Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Jump In The River

Last month, the popular and perennial mayor of Harrisburg somehow pulled off what looked like one of the greatest island-related transactions EVAH:
Harrisburg has agreed to sell 102.5-acre McCormick's Island and a nearby, 2.5-acre island for $110,000 to the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, which intends to preserve the undeveloped Susquehanna River islands in their natural state.
OK, so maybe it's not quite as good as buying Manhattan for $24, but still, it's not bad for a little bitty island covered with trees and lying in the river way upstream from downtown H-burg. Here's a picture:

Very charming, I'm sure. According to the news reports at the time, it floods whenever the river rises, no one has lived on it in living human memory, and it's surrounded by rocks and other nasty stuff in the river.

It's also in the shadow of the I-81 bridge. But there are birds on it, so, hey. Leaving aside the question of what precisely the conservancy is preserving it from, since it seems to be a pretty unlikely candidate for development, if they're happy, good for them. And good for the mayor for conjuring a hundred grand out of thin air, or at least weeds and rocks.

The deal's not finalized yet, so the city still owns the island for a while.

So, guess what? Some enterprising souls hosted some sort of Burning Man-esque rave/camp-out/dancey thing this past weekend. It went OK, except they didn't have any kind of permit, some guy drowned and everyone who attended got arrested and fined.

The paper sez:
More than 100 out-of-state and an unknown number of in-state partygoers were cited Sunday after a city man drowned Sunday morning and the event was cut short.


District Judge Robert Carl Jennings III set the fine and costs for all of those charged at $1,051, the maximum allowed by the law.
So wait a sec. Math check: More than 100 people at $1,051 each. At a minimum, that's $105,100. The cops said there were 1,000 people there; the organizers (sic) said 300-500. Either way, at a thousand bucks a head, the city stands to collect way more in fines, for one activity on the island, than the conservancy is paying to buy it.

Maybe selling it isn't such a great deal after all.

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