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An agency of the Centre Region Council of Governments, State College, PA 16801
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Regional Cooperation for Parks & Recreation

The "COG Regional Parks" Initiative

  1. JOHN HESS SOFTBALL FIELD COMPLEX  (renovated and re-opened in 2011)
  2. OAK HALL REGIONAL PARK (opened in May 2015)
  3. WHITEHALL ROAD REGIONAL PARK (Phase 1 planning underway)
Photo Courtesy of Michael Houtz
A view of Oak Hall Regional Park on 17 Oct 2014 courtesy
of Michael Houtz for the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority

The process to acquire, master plan and develop the regional parks is being coordinated by:

The Regional Park Planning Committee

A 12-member committee was officially formed in 2007 to oversee the Master Planning Process for the regional parks. The committee consists of the appointed members of the COG Parks Capital Committee and the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority BoardClick HERE to review the committee meeting documents.

2017
COG Parks Capital Committee

2017
Centre Region Parks & Recreation
Authority Board

• Carla Stilson, Chair, College Township Board of Supervisors
• Bruce Lord, Vice-Chair, Harris Township Board of Supervisors
• Dan Treviño, Patton Township Board of Supervisors
• Rita Graef, Ferguson Twp. Supervisors
• Zachary Moore, Penn State University
• Tom Daubert, Chair, State College Borough Counci
l

The following officials have been appointed by their respective municipality to serve as an alternate, as needed:
- Mr. Evan Myers, State College Borough

- Mr. Jeff Luck, Patton Townshipp

This committee was formed in 2002 (as the COG Ad Hoc Regional Parks Committee) and for 2016 will continue to meet at 12:15 PM on the 2nd Thursday of each month at the COG Building Forum Room. Their meetings are conducted as Joint Meetings with the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority Board.

You can find the 2017 meeting schedule posted here.

• Chris M. Hurley, Chair, Township of Patton
• Sue Mascolo, Vice-Chair, Township of Ferguson
• Diane J. Ishler, Treas., Township of Harris
• Kathy D. Matason, Sec., Township of College
• James W. Dunn, PhD, Borough of State College
• Shannon E. Messick, SCASD

 

CLICK HERE for their meeting schedule & locations.

The COG General Forum charged the COG Parks Capital Committee with the following tasks in 2008:
  1. To recommend the designation of regional park facilities (i.e., facilities involving joint capital funding such as regional parks, swimming pools, nature centers, etc.) to the General Forum.
  2. To develop and recommend a funding strategy for the planning, development, and operation of regional park facilities to the General Forum.
  3. To cooperate with the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority Board in the preparation of recommended master site plans for regional recreation facilities for referral to the General Forum and/or the participating municipalities.
  4. To study and prepare recommendations on regional parks as requested by the Exec. Committee.

Visit the PARK CONSTRUCTION PHOTO ALBUM

COG REGIONAL PARKS UPDATE

Since 2001, the elected officials of the five participating municipalities have been working together to provide new, larger regional parks for the future - focused on active recreation opportunities for families and community organizations. Those efforts have opened a new chapter in the long history of regional cooperation for municipal parks and recreation that involves shared funding of the acquisition, planning and development of those new park areas. We are also fortunate that this level of cooperation has engaged funding assistance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help make the new regional parks a reality.

Municipal officials have worked together to:

  • Jointly acquire the three sites (Oak Hall, Whitehall Road and the Hess Field Complex),
  • Develop and approve Master Site Plans for each site (see below)
  • Complete the interim renovations and safety improvements at the Hess Complex,
  • Secure $7.5 million in long-term financing to proceed with the Phase 1 developments at the Oak Hall and Whitehall Road sites. This loan was refinanced in Jan. 2013 to benefit from reduced interest rates.
  • Finalize the Phase 1 planning and construction processes for the Oak Hall and Whitehall Road sites.
  • Begin preliminary plan for a Capital Campaign to assist with further development at the three sites.

So what makes the “Regional Parks” different?

To date, the municipal parks have been acquired and built by the host municipality; the annual costs to program, operate and maintain the parks are then shared by the five municipalities. However, a new approach was needed to address the shortage of public sportfields across the region. Given the land area required for a group of sportfields combined with the high cost of construction, Regional Parks offer an efficient option for the region to provide those facilities to all residents. Discussion and action regarding this option is only possible thanks to the successful history of municipal cooperation in the Centre Region.

Park Locations

Since 2001, the elected officials of the five participating municipalities have been working together to establish new, larger regional parks for the future - focused on active recreation opportunities for families and community organizations. Those efforts have opened a new chapter in the long history of regional cooperation for municipal parks and recreation that involves shared funding of the acquisition, planning and development of those new park areas.

