HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Many communities are still weighing how to spend COVID money from Washington. Harrisburg leaders held a Zoom meeting to discuss how to spend whatever amount of that money the city may get.

The city wants to spend about $18 million dollars on renovating parks and playgrounds, but they have to apply for the money first from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Many parks in Harrisburg are aging, and it shows.

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“I think the cracks should be replaced. It should be leveled a little bit. The paint could be resurfaced and the gates could be locked. Just things that can motivate the kids to want to come and say hey this looks great,” said Angela Manigault.

The city is looking for that kind of input as it plans to request millions from the state in grant funding for renovation projects including $4 million for the park at 7th and Radnor streets and $3 million for Sunshine Park.

Manigault runs a summer tennis program at Sunshine Park during the week.

“That’d be definitely good for the city of Harrisburg and definitely good for the community because you have a lot of that stuff in the townships. Their pools and their parks are great. And I think that we should also fit into that,” Manigualt said.

There are stipulations to the kind of projects that can be funded with this specific block grant.

“It has to be something that’s being used to, someway to create a new facility that’s going to help the City of Harrisburg, respond to, to react to, prevent the next round of the pandemic,” said Rebecca Vollmer, grants director for the City of Harrisburg.

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Other projects Harrisburg wants to fund include $5 million to turn Jackson Lick Pool into a spray park.

At Reservoir Park the city also wants to spend $1.5 million for a spray park alley and another $1.1 million to add handball courts.

Vollmer said they chose handball because the administration wants to make the park as inclusive as possible, not just for those playing basketball.

“I really do believe that anything they can do today to help the inner city community especially our teenage boys would be wonderful to keep them busy, to keep them occupied,” Manigault said.

The public has until July 29 to give their input into what projects should be funded.

The city has to submit its application by August 1.

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There is $54.3 million in funding for the entire Commonwealth for the third round of the Community Development Block Grant – CARES (CDBG-CV) program.

That’s why Vollmer said the city may not get all its asking for, but these park projects are viewed as high priority.

The public hearing was underway for about 30 minutes before someone hacked the presentation on Zoom and drew a phallic symbol. Several more people interrupted as well.

As of now, a second public hearing on Zoom is scheduled for Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

Written comments can be sent to rvollmer@harrisburgpa.gov.

For a full list of projects proposed by the city click here.

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