Harrisburg mayor to talk ‘revitalization’ during State of City address

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse discussed his intentions for the State of the City address on the eve of the annual speech.

“We are a strong, resilient city,” Papenfuse said in last year’s address to a ballroom full of city leaders, movers, and shakers.

This year, Papenfuse decided to hold an event separate from the CREDEC breakfast typically held at Hilton Harrisburg. He will speak Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the YMCA on North Sixth Street.

A news release about the event said the theme is “Strengthening Our Roots as a City and Region.” What does that mean, exactly?

“Well, I’m going to keep some of it as a surprise,” Papenfuse said.

The mayor said he would address neighborhood revitalization projects and youth programs in greater detail. He also wants to highlight state funding, including two rounds of state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program awards.

In early September, Gov. Tom Wolf and Papenfuse held a press event to announce RCAP funding to revitalize several historic buildings along North Third Street. Late last week, the state approved RCAP funding for the long-awaited Mulder Square beautification project in the Allison Hill neighborhood. The mayor will also discuss the victory of securing federal funds to help residents displaced by the Southside sinkhole.

“We’ll talk a little bit about the sinkhole,” he said, “and some successes we’ve had bringing funds and funding to Harrisburg recently, which is great.”

Wednesday will mark the mayor’s third speech. Much of 2016 has been dominated by the presidential election cycle, but next year the local election for Harrisburg mayor will take center stage.

Papenfuse’s first term has not come without several controversies and public spats with government agencies, school district, museums, media outlets, national organizations, and other elected officials on all levels.

However, he will focus on his administration’s success of making the city “greener, cleaner, and brighter” with urban tree initiatives, changes to trash and recycling, and new LED streetlights.

He has hinted at running for another term but has not officially announced another bid for next year. Wednesday’s speech will be the last address before the May primary.

He said he is excited to talk all about the capital city.

“Now, I have a chance to focus solely on Harrisburg,” he said, “and I’m looking forward to it.”

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