Harrisburg Happening

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wild and Crazy Museum Ideas

Post them here, folks. Let's inspire the Mayor. I came across this one today - a Pirate Museum.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Harrisburg Tourism Study

The Tourism Study is out. The result - Harrisburg must brand itself as an attraction. Not bad advice, I suppose. But the article in the Patriot points out the real problem - no money to do any of this stuff. Note in particular that the centerpiece of the study conclusions - that we focus in heritage tourism - is met with the comment from the Reed crowd that plans for the African American Museum are on hold until funding can be found. Again, plans were announced over a year ago, complete with architectural drawings. But no timetable, no budget, no concrete details. Madness. I think the Emperor is naked.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Alternative Courthouse Site

Well, not that Ronald Brown Charter School has lost its source of funding and charter, a brand new block has opened up for the courthouse - with just the right location, just the right footprint and very few homes or businesses to destroy. The Charter school owns the whole block between Boas, Third, part of Forster and part of Green, including the two biggest buildings there. Seems a perfect location. All we lose is a Subway, which can move up on Third to the bar formerly knows as Nick's or the restaurant formerly known as The Italian Market.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Reed and Buddies at it Again

The Central Penn Business Journal has an article on Jetsonville in the May 19 edition. Again, the people who want to develop chunks of Harrisburg never bother telling the owners of the properties. First, Reed talks about his vision of the platform city and is quoted as saying "A low rise, affordable-housing complex is not the right use for that block of the city." But nobody told the owner, who built the complex with a housing development grant from the city in the 1990s. Quote the owner, "I don't know anything about it." And surprise, he's not too keen on selling. How much money is the city going to waste building, financing and tearing down again as the mayor's "vision" shifts?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

To my friends at the GSA

You seem too interested in what we say on this blog about your project - It looks like you've got the site bookmarked and check regularly. Or maybe you don't understand sarcasm very well, as in my view of your plans for midtown. So that we are clear, o big brother - the news announcement is a joke. It pokes fun at your attitudes about race, poverty, war, crime and general disconnection from the people you are supposed to serve. It is political commentary. Or do you need it spelled out more?

Oh - maybe you should consider some of that sofware that cloaks your IP address if you don't want to be caught snooping.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Real Reason for Jetsonville

Mayor Reed wants part of the space station action. It seems states are vying for the pie-in-the-sky opportunity to become part of space tourism. Obviously, Reed has big plans for that South Harrisburg platform city. Forget museum tourism - space tourism is where the real money is. We are so lucky to have such a visionary leader.


Anybody notice how few

are posting on PennLive's Harrisburg Forum? Nothing really new for at least a week now. I posted a question about the slow pace of postings, which of course was deleted.

Friday, May 12, 2006

This is how a real city re-invents itself


Savannah put all its resources in one place, on the web. Employers, developers, students, government, people job hunting need only go one place.

OK - whoever at the city is reading this blog - try it. I'm sure Savannah won't mind a little imitation

As if to illustrate my point on development

There is turmoil over MidTown Cinema - again. See, no long range plans, just fly by the seat of ones pants. No wonder everything takes forever in this town. Will HACC's plan really happen? Makes you wonder. Heck, why not endanger the cinema at exactly the time more patrons might be coming to this part of town.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

My plans for Harrisburg

The following commentary was rejected by the Patriot for As I See It (guess I am now persona non grata) so I'll post it here:

As a long time Harrisburg resident, I have seen development ideas come and go, with no apparent overriding plan. In the Capital City, it seems anyone with a half-baked idea can announce plans for "revitalizing" neglected neighborhoods and abandoned buildings. With the prospect of a mid-town federal courthouse in the near future as a jump-off point, I’m announcing my own plans.

Davenport Communications Announces Plans for Midtown Development
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 11, 2006 –
Davenport Communications today announced a four-phase development plan for Midtown Harrisburg. The projects will complement the GSA federal courthouse project being planned for either the Jackson-Lick or the Cumberland Court lots in Midtown. Davenport Communications project director Anniken Davenport hailed the development plan as "the final step that will be the crown jewel of Midtown redevelopment. No longer need federal employees fear that their post 9-11 secure facility will be a barren outpost. This plan assures that our new neighbors will enjoy urban amenities in their home away from suburban home. In fact, we hope judges, lawyers and federal marshals may find the neighborhood so safe and inviting, they will consider making one of our new condos their permanent home. We hope that the plan announced today will allay the ‘local crime concerns’ cited by GSA’s Abby Low during a recent meeting with the Patriot News editorial board."

