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Strawberry Square: A Live-Work-Play Center in Downtown Harrisburg

By Elisha Neubauer

Harrisburg is a bustling city filled with exciting places to explore, shops to peruse, and museums to visit. Located in the heart of this lively metropolis lies Strawberry Square. A one of a kind development, Strawberry Square was one of the first major centers constructed by Harristown Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that aims to revitalize and preserve the downtown area. The one million square-foot retail and office complex has become a hub for the city since its creation in 1978; boasting an wide array of shopping choices and dining options, as well as a public atrium currently utilized for non-profit and community-hosted events.

Sharon Hassinger, Senior Vice President for Harristown, says that Harristown's mission is intended to enhance the downtown's quality of life. "To accomplish our mission we will develop, maintain, improve and coordinate existing facilities and programs. In addition, seek strategic opportunities to expand facilities and programs that will intensify and increase all people's use of the downtown." One of several phases of the Strawberry Square project restored ten historic buildings that date back to the 19th century. This restoration earned the Square a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

President and CEO Brad Jones recently announced that an addendum of twenty-two apartments, entitled the Flats at Strawberry Square, will be integrated into the center. According to Jones, "Current trends in mixed-use development marketing are successful when the attributes of walkability, vibrancy and community are clearly communicated to the target market of young adults." The trend of incorporating living spaces directly into commercial and retail spaces was a great jumping-off point for Harristown when they began planning the next step of development. "Strawberry Square's original architectural design, strives to create the perfect live-work-play atmosphere, giving residents, office tenants, and consumers alike a feeling of community and convenience all in one place", said Jones.

Aside from its award-winning architectural designs and accurate restorations, Strawberry Square is well-known as the home of the Chockablock Clock. The clock is a forty foot audiokinetic structure that includes chimes, xylo bars, a cuckoo, drums, and multiple other audio and visual astonishments. Chockablock Clock was crafted in collaboration by artist George Rhoads and Bob McGuire for the Square and has been an exciting point of interest since its installation in 1988. "It is always a pleasure to watch families marvel at the whimsical wandering of the balls that travel throughout the clock, it is a perfect way to refresh after a day of shopping or perhaps visiting Whitaker Center," says Sharon L. Hassinger, Senior Vice President , Business & Property Services for Harristown.

Many cities across the nation are striving to further their urban development in a way that enhances cultural, social, and economic activities. When executed correctly, urban development can not only enhance but support all aspects of community growth. In Harrisburg, Strawberry Square is a success story- giving residents a place to live, work, and play.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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