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Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority
Park Forest Community Swimming Pool Renewal
Public Forum #2 SUMMARY
held on Tu, 27 Jun 06 at Patton Township Building Meeting Room

Community Members Present:

Patrese Huff, 322 Douglas Drive
Lee Ahern, 328 Douglas Drive
Ann Miller, 413 Galen Drive
Rick Madore, 1252 Mayberry Lane
Ed Prince, 2611 Sleepy Hollow Drive
Karen Foard, 2526 Tara Circle
Gary Glenn, 346 Douglas Drive
Michael Owens, 216 Camelot Lane
Jo Ellen Messenger, 112 Hunter Wood Way
Cale F. Brownstead, 124 Forest Glen Circle


Alan Popovich, HPArchitects
Scot Hunsaker, Counsilman-Hunsaker
Todd Roth, CRPR Aquatics Supervisor

Others Present:

Sue Mascolo, CRRA Board
Donna Conway, CRRA Board
Ron Woodhead, CRPR Director
Diane Ishler, Office Manager
Todd Smith, ELA Group

Project Staff comments & responses are presented in italics.

Mr. Roth began the meeting by thanking everyone for attending, identifying the businesses and agencies that would be responsible for the work and oversight of the project, provided an overview of the history of the Park Forest Pool and its attendance records. He explained how the pool is currently funded, reviewed the goals, and reviewed the timeline for the project. He related that three items of concern voiced at the previous public meeting; Parking lot usage after dark and security, Storm drains, and a Buffer are being addressed now rather than waiting for the actual pool renovation project to begin. He then introduced Mr. Alan Popovich, HPArchitects, Mr. Todd Smith, ELA Group, and Mr. Scot Hunsaker, Counsilman-Hunsaker. Mr. Roth explained that the four options that will be explained at this forum were presented to the General Forum at their meeting last night, 26 Jun 06, and resulted in the following motion and approval: “The General Forum reviewed the facility renewal options for the Park Forest Pool and referred them to the participating municipalities for comments; and further, that municipal responses be forwarded to the COG Executive Director by July 19, 2006, for distribution to Ad Hoc Regional Park Committee; and, Authorize the Ad Hoc Regional Park Committee to review the detailed options and municipal comments and prepare a recommendation for proceeding; and, ask the Ad Hoc Regional Parks Committee to present its recommendation to the General Forum at its August 28, 2006 meeting.”

           Mr. Popovich asked that people speak up with their concerns and suggestions. Mr. Hunsaker explained that Counsilman-Hunsaker was charged with providing information necessary for the community to have conversation and discussion about the aquatics needs in the Park Forest Pool area and recommend ways to met those needs, including operating costs and potential revenues. He related that the present PF Pool is 36 years old and the decision made for Park Forest Pool could give it a life span of another 50 years. Mr. Hunsaker then presented and explained the four options that were presented to the COG General Forum meeting on Monday night, June 26, 2006:

Option #1 - Repair what is wrong; new bath house, gutters, filters, fencing, new tot pool but would not replace the pool shell or the mechanical building. $1.6 Million

Option #2 - Would build a completely new pool but it would be basically the same as it is now with a slight reconfiguration. This option would replace everything: a new pool shell, bathhouse, tot pool, and a new mechanical building. $2.5 Million

Option #3 - Similar to Option #2 but with added recreational features. $3.2 Million

Option #4 - Would be a Family Aquatics Center. It would completely replace and reshape the facility by adding more recreational amenities. $4.2 Million

Mr. Hunsaker reviewed how the population figures were compiled. Mr. Hunsaker also reviewed the expense and revenue for each option. He then provided a short break so that people could review the four options with the concept drawing hanging on the wall. After the break those present were invited to ask questions and provide input, what they like or don’t like.

          Mr. Glenn stated he had a list of questions: “Questions 101". He wondered if funds were set aside over the years to fund this project or how it would be funded, he is assuming it would be with tax dollars. Mr. Roth stated that approximately seven years ago the COG decided to set aside a certain amount each year in a capital fund that would pay for repair and renovations. There is not enough funds for the entire project, however there is enough to begin the process ($189,000). State grants are usually in the $200,000 -300,000 range, so probably the bulk of the funding would have to come from municipal funds to repay a bond (mortgage).

