On September 6, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) officials joined Harrisburg officials and city resident groups in the celebration of the state-supported renovations at five neighborhood playgrounds across the city. Facilitated by an almost $700,000 investment from DCNR, improvements were undertaken at Cloverly Heights, Royal Terrace, Penn and Sayford streets, Norwood and Holly streets, and Fourth and Dauphin streets.

“Local parks and recreation opportunities contribute to a higher quality of life, attract and sustain employers, and offer affordable options for close-to-home recreation for families,” DCNR Deputy Secretary Lauren Imgrund told a gathering at Cloverly Heights Park. “We’re thrilled to partner with the city and local stakeholders to enhance the city’s playgrounds.”

Improvements stem from a 2017 partnership formed among DCNR, the City of Harrisburg, Impact Harrisburg, and Capital Region Water.

“This unique partnership involving the City of Harrisburg, Impact Harrisburg, and Capital Region Water helped to make possible the renovation of playground equipment, walkways, landscaping, and green infrastructure elements to manage storm water and flooding,” Imgrund said. “It demonstrates how DCNR works with suburban and urban communities to create green and sustainable park systems, renovate recreation amenities, and improve water quality, and storm-water management.”

“I extend my sincerest thanks to Capital Region Water, DCNR, and our own Department of Parks and Recreation for their cooperation in this most important project for our city,” said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse. “Our parks and playgrounds are vital to the quality of life for our residents, and Harrisburg residents, both young and old, will benefit greatly from your hard work.”

Work at the Fourth and Dauphin Streets Playground will be finished in 2019. The other four completed projects employ rain gardens, porous basketball courts and other surfaces, and landscaping that reflects a commitment to improving water quality, reducing flooding, and maintaining water and sewer infrastructure. Feedback on design and amenities at each project was sought from neighboring residents.

“Thanks to committed partners willing to innovate, these parks will provide water quality benefits to the community for years to come,” said Capital Region Water Board Chairperson Marc Kurowski. “We look forward to continuing this type of collaboration to address water, wastewater, and storm-water infrastructure challenges more efficiently and with greater impact for our customers.”