Harrison Township Comprehensive Plan
January 15, 2021
(Complete copy of comprehensive plan as a PDF is a link below)
Pennsylvania municipal code requires that Harrison Township update its’ comprehensive plan at least every ten years. The previous comprehensive plan was from 2019. In 2019, Harrison Township Board of Commissioners collaborated with Brackenridge and Tarentum Boroughs to partner with developing a multi-municipal comprehensive plan. With support from the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, the three municipalities embarked on a year-and-a-half planning process that resulted in the three municipalities voting unanimously to approve the new 2020 comprehensive plan. The Harrison Board of Commissioners voted to approve the comprehensive plan at the December 30, 2020 Board meeting.
Summary of the Comprehensive Plan
“Harrison Township and Brackenridge and Tarentum Boroughs used to be “steel towns,” but over several decades lost that identity along with a significant portion of their population. From those painful losses now arise a new ambition to forge a future. Community pride is bubbling up in the form of social entrepreneurship, small businesses, the steady presence of some larger industries, and a recognition that the communities’ location along the Allegheny River presents an opportunity to layer new personalities and character traits upon the old.
The communities have recognized, as residents repeatedly stated during public input for this comprehensive plan, that with concentrated effort, they are positioned to move forward together to accomplish the changes that can enhance the quality of life for existing residents and draw newcomers.
Harrison, Brackenridge and Tarentum hope to build on their assets, including affordable real estate, their location along the Allegheny River, well-maintained local parks and an Allegheny County Park, some anchor businesses and industries, traditional business districts and bikeable, walkable neighborhoods. They also hope to welcome and guide change through efforts springing from community planning and several concurrent initiatives.
The three communities share an identity as members of the Highlands School District, and geographically as the northernmost communities in Allegheny County.
They share problems as well; years of declining population, job losses and business disinvestment have caused vacancies, property deterioration, and the social ramifications of poverty. The communities recognize that these problems do not halt at municipal borders but occur in all three. The communities’ best chances for pursuing solutions to these problems and to build on strengths will be to work together to foster to address via this plan are:
- Social Enterprise, Community and Economic Development
- Property Deterioration and Blight
- Trails, Parks and Recreation
- Community Identity.