This past spring, 25 students from Lower Dauphin High School volunteered to help create rain barrels for South Allison Hill residents in Harrisburg, PA. Photo by Kelly Donaldson/CBF Staff.
Since the beginning of 2013, CBF has been working with community leaders young and old to green-up Pennsylvania's capital, Harrisburg. Harrisburg is a river city with a beautiful riverfront park that has steps leading down to the Susquehanna--allowing residents to directly connect with the water. Even the city's minor league baseball team, the Senators, call the river home--its stadium is in the middle of the river on City Island.
Although the Susquehanna is one of the city's greatest natural resources, an old combined sewer system overflows into the river more than 50 times a year. It overflows by design, but the leading cause of the excess overflow is the huge volume of stormwater created by impervious surfaces in the city.
This system and suburban development throughout the area has also led to the impairment of Paxton Creek, which runs through the heart of the city.
Because these water quality issues ultimately flow directly to the Chesapeake Bay, and for many other reasons, CBF has made significant investments in greening-up Harrisburg to help make it an example for other cities in the watershed and state.
Through this work, CBF has focused on putting community first and allowing residents, neighborhood groups, and city officials to drive the conversation. This conversation has led to new trees being planted in the city, not only for clean water, but for stronger communities. Harrisburg students designed and painted rain barrels, not only to restore clean water, but also to give young people an artistic outlet that many no longer get in schools.
By connecting our mission with other groups' priorities, we're able to get more work done, reach a broader audience, and provide more benefits to the community through our work.
CBF will continue to expand its presence in Harrisburg, ultimately helping the city become a leader for green infrastructure.
--Andrew Bliss, CBF's Pennsylvania Grassroots Coordinator