          Ms. Miller stated that when Mr. Hunsaker started to talk he was saying the life expectancy would be about 50 or so years, but she thought she heard that Option #1 would only extend the life of the pool another 15 or 20 years; was that correct? Mr. Hunsacker confirmed that he did say that. The original (1970) pool shell and the piping would still be used. Ms. Miller thought that it didn’t make sense to go with Option #1 given the difference in price between Option #1 and Option #2. She isn’t too sure even Option #2 makes sense. Her children are teens and there is not a lot for them at the Park Forest Pool and there isn’t sufficient time for adults to swim without children in the pool. She leans more to the pool with some recreational features..

          Ms. Foard indicated that the tot pool is not only physically-removed from the main pool, but it is also visually-removed. She suggested that the tot pool be eliminated so that young families with children of varied ages could all be in the same pool and the parents could watch all their children. Is there a reason that the two pools have to be separated? Mr. Hunsaker stated that in the 1960's tot pools had to be behind a fence with a gate because they typically did not have a lifeguard. He related that due to the rules relating to water quality and the rules for shutting down the pools if the water quality is compromised, the tot pools should be separated from the main pool so they don’t share the same water/circulation system. Some of the options shown do have the tot pools closer to the main pool allowing sight of the main pool for tot pool users.

          Mr. Ahern said he just noticed that the traffic in Option #4 is four times Option #1 but the parking lot is the same. (Mr. Hunsaker indicated that the visits were approximately twice the amount as Option #1). It appeared to Mr. Ahern that the parking lot size was the same in all the options, yet, in at least two of the pool options, the pool is larger or is trying to attract more people. Mr. Popovich answered that they were trying to not overwhelm the area with black top and the issue is open to discussion. He indicated that Park Forest Pool and the State College Area School District have a history of sharing the Park Forest Pool parking lot. It is hoped that the additional parking needed could be through sharing the school districts’ parking lots at the adjacent middle school. He also indicated there was a drop-off spot for those who would be dropping off passengers for the pool or the school. The plan calls for 84 parking spaces; the current parking lot has 58 spaces. Mr. Ahern also asked who analyzes the traffic flow, the effect of this change on the neighborhood, and whether there should be a stop sign placed on Douglas Drive at School Drive. Mr. Smith and Mr. Popovich related that when the Option was selected than they would work with the Township to determine the best way to handle the traffic flow.

          Mr. Glenn continued with his list. (1) He thinks recreation and hospitality work together. He really enjoys the community and would like to see a place to have parties and a place to enjoy with the family especially during swim meets. The pavilions should be at the side and made larger or enhance so that you could accommodate several families parties at one time. (2) His next item was stormwater run-off. Although Mr. Roth explained that the run-off issue was being addressed, Mr. Glenn wanted to make sure it was on record. He knows that it is a township issue. Since there has been so much building above the pool, condos etc., with so much pavement, the run-off has become more of a problem. This is a big concern of not only Mr. Glenn but also of his neighbors. (3) His daughter would like a deeper pool so she could dive off the side of the pool without using a diving board. (4) He asked where the filtration system moved to in options 2, 3, and 4. Mr. Hunsaker replied that the design had been going more toward the actual pool and the pavilion issues would come later. He has however thought that several smaller pavilions could be placed in the grass area. He said that they could put it on the list. He indicated that these are fairly easy to add later Mr. Hunsaker indicated that the mechanical building was moved up front and to the side, opening up the back of the property for use. The bathhouse and entry are also changed so there is visibility from the front (parking area). Mr. Glenn liked the offset so you can see into the pool area. (5) He wondered about storage for items like the swim team equipment, pool cleaning supplies, etc. There just isn’t enough storage. Mr. Hunsaker indicated that there is 300 sq ft of storage space in Options #2, 3 & 4. (6) He asked if there was to be a PA system and if it would be able to be used for swim meets. Mr. Roth stated a PA system would be there and it would have the ability to play music. Mr. Ahern noticed that there are waterslides and other teen-oriented attractions in some of the options and asked what research was done to know if these items would bring in the teens. He indicated it just seems like the high school is the place to be - so the teens want to hang out at Welch. Mr. Hunsaker indicated that this is not a teen facility or waterpark; it is a neighborhood family facility. However, we did want to attract more families and most of the amenities will be for those up through age 12-13. This would be a balanced, family facility.

