Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday announced the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency has been notified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency it has approved the project application for the City of Harrisburg’s sinkhole mitigation project on South 14th Street and will provide $1,650,000 in federal funds.
“This is welcome news for the City of Harrisburg and the affected community,” said Gov. Wolf. “I commend Senators Casey and Toomey, Congressmen Perry and Barletta, Mayor Papenfuse, Senator Teplitz, Representative Kim, and all the federal, state and local agencies and professionals who worked together to ensure this crucial project could move forward.”
The announcement comes after a coordinated effort by federal officials, state leaders and agencies, and the City of Harrisburg.
A local match of $550,000 will provide a total of $2,200,000 for the first phase of the project. The state Department of Community and Economic Development is working to finalize funding to provide the local match.
"The City of Harrisburg welcomes this news on behalf of the residents whose homes and lives have been so impacted by these sinkholes,” said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse. “We thank everyone on the federal, state and local levels who played a role in bringing our residents some hope and some relief. The County Commissioners also helped to secure $1 million in Community Development Block Grant disaster relief funds to ensure the success of this project, which makes it clear this was a true team effort that involved officials at all levels.”
“Families have suffered for years due to sinkholes on 14th Street, which have caused ongoing problems in the street and to the structures of the homes,” said Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin). “I’m pleased that the funding has been approved to address this issue that has plagued the neighborhood.”
“This is positive news for the affected residents of 14th street who have been looking for help for years” said Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin). “I applaud the efforts of all involved for continuing to make this project a priority.”
This initial funding will cover the acquisition and demolition of the first 25 homes on the 1400 block of South 14th Street between Cloverly Terrace and Magnolia Street. Following demolition, the site will be excavated to a depth of 10 feet and backfilled. The site will be zoned as greenspace without the possibility for future construction.
“Earlier this year, DCED identified Harrisburg as one of several priority projects to receive disaster recovery funding to be utilized for property buyouts affected by the sinkhole on South 14th Street,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “When finalized, this funding will serve as the local match requirement on behalf of the city, a critical part of obtaining FEMA’s approval. This is the first time DCED has identified a project like this as a priority project and is a perfect demonstration of the governor’s Government that Works initiative in implementation.”
“Working with FEMA Region III and FEMA HQ we helped to develop a Sinkhole Project policy and PEMA submitted the first two sinkhole applications under FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program for 2015 mitigation funds,” said PEMA Director Richard D. Flinn. “Working with our federal, state and city partners, PEMA received the first-ever FEMA approved PDM Sinkhole grant for $2,200,000 to assist the first 25 households in the South 14th Street area.”
Officials are still in the process of obtaining additional funding to cover the remaining homes that are part of the project. A funding request from the City of Harrisburg is currently under consideration by the non-profit Impact Harrisburg, which was established to aid in the city’s financial recovery.(Photo: PennLive.com)