Through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the project’s Steering Committee chose the project’s consultant team to be Recreation Park Solutions and Yost Strodoski Mears. Both firms bring years of consulting and planning work to include many other comprehensive studies, park planning projects, and peer-to