Harrisburg officials announced at a press conference on Tuesday plans to construct a temporary structure while the community works to rebuild following last week’s fire that ravaged Historical Broad Street Market.
“Right now, we’re working with a number of companies that work on temporary structures,” City Business Administrator Dan Hartman said. “That’s something we’re hoping to have lined up in a few days.
“Ultimately, we’re still hoping to have at some point in August a temporary structure in place that will allow vendors and customers and the public the chance to shop, not outdoors in a courtyard or anything, but in a climate-controlled environment that offers pretty much everything they had and then some,” he said. “That’s primarily where we’re at right now.”
The site of the temporary structure is an empty grass lot at N. 3rd and Verbeke streets, a location not far from the Market’s fire-ravaged brick building. In the week since the fire, displaced vendors sold their goods in the market’s courtyard.
Hartman said Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams gave the directive as soon as the fire happened to get the project up and running and operational to limit vendors’ losses and damages.
“What we want to do,” Hartman said, “is give them a great workspace that while everything works out on the historical preservation side and rehabilitation side, there is a place that is safe, secure, and allows them to do their business that they need to do.
“With that in mind, that is the exact reason why we sprang into action to get this done as quick as possible.”
Hartman said Gov. Josh Shapiro and his cabinet members have been supportive of city officials as they work with vendors through this initial disaster phase and their progression toward a rebuilding phase. Hartman added that there has been a “patchwork” effort consisting of charities, fund-raisers, municipal, county, state, and federal support to deal with the situation.
“There is not a one-stop shop to handle all of this,” he said.
Shapiro pledged his support at a press conference a week ago Monday and laid out the steps his administration is taking to help the reconstruction, including working with the Small Business Administration to support vendors. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is also working with vendors to help keep them in business during the rebuild.
Shapiro said government at all levels is coming together to “do what’s necessary to support the rebuild.”
Noting that there is “quite a bit of investigation work that has to happen,” Hartman said that it will be until the first or second week of August when “everything is wrapped up” on the investigation side.
“Right now, as it pertains to a temporary structure, we’re working on getting a facility that will have all the modern amenities – flooring, it will be sided, air-conditioned and heated depending on the season, running water, electrical, things like that,” said Hartman.
“Once we get that side of it done, it takes about one-and-a-half to three weeks from the time that order is into the time it’s being occupied.”
Hartman said he believes the cost of restoring the building will be covered by Harrisburg’s insurance.
“The whole thing is working itself through the process it needs to work itself out through,” said Matt Maisel, director of communications for the City of Harrisburg. “We need to constantly work with our insurance company, we’re working with the vendors, we’re working with the Market.”