Phase One will see the conversion of the five-story Furlow Building on North Third Street into the Furlow Condominiums, including one Penthouse unit with a rooftop deck. The unit will have spectacular Susquehanna River views and is expected to be the first residential property in Harrisburg to sell for more than $1 million. The first floor will house the first downtown full-service Starbucks, a sign that perhaps more than any other heralds Harrisburg has arrived. The second floor will be legal office space, reserved exclusively for attorneys who purchase condominiums on the third and fourth levels. Commuting will be a thing of the past for a new breed of urban legal eagles.

Phase Two will see the conversion of the old Police Athletic League building on North Third into a first rate athletic facility and health club. The basement swimming pool will undergo restoration of its art deco mosaic tile. Membership in PAL II will be included in the condominium maintenance fee for Furlow Condominium owners. PAL II will also be available to children enrolled in the Ronald Brown Charter School located on North Third and Green Streets until the Mayor’s School District management team succeeds in its effort to revoke the school’s charter. At that time, Davenport Communications proposes developing the charter school property into the National Charter School Museum. Mayor Reed, who recently announced that he favors the creation of more museums to "link heritage tourism initiatives to the broader economic development of the city," is expected to support the initiative with a transfer of the charter school operational funds to the museum budget.

Phase Three will see the development of the old printing press at North Third and Reily Streets into luxury loft condominiums with garage parking. Already, New Yorkers are referring to Harrisburg as the "new Tribeca." Work will begin as soon as the EPA issues the all-clear on industrial cleanup from the lead presses and chemical contamination left behind after the 30 years the building housed the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources test labs. The abandoned gas station across the street will be converted into a drive-thru deli and gourmet convenience store where customers can park, get gasoline and pick up chef-prepared ready-to-heat meals. In addition, the vacant lot adjoining the Broad Street Market will be converted into an outdoor park and arena available to community bands and organizations. The band stand will be designed to imitate those more commonly found in small-town America, allowing the playing of patriotic music by the Marine Corps Recruiting Band. The developer is also donating office space for a military recruiting station. Given the "local crime concerns" cited by the GSA’s Abby Low, recruiters should find the area fertile cannon fodder territory. After all, nothing reduces the crime rate like sending hot-headed, testosterone-laden drug-fueled urban youth to the battlefield.

Phase Four will see the conversion of the parking lot in the New Fox Ridge development into an outdoor oasis and restaurant featuring exotic cuisine from around the world. The proposed plaza will offer easy access from the courthouse, and will allow the Marshall Service a clear shot at any element of the "local crime" problem that remains and sees fit to approach any federal workers attempting to enjoy a peaceful respite from the stress of court business. Presently, the parking lot with its 105 spaces for 63 town-homes is clearly over-kill. Using the ratio approved for the federal courthouse project parking garage, 63 units need no more than 5 parking spots. This frees nearly an acre for the plaza.

DISCLOSURE; The developer, Davenport Communications, does not own the Furlow Building, the Police Athletic League, the printing press, the abandoned gasoline station or the vacant lot, nor has the developer contacted the owners or occupants of the proposed conversion properties. Nor do the principals have any means of funding the project. They do, however, have a daughter with grant-writing experience and do own a 1/63 undivided share of the common area at New Fox Ridge, the site slated for conversion into an outdoor restaurant.
SOURCE: Davenport Communications
MEDIA CONTACT: Anniken Davenport 717-770-2250

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Harrisburg plans

I hate to be a wet blanket, but the mayor's last plan is really ridiculous. We're going to build a city on a platform? The drawings in the Patriot look like something out of the Jetsons. And as usual, no funding is lined up for the project.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

HACC in Midtown Design Drawings

are up:


Monday, May 01, 2006

Education in Harrisburg area

We aren't performing very well, based on this list of the best schools in the country:


I went through the entire list, and found several Pittsburgh school districts and another handful of Philly suburban districts, but not one in the midstate - nada - zip - none.

Education in the Mid State

I can't find any local schools on this list of the best 1100 in the country. Guess all that money we pay in school taxes just isn't producing results - in city or suburb