Carpenters Volunteer to Build Temporary Market in Harrisburg

July 2, 2024

Harrisburg, PA, January 30, 2024 – Pomeroy no longer lives in the city, but on Wednesday, was back to show off the work of his fellow carpenters, who have volunteered their time to build out the interior of the temporary market, a tent-like structure being constructed across the street from the main market complex.

“At the end of the day, our members are proud to be part of this,” said Pomeroy, the council representative of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. “And they can’t wait for it to open because a lot of them go to the market for different things.”

About two-dozen market vendors were displaced by the July fire, which shuttered one of the market’s two buildings. The temporary market will house some of those displaced vendors until the brick building is restored, a project that could take two or more years.

On Wednesday, the city opened up the temporary structure to show the work that has been done by the volunteers. City officials also wanted to share what they considered to be a good news story about the market project, which recently has been marred by negative news and public perceptions of project delays and departing vendors.

Pomeroy is part of the union team, many from Lebanon-based Local 431, that has volunteered their time in the evenings and weekends since late October. The city puts the value of their work at about $40,000 so far, all freely given.

And they’re not the only volunteers performing critical work on the temporary building. The Iron Workers Union Local 404 installed the metal roof at no cost, Pomeroy said.

As a union official, Pomeroy helped put out the call for volunteers. Jeremy Herman of Mechanicsburg, a union carpenter with Local 431, was one of the carpenters who responded to the call. He said that he’s volunteered on four separate occasions, providing about 15 hours of volunteer work.

“It’s a shame that a historical building like that came down in flames,” Herman said. “But if this can help some of the local vendors get through until that building is rebuilt and they can reoccupy that, that’s our main goal.”

A look inside the temporary market on Wednesday showed a work in progress. Many of the walls and vendor stalls had been constructed, though much more work needed to be done.

According to Pomeroy, most of the remaining work will have to wait until building’s systems have been installed.

For electrical and plumbing work, the city currently has a request for proposals listed on the public platform, PennBid, having failed to secure bids using the private platform, the Keystone Purchasing Network. Once that infrastructure is installed, the carpenters will return to finish the job, Pomeroy said.

“Once their work is done, we’d need about two weeks to button everything up,” he said. “It’s going to depend on the other crafts who have to get in here and do the work.”

As a council representative for Local 431, Casey Sipe also has volunteered his time to the project. He said that he feels sympathy for the vendors who have lost their livelihoods due to the fire.

“It’s a shame they had to endure that,” he said. “But it’s our pleasure to come down here to do what we can to get them back up and running and start making a living again for their families.”