          Ms. Huff stated she was disappointed in the jump between Option #2 and Option #3. She would like to add one or two items instead of so many. Mr. Hunsaker related that could be an option. He indicated that in Option 2 there is only one slide tower but you want to build the infrastructure so that other amenities could be phased in later. Mr. Roth reminded everyone that these designs are just conceptual and can be changed. Mr. Popovich related that it is like a menu where you can pick and chose those things that you want and that met the needs. Ms. Huff also was concerned about the storm run-off as she sees a lot more pavement and flat surfaces in Option #3 and #4. She wondered where the run-off will go, into her yard? Mr. Hunsaker indicated that some of the flat area in the sketches will really be landscaping and not tile or pavement area. He also displayed the type of landscaping proposed in some of the pictures from other facilities. Ms. Huff then asked if the drainage ditch has been addressed; will it be rerouted or will it still be open? Mr. Popovich related that they are 1) looking into the situation to try to solve the problem that exists now and 2) factoring this situation into the design of this project. They will be contacting the school district and the township for help in analyzing the problem and deciding what has to be done. Mr. Roth indicated that we would be having these conversations and inquires now instead of waiting until the project is underway.

          Mr. Ahern inquired as to how far back the site would be graded in Options 2,3,4? How far back is permanent pavement or tile? There is a problem with the water backup now; is that part of the plan? Ms. Foard segued by asking where the current fence was located on the plan? Where are we extending out to? How far back does the property go? Where will the fence go? She wanted some logistics. Mr. Roth pointed out, on the conceptual drawings, where the mechanical building and the fence is currently located. Ms. Foard then said that the back area is really being cleared out and utilizing a lot of the back area. Mr. Roth indicated that it was proposed for clean up so that the area could become a usable part of the facility. Ms. Foard asked if it was low land and would it affect the run off. Mr. Roth related that land goes up but the water comes from a drain from Circleville Road, collects some behind the mechanical building and then goes into the swale. This is part of the run-off that they are currently trying to remedy.

          Mr. Glenn said he really liked the gradual entry or wide steps for easy access and a place for youngsters to get acclimated to the water . He is not a fan of Option #2 or #3 but thinks that Option #4 is too big for the area, but incorporating the entry and a slide or two without getting too big would be good. Mr. Hunsaker asked if he was talking about the big pool or the tot pool. Mr. Glenn liked it on the large pool; he likes walking in and out of the pool.

          Mr. Ahern drew attention to the orientation of the kiddie (tot) pool as one option, where it will be in the shade - which makes it cold and the afternoon sun on your back. In the other layout, the afternoon sun will be in everyone’s face. He likes utilizing the hill for amenities and likes the beautification of the parking lot.

          Mr. Glenn related that trees are a real issue at Park Forest; there are trees that need to be removed, so is there really a reason for more trees being added in the parking lot. He would like to see the trees that need to be removed, taken out. Mr. Ahern likes using the trees in the islands. Mr. Smith indicated there should be trees in the islands in the parking lots to identify where they are when there is snow. The township also requires the islands and plantings.

          Ms. Huff was concerned about children walking and asked if a sidewalk was in the plan and if the culvert would still be open. Mr. Roth, Mr. Popovich, and Mr. Hunsaker indicated that all the options have a sidewalk along School Drive. Mr. Popovich indicated that the swale would remain open - that anytime you close that type of drainage you have more chance of problems - since it needs to be cleaned out and maintained. He indicated that School Drive is a private street owned by the school district, so we are going to be working with the district to be able to have the sidewalk extend from Douglas through to Amblewood.

