The Capital Area Greenbelt Association, a group
in Harrisburg, PA, is dedicated to maintaining and preserving a 20
mile park and recreational trail that encircles the city of
Harrisburg. The Association is currently protesting the plans of
McDonald's Corporation to build a new drive-in restaurant on a
section of the Greenbelt.
"This is an extreme case of abuse of the public interest by the Corporation." The taking of parkland that has been in the public domain since 1915 is a horrible calamity that we are working hard to prevent. The Association plan to present their case to the company officials in Chicago either by mail or phone. Additional letters and calls to McDonalds will help out the cause.
Update on McD's fight in Harrisburg, PA
I am visiting your site for the first time and it is quite impressive.
As a member of the Capital Area Greenbelt Association, I was pleased to
see a brief mention of our efforts to prevent development of a
McDonald's on historic public parkland in our community. I also took
note to the fact that October 16 was world anti-McD's day.
Coincidentally, this was the day that we chose to serve McD's and the
Dauphin County government (sellers of the land) with our law suit. No,
they didn't ask for fries with that!
Dauphin County commissioners have commendably responded to the
public outcry against their plans to develop century-old,
county-owned park land and vowed to correct the error of their
But only partly. The commissioners, according to county Administrator Thomas E. Washic, will drop plans to lease three acres of the Capital Area Greenbelt adjoining Paxton Street to Pep Boys if opponents drop their opposition to the county's sale of 1.35 cres in the same tract to McDonald's.
Norman Lacasse, president of the Capital Area Greenbelt Association, said the commissioners offered the concession on a take-it-or-leave-it basis and told him they would press ahead with the original plan unless the group backs the revised plan.
Half a plan may be better than the whole plan, but it remains a bad, illadvised plan nonetheless. The commissioners should abandon entirely their efforts to turn county park land into commercial property.
As we noted previously in this space, there are plenty of alternative sites nearby where a McDonald's restaurant or Pep Boys auto parts store could be built and would be a plus for the area.
But while there is plenty of commercial space available along the Paxton Street corridor, the acres in question represent all the open space left in the vicinity. When it's gone, it's gone for good.
The county already has signed a sales agreement for the property with McDonald's and faces financial penalties if it backs out.
Yet it's perplexing that the restaurant chain has the slightest desire to be caught in the middle of an environmental fight. It just isn't good public relations, as surely the commissioners themselves now understand.
Even if the county is forced to pay a penalty, it would be worth it to avoid committing a long-time blunder.
The Greenbelt represents one of the most far-sighted and original projects conceived in the history of Harrisburg and Dauphin County. If anything, the commissioners should be assisting in any way they can to preserve its integrity for future generations.
The short-term financial gain from this transaction is a pittance compared to the long-term benefits of keeping the Greenbelt intact and respecting the environmental values associated with it.
We urge the commissioners to prevent this terrible mistake from occurring while they still can. Not only will stopping the destruction of Paxton Woods be welcomed by a thankful public, it will surely be viewed with gratitude by generations to come as a haven of nature in the middle of an ever-expanding metropolis.