The blighted buildings and acres of asphalt at 506 S. 29th St. in Harrisburg will soon be home to native trees, walking trails and big green spaces for children to play and learn about farming.
This is the dream of the Salvation Army Harrisburg, which purchased the 7-acre site and former Weis Markets property last year to construct a new city headquarters.
The plan calls for a 42,000-square-foot building on the site at the intersection with Rudy Road, which will include rain and vegetable gardens. It will replace the organization’s current facility at 1122 Green St., which is about 17,000 square feet.
“We will literally be teaching kids about farm-to-table,” Kathy Anderson-Martin, the organization’s director of resource and development, said Tuesday as the organization hosted the the Chesapeake Bay Trust, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources for a grant presentation.
The Salvation Army Harrisburg was one of 17 recipients — and one of five from Pennsylvania — to receive grant funding through the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant initiative.
Started in 2011, the program was created to help leverage local funds for green infrastructure projects and the management of stormwater runoff.
The Salvation Army received nearly $30,000 for the development of a stormwater management system at the new facility. Anderson-Martin said the organization is more than halfway toward its goal of raising $10 million for the overall project.
Harrisburg-based Murray Associates Architects has been hired to design the new project. Harrisburg-based Pyramid Construction Services Inc. will serve as the general contractor.
“This is one of those transformative projects that don’t come around often,” Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said, calling it an example of everything that is possible in the capital city. “What we do here does matter. The city is growing greener every day.”
Harrisburg is about 90 percent done with a conversion of city streetlights to more energy-efficient LED streetlights, Papenfuse said. And recycling efforts have about tripled over the past two years.
The G3 grants awarded Tuesday totaled more than $800,000.
Other local recipients included the Redevelopment Authority of Cumberland County, which received $30,000 for engineering of the southern portion of a stormwater park in Carlisle. Also, East Pennsboro Township received $35,000 to incorporate green infrastructure into a regional connectivity study to improve pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
The full list will be available online, according to the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Since 2011, the grant program has awarded about $6.8 million. The trust administers the program, which is open to local governments, nonprofit organizations and neighborhood and community associations.