          Mr. Popovich asked a question about lighting the parking lot for night time programs. It would be low-level security-type lighting. He pointed out where this lighting might be placed in the lot.

          Mr. Ahern indicated that the answer to security is enforcement. Mr. Roth related that signs have been ordered which prohibit overnight parking. Mr. Ahern asked what type of night programming would be happening. Mr. Roth related that it would just be what we have now, family fun nights, swim meets, and “hot” night swims. Mr. Ahern was concerned about the lighting; how bright and if on all night since his property faces the parking lot. Is the path to overflow parking lighted? There was a discussion about using light fixtures that were motion activated. The motion activation lights were desirable since many critters will activate them and they are really not cost-effective. Mr. Popovich indicated this would be low-level lighting that could go off at a certain time (on a timer). Some of the participants were concerned about the path to the school after school functions when people were returning to their cars and maybe the lights could on until 10:00 PM.. Mr. Ahern indicated that the lighting mentioned would be fine with him. Ms. Foard agreed that lighting would be a good thing, especially if they end up with slides, since teens might be tempted to use the slides when the pool was closed.

          Mr. Glenn thinks something should be done with the existing walkway into the PF Pool lot from PFMS. The walkway ends so people tend to park on the lawn. Mr. Popovich says that the School Drive sidewalk would go all the way to the existing walk(s). A discussion followed about the kids walking to/from school, being dropped off and the way they will cut across the parking lot.

           Ms. Foard thinks a better job of recycling trash (from pool visitors) is needed. Currently, although the recycling bins are there, people continue to throw trash in there so the recycling people will not pick up. The recycling bins also need to be easily available for pick up.

          Mr. Popovich asked if people parking on the street for swim meets bothers them. The majority consensus was that its part of being in the neighborhood and part of the swim community and not a problem.

          A discussion was held about the sidewalks and some suggestions: how about a sidewalk up the middle of the parking lot or maybe use a crosswalk to the path to the school? General consensus was that a crosswalk would be a good idea.

          The questions was asked as to what is historically paid for this kind of project. Mr. Roth related that between $3.5 and $4 million dollars was the current average in Pennsylvania for a municipal pool renewal of this size.

          Ms. Foard said the feasibility study stated the community can support two pools, so she doesn’t want to select an option that would negatively affect providing a pool at Welch. There was a discussion about the Welch status and the majority would rather Welch be the big pool and Park Forest the family neighborhood pool. There was a question if/when Welch is under construction if those people would be coming to Park Forest. Mr. Roth indicated that the plan is to have the work done at Welch so that it would not be out of commission for an entire summer.

           Ms. Ford then asked Mr. Hunsaker to tell everyone what he heard the group saying through this night of dialogue.

          Mr. Hunsaker stated what he heard the group say was:

• Option #1 was not a good choice for us, but maybe a blend of Option #3 and #4.

• People were concerned about the entire aquatics program in the community not just Park Forest.

• Atmosphere is important - trees, water, set backs - improvement to neighborhood.

• Some of the challenges were parking, understanding traffic flow, and run-off.

Got some good comments on the design, such as the zero beach entry was preferred.

• The “teen facility” could be at Welch.

• Hospitality - having a place for family and friends to gather.

• Tested the waters with the dollars.

• Phasing opportunities - he explained they do have the phasing opportunities there but they didn’t explain them effectively.

• Concerned about funding - what is there and going on from there.

Mr. Popovich related that:

• he asked people to take a good look at the program.

• Most of the group preferred some form of Option #2 and Option #3, but they like some features in Option #4.

• Mr. Hunsaker said that they did not hear an objection to continuing with a six-lane pool.

Mr. Ahern indicated he was in favor of the grand stair case on the large pool and zero entry on the tot pool.

          The group wants a facility smaller than Welch and a different facility than Welch. 

Mr. Roth asked that if other ideas, suggestions, etc., please fax or email them to him. Fax 814.234.7832

Meeting Summary prepared by: Diane Ishler, CRPR Office Manager 10 Jul 06

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