As a result of their monthly meetings and municipal cooperation, the COG continues to make steady progress towards building these larger parks for the future. With the assistance of Penn State University, a number of potential park sites were identified and evaluated - and two park sites were selected by the elected officials for cooperative, municipal actions.  During 2005 and 2006 a number of municipal agreements were prepared and approved which detailed the ownership shares and established a procedure for the planning, development and operation of the two parks (Oak Hall & Whitehall Road). As a result, the regional parks are intended to complement each other, with a common focus on active (outdoor) recreation facilities.

This level of municipal cooperation has also engaged funding assistance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help make the new regional parks a reality. The 68-acre Oak Hall parkland was acquired from Penn State in 2005 and the 75-acre Whitehall Road parkland was purchased in May 2008 - both with state grant assistance. In addition, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources approved grants to assist with the development of a Master Site Plan for each site. In 2010 PA DCNR approved a grant application from COG for funding assistance to acquire an additional 25-acre parcel from Penn State University to expand (in May 2011) the Whitehall Road Regional Parklands to the fully-planned, 100-acre size.

The proposal to include Hess Softball Field Complex as a third "regional park" was made by Harris Township in Sept. 2009. The COG General Forum voted unanimously on 23 Aug 2010 to acquire, upgrade and operate that property; the closing was held on 1 Sep 2010. In addition to the safety and ADA accommodations made to date, a Master Site Plan for future improvements has also been approved for that site.

Please explore the specific information related to each park plan:

1. JOHN HESS SOFTBALL FIELD COMPLEX  (with updated info.)

21 acres with 4 softball fields and support facilities in Harris Township (near Shingletown).

2. OAK HALL REGIONAL PARK (with 4 softball fields & walking trails)

68-acres in Harris & College Townships (Photo of parklands).   The Master Site Plan was amended and approved in March 2011. The Phase 1 park facilities opened on May 2, 2015

3. WHITEHALL ROAD REGIONAL PARKLANDS

100 acres in Ferguson Township (Map of parklands).   The Master Site Plan was approved in Aug. 2010. On 25 Feb 2013 the COG General Forum unanimously adopted an updated Master Site Plan.  In addition, documents related to the Centre Community Tennis Assn. (CRCTA) Proposals are posted below.

The COG REGIONAL PARKS - DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE
as of 24 Dec 2015

 

OAK HALL REGIONAL PARK Phase 1 Construction
Project Budget:  $3,974,528

WHITEHALL ROAD
REGIONAL PARK

Phase 1 Project Budget: $5,144,646
including $300,000 State Grant

Property Acquired

2005 (68 acres)

2008 (75 acres)
2011 (25 acres)

Final Master Plan Adopted

2011

2013

Bidding (Phase 1)

Bid Awards in Feb 2013

Fall 2016/Winter 2017

Park Construction Starts

April/May 2013

Spring 2017

Building Construction Starts

July 2013

Summer 2017

Sportsturf “Grow Time”

Spring & Fall 2014

Fall 2017 & Spring 2018

Park Opening

Sat. 2 May 2015
Dedication & Grand Opening

Fall 2018

TOTAL PHASE 1 PROJECT COSTS (both sites): $9.52 million.
The timetable and funding plans for the Phase II improvements at the three regional parks will be prepared upon the completion of the Phase I projects.

The CENTRE REGION COMMUNITY TENNIS ASSN. PROPOSALTennis

During the Oak Hall Parkland Master Planning Process, a group of tennis players organized as the Centre Region Community Tennis Assn. (CRCTA) to "aid and encourage the growth of tennis as a year-round, lifelong sport for youth and adults, including a large senior tennis-playing population, in the Centre Region."  The focus of their efforts was an indoor tennis facility to be constructed on regional parklands. The group subsequently proposed the inclusion of a six-court, year-round tennis facility in the Master Plan for the Whitehall Road Regional Parklands.  It is noted that the initiative for the regional parks has been based upon outdoor recreation facilities.

  • The CRCTA made a presentation to the CRPR Authority Board on Thursday, 14 May 2009.  Their proposal has remained under consideration pending municipal decisions on providing the building site in the park and potential to fund / operate the facility to benefit the community.
  • On 10 Oct 2013 the CRCTA provided an updated and expanded report at a Joint Parks Meeting. 
  • To respond to additional questions resulting from the Oct. report, on 8 May 2014 the group presented a revised "2016-2020 Strategic Business Plan" for review and comment. This document (posted below) was then discussed by the Joint Comm. on 10 July 2014.

The Tennis Building "2016-2020 Strategic Business Plan"
(8 May 2014) is available HERE (761 KB PDF). The report is also available for viewing at http://issuu.com/crpr

The CRPR Authority is a publicly-funded, municipal agency serving 5 municipalities since 1966. The Authority also maintains 501c3 status.
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The Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority
2643 Gateway Drive #1, State College, PA. USA 16801   (814)231-3071   Fax 814.235.7832