Friday, December 30, 2005


As you all might have guessed, I have a love/hate relationship with Harrisburg. I like my job. I hate the "Strip." I love the architecture. I hate having everything worth shopping at in the 'burbs. And so on.

However, this place is starting to grow on me. Oh no, I said something nice!

To make a long story short, because I really don't know where this post is going, I'm starting to sniff out whether I want to buy a house. I'm pre-qualified (though they want me to fill out more forms than my FAFSA, an experience neither I or my mother enjoyed doing) up to an obscene amount that I could never possibly afford.

I of course know next to nothing about buying anything bigger than a cheese sandwich, which is why I tend not to buy large expensive things like laptops and cars and houses and such. So I'm glad I found Jonathan, who has recently gone through the process himself.

Other things about Hburg---I plan on writing Mayor Reed's office a letter about my idea for a real shopping district(meaning NON restaurant, lets try a different type of economic development)for 3rd Street. Dick (from WITF) wrote me that such a district existed in the corridor I described, but suburbanization more or less wiped it out.

However such a shopping district would appeal to people like me, even though I hate to admit it, I'm a Yuppie. (yes I did gag thinking about that). I'm the worst kind of Yuppie too: I'm from a planning background.

And it's Yuppies buying those expensive townhouses in the Capitol Heights development, and in the MarketPlace Townhouse development slated to go in, and it'll probably end up being Yuppies that buy the Towns at Governors Square (which I think is at 5th and MacClay, but Streuver Rouse is vague on this on their website). It's going to be Yuppies buying houses in the city and spreading the gentrification east from 3rd Street and north to Division. Why, maybe even someday, Allison Hill will be a nice neighborhood to live in!

Harrisburg could become a New Urbanist dream, borrowing a concept from my very work field. Places people could walk to, work at, and live at without cars. And with much of the city's largest employer's workforce retireing in the next 15 years, the time to get this started is pretty much right now. It'll be younger people taking those jobs and some of them, (hopefully most of them) will choose not to crowd out more lots in the suburbs. Did you know that Pennsylvania's population will probably not grow at all, yet the state will lose more and more farmland in this 15 year period? Sprawl folks. It costs us money. The traffic issues around Harrisburg are only going to get worse with less money to pay for it. Think about it. Redevelopment in the city is probably cheaper in the long run.

That is all I have for now.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

I was going to mention all of my blog posts but it looks like you already found them.

Sitting at Jackie Blue last night talking to the bartender who lives in Linglestown, we were discussing how if you live in the city and need to buy anything, you have to leave the city. Sure there's a few small stores in the city, 3rd Street area, but often they do not have what we are looking for.

I think I see it coming. The people moving into the city are the young yuppies. And it's only a matter of time before the yuppies start opening their own stores within the city. Many of them may just shop outside the city, but I think they may change their minds if GOOD shopping is easily available right down the street.

Another thing we discussed is parking. Parking downtown SUCKS. Sure there's a number of garages, but if you are only going downtown for a short amount of time, it's not worth paying to park in a garage. And if you do find street parking, it's usually several blocks from where you want to go. Maybe this simply means that we need to develop other places besides 2nd Street.

A good place to discuss things is over at Good luck with your decision making Terry!