Things You Never Hear People Say In Harrisburg

You’ve seen all of the regional YouTube videos about what people in virtually every city in America “say” – hipsters and hippies and suits and snobs…here are a handful of things you’ll most likely never, ever, ever hear someone in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania say. Not ever in any of our lifetimes. Ever.

1. “Man, these roads are really smooth!”

Last year, I spent around nine hundred dollars repairing the front axle of my car. And I absolutely blame about eighty percent of those repair-needs on the totally horrific upkeep of the public roads within the city of Harrisburg. There are straight-up sinkholes throughout this place. SINKHOLES.

2. “Ya know what? I do feel really safe walking alone at night in Harrisburg. Especially on the dark streets where the streetlamps have burned out.”

If you choose to walk the streets of Harrisburg alone after dark, especially between the hours of 11PM and 3AM anywhere between Forster and Maclay, Front to Third, you are absolutely taking your personal safety in your own hands.

Oddly, though, you’re generally safe along Front Street in Riverfront Park.

3. “I feel pretty satisfied that my local tax dollars are going to good use and benefiting me directly.”

Have I mentioned the condition of the roads?

4. “I wish we had more bars here”

For a city of forty seven thousand, Harrisburg certainly has an abundance of watering holes. Some are swanky and some are skanky, but there really seems to be a bar or tavern within every three blocks here. You’re never more than a several hundred yard stumble from your next shot in Harrisburg.Which gives plenty of us plenty of options for the self medicating that seems to happen nightly here.

5. “Man, that river is so beautiful and CLEAN”

How many e-coli breakouts were there in this section of the Mighty Susquehanna last year?

6. “Considering how many parking tickets I get here for street cleaning, I feel that the streets are pretty darn clean and I probably deserve to pay a fine for failing to not park on alternating sides of the street, two days per month so the city maintenance guys can clean the streets.”

I wonder where there are more cigarette butts, chip bags, plastic juice bottles and empty beer cans and bottles? New Orleans after Mardi Gras? Or Harrisburg…any day of the week? For a city that spends so much time and effort on “street cleaning”, we sure do have some dirty streets.

7. “This place is so unified! I love the sense of connectedness and community and pride within this whole city!”

You do hear this in other cities. Other cities do have local pride, you know. It’s not like this everywhere. There are plenty of cities in America that have a unified community which spans all races and cultures and barriers and differences and they all share the same traits- pride in their surroundings. Midtowners seem to stay relatively connected…but Harrisburg, believe it or not is much larger than the area bound by Front, Third, Forster and Market streets.

8. “I moved to Harrisburg from [Insert much bigger, much cooler city here] because of the awesome job market.

Who moves to Harrisburg? There’s a major brain-drain problem here and it won’t be corrected until some progressive companies plant their roots here. Either that or when people start to realize that this is a large town and not a small city. We don’t have to feel so fragmented, yet different factions continue to operate as if they’re the only people in town. Why doesn’t HYP, Friends of Midtown, The Harrisburg Art Association and Jump Street all join together for one annual humdinger of an event? Why don’t all of the little different neighborhood associations have a monthly meeting with all neighborhood associations?

Finally…

9. “I completely trust my elected officials to make the decisions and push for what’s right and best for this city. I will vote for this current incarnation again and again.”

This is where it begins and ends. Linda Thompson was president of City Council before she was elected Mayor. And as much as she’d like to pass the blame of everything that’s wrong with this city to former Mayor Reed, she is just as guilty. The blood of the atrocity of the financial state of the city of Harrisburg is on every elected officials hands for the past twenty years.

Every bond deal, every backroom handshake, every stupid artifact, every dollar misappropriated from one fund to another and every brick of that cursed incinerator was a choice that someone you and I elected made.

When local politicians choose to realize that they are charged with fixing or failing this city, that’s when we’ll see true progress. But now? With the exception of a small handful of standouts, all I’ve seen is a bunch of bullshit posturing and career advancing politicking from the elected officials in Harrisburg. Guys – it’s not about you…it’s about the welfare of this city. And it’s pretty grim these days.

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