| Central Penn Business Journal
Will Hbg's federal courthouse be built?
When Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson announced in April that a new U.S. courthouse would be constructed at the corner of Sixth and Reily streets, many in the business community had varied reactions.
Some believed the courthouse would be a boon to expand major commercial development into the burgeoning Midtown and grow a larger tax base through supporting businesses that would build nearby. A drive along Sixth Street bolsters that latter claim, with the impressive $13.6 million 1500 Project under construction.
However, others believe a new courthouse would leave yet another large downtown building vacant, in essence, gutting some degree of commerce. They also believe that while still reeling from recession, the federal government has no business spending upward of $136 million on a new building when a functional one exists.
That debate was supposed to have been put to rest when Thompson made her announcement at her original news conference, then again in May, when the U.S. General Services Administration announced it wouldn't build a planned $27 million courthouse in Lancaster.
Groundbreaking for the $136 million project is slated for 2013. The courthouse is expected to be ready in 2016.
Recently, we've learned that the U.S. House isn't ready to allocate the funds necessary to build the courthouse. The U.S. General Services Administration has $26 million of the $136 million needed for the job. That money might not ever come.
How would it affect Harrisburg if the courthouse were never built?
Christopher Passante is the editor of the Central Penn Business Journal.