HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The City of Harrisburg is ready to move ahead with extermination under the Mulberry Street Bridge. The city said a rat infestation is a public safety emergency for residents of a homeless encampment, that has been under the bridge for years. In mid-January, the city asked everyone living there to leave.
As of Thursday morning, city spokesperson Matt Maisel said there were still three people who had not left the encampment. That number is down from the five people the city reported earlier, but with extermination around the corner, the city is stepping up its efforts to move them out.
“We need that area 100 percent clear, not 85 or 90 percent clear,” Maisel said. “They have been informed every single day, the coalition has been down there every day this week, letting them know, ‘Hey you guys got to get out.'”
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This came more than a week after the city’s deadline for residents to move out, and exterminators are about to come in to address a rat problem.
“Once the week starts, the exterminating team can go in with our public works team,” Maisel said.
Maisel said that is why the city needs people out immediately.
“Even though these are safe rat traps, we still don’t want people down there,” he said. “People pick it up, move it around, then you’re not getting the full effectiveness.”
With that in mind, the city is stepping up efforts to relocate people.
“We don’t want to put up any fencing, this is the last thing that we want to do,” Maisel said, but he said the city was left with no choice.
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The city will be temporarily fencing off the Mulberry Street Bridge area during the extermination process.
“We do hope to get up the fencing before the weekend begins,” he said.
The city said exterminators will likely start the process the week of February 6 at the earliest It is expected to take about six weeks.
The city is working with the Fish and Boat Commission through this process because of the area’s proximity to Paxton Creek.