thanks! I will definitely be reading this!
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