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Community Garden: 30 Dog Park: 21 Park/Playing Field: 15 Bandshell/Theater: 14 Fitness Area: 9

Open Space: 4 Outdoor Movies: 2 Playground: 2 Other: 4

*Source: Data from survey conducted last month by today’s the day Harrisburg. Results compiled by Friends of Midtown.


Harrisburg’s current federal courthouse has “a sufficient number of courtrooms,” but security is a major concern, said Middle District Chief Judge Christopher Conner. Te building, finished in 1966, has exceeded its 40-year lifespan and, sitting squarely on the street, doesn’t comply with post- Oklahoma City setback guidelines, he said. Te primary concern is that the current building

can’t be retrofitted with “secure corridors for the ingress and egress of prisoners, judges, witnesses, jurors and the like,” said Conner. “I ride in the same elevators as the prisoners, the witnesses, the attorneys,” he said. “Tere is no segregation of judicial officers from the other participants. I’ve been in elevators with the family of somebody I’ve just sentenced, and it’s awkward and unsettling, probably for everyone.” U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican who represents most of Harrisburg, said that he and his staff have “sought feedback from a wide array of sources,” including city officials, local business leaders, concerned citizens and the GSA. Congress will review the judiciary’s new plan when it’s released, he said.

“I believe that ensuring the proper administration

of justice for our citizens is a core function of government,” Perry said. “Yet, with our nation facing a $17 trillion debt, Congress has a duty to ensure that taxpayer money is used efficiently.” In January, Barletta told Pennlive/Patriot-News that the project could be done under a public- private partnership, in which businesses make a deal with government to shoulder a big share of the load in exchange for a profit. Still, it all goes back to a congressional appropriation, he told TeBurg. “I do believe that public-private partnerships should more frequently be used for this type of project, but funding is still a big issue,” he said.


While federal officials ponder their next moves, the GSA is leading residents and the Papenfuse administration in considering how to make temporary use of the vacant space at 6th and Reily. Ideas that emerged from a meeting in May included dog park, community gardens, park and playing field, fitness area, bandshell/theater and open space. Working with the GSA and the city, Friends of Midtown and today’s the day Harrisburg solicited

opinions on the site’s interim use. Findings were to be shared with the GSA. Under GSA guidelines, any use would have to be temporary and add little infrastructure, said Friends of Midtown Vice President and Treasurer Don Barnett. “We’re trying to gauge what the community

would like and what the community would use,” said Barnett. Before his election, Mayor Eric Papenfuse was among the residents who fought for the 6th and Reily site. He remains interested in the talks about its temporary use, said spokesperson Joyce Davis. “Tere have been some conversations at recent public meetings in which the mayor indicated he favored being able to let the land be used for community purposes, including some of it possibly being used for a dog park, but there is nothing firm or confirmed about these ideas,” Davis said.

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