HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The show will once again go on at the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. It has mostly served as a storage facility for PPE during the pandemic, but the palettes of PPE can move out so the Farm Show’s more traditional residents can move in, and millions of visitors can come to see them.
“Those people patronize our hotels, they eat in our restaurants and they buy things they need while they’re here.” Shannon Powers, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, said.
The State approved a lease on a facility that will store the PPE. Treasure Stacy Garrity, voting by phone, was an enthusiastic yes.
“I have been very eager to see the PPE moved out as have many others, and today is a huge step forward,” Garrity said.
For security, they won’t say where it’s headed, but we do know who won the bid. Moran Industries, which boasts several warehouses in the Midstate, will house the PPE somewhere within 90 miles of Harrisburg, and collect $3 million a year.
“I consider it a victory for the farm show agriculture and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” State Representative Dan Moul (R), chairman of the agriculture committee, said.
Moul has been critical of the Wolf administration for tying up the Farm Show with storage but concedes finding a safe place for PPE is a PEMA requirement mostly ignored in the past.
“This governor didn’t fall short because no other governor before him had these warehouses but we should do it now, now that we’re aware of this,” Moul said.
But, doesn’t the state have land where it could’ve built a storage facility and own it rather than $3 million rent every year?
“When they say I lease, I’m like, here we go again,” Moul said.
A spokesperson for the department of general services explained why they could not take existing land and build a $3 million facility.
“We do not have any Commonwealth-Owned buildings available that meet the requirements for a strategic stockpile location, and constructing a new Commonwealth-Owned building, especially on the scale we are looking for, would take years and require additional appropriations to the Capital Budget,” Sarah Hammacker, a spokesperson from the Department of General Services, said.
“I know they explored every feasible possibility,” Powers said.
“For $3 million, and I don’t have to worry about land costs, I can build you one hell of a building,” Moul said.
The Farm Show will be back at full capacity with a dairy show in September and a livestock show in October.