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Regional Park Planning Hearing #2 Summary

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008, 7:30 – 9:00 PM at
the COG Building Forum Room, 2643 Gateway Drive, State College 16801

Welcome and Introductions  (with 17 in attendance including 3 staff members)

            Ronald J. Woodhead, Director CRPR, welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the members of the Regional Park Planning Committee and the Project Consultants:

• Regional Park Committee from Ad Hoc Regional Park Committee: Dan Klees, College Township; Dick Mascolo, Ferguson Township; Dan Sieminiski, Penn State University; Jeff Luck, Patton Township (and son)

• Regional Park Committee from Centre Regional Recreation Authority: Sue Mascolo, Ferguson Township; Donna Conway, State College Borough

• Staff members:  Ronald J. Woodhead, Director CRPR; Jeff Hall, Recreation Supervisor-Sports & Fitness; Jim Steff, COG Executive Director 

• Project Consultants:  Jim Pashek, Dan Jones

            Mr. Jim Pashek, Pashek Associates, reviewed the goals for the meeting and answered the question “What is a Master Site Plan.”  A Master Site Plan is a policy document that sets the framework that helps us make decisions about the uses of the parks. This usually results in a concept drawing of the park development.  The Master Site Plan is really three or four sections; 1)  public process of collecting information and ideas;
2) analysis process where you inventory what is available on the site (both physically and culturally);
3) start design, giving form to the ideas and comments that have been made;
4) finding the costs and prioritizing.
He then reviewed what has been done so far to obtain information and comments. 

              Mr. Dan Jones, Pashek Associates, reviewed each regional park site; Oak Hall Parklands, 68 acres and Whitehall Road parklands, 75 acres.  He talked about site analysis that includes the soils, access, slopes, location, surroundings, and the specifics of each site (potentials and challenges). The analysis is much more than just facts but includes the cultural and natural information about the park. While public input regarding the regional parks will be used for both sites, the immediate focus will be on the Master Site Plan for the Oak Hall parklands.  He also cautioned people to remember that the park has not been designed yet; these maps are not designs.

               Mr. Pashek asked those who were attending for the first time what items they were specifically interested in.  A list of these suggestions is attached to this summary.  They also had a discussion about what was expected when suggesting to have part of the park specified for radio controlled airplanes.  Also, there was a question if access could be off Warner Blvd. – a discussion followed about access and the higher costs some of these suggestions would entail.  Another discussion centered on whether there should be lights at any of these fields / parks.  The majority of those present would rather not have lights.  The sports organizations interviewed earlier in the day preferred lighting, saying that it would extend their season.

COG Regional Park Master Plans
Public suggestions on Thursday, 23 Oct 08 at the COG Building

(No ranking was conducted)

 Athletic fields

 Trails / Walking

 Picnic Areas / Pavilions

 Other activities for kids while sibling is on field i.e. a playground, natural climbing structure, trails

 Natural seating "berms" to watch games

 Amphitheater for concerts

 South Atherton bike, Middle School (Warner Blvd. fatality) - provide safe access to Boalsburg (Oak Hall site)

 Non-traditional sports i.e. archery, volleyball, intramural sports @ Middle School (Oak Hall site)

 Opportunities to walk from Mt. Nittany Middle School (Oak Hall site)

 Disc golf course

 Softball fields

 Climbing - natural features protected

 Model airplane field – define runway area, shelter, power for recharging

 Nature area - not necessarily a nature center, kids getting dirty, learning

 Remote-controlled car area

 Natural play areas - sand

 What to do with the wind - wind sculpture, windmill for power (Oak Hall)

 Dark colors to absorb heat because of "cool" site (Oak Hall)

 Trail through wooded area

 Warming facility - fireplace, passive / active solar

 Sustainable materials w/ educational message

 Sound environmental principles - Existing vegetation, stormwater, thoughtful design

 Avoid vegetative monoculture – w/ education about risks

 Shade

 Safe pedestrian access to park over / under bypass (Oak Hall)

 Camping (informal)

 Need sports facilities

 Concerned with lighting - neighbors, noise late in evening, light pollution, parks need lights, Oak Hall - no lights

 Oak Hall: less sports, topography more interesting; Whitehall: sportfields

 Shallow area for outdoor skating. Warming hut.

 Kite-flying area

 Restroom or (disguised) Port-a-Johns

           Mr. Pashek then reviewed the next steps. He reviewed the statistics of the surveys so far:  approximately 21% of the surveys returned.  The most frequent use of the parks is to walk or ride bike. The question was asked if the response in this area is the same or different than other areas.  Mr. Pashek said that it is about the same, but the response rate is high.  People want unstructured open space to use for family fun.  A suggestion was made that some form of sanitary facilities should be available at every park.  The suggestions from tonight’s meeting will be listed (included above) and will be posted on the CRPR website. The paper and website survey results will be compiled, reviewed and posted (HERE). Watch the website around January for the dates of additional meetings where some of the ideas and concepts will be shared.  He thanked everyone for coming.

Funding assistance to acquire the regional parklands and to prepare the Master Site Plans has been provided by the five participating municipalities and by a grant from PA DCNR "Community Conservation Partnership Program.”

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The CRPR Authority is a publicly-funded, municipal agency serving 5 municipalities since 1966. The Authority also maintains 501c3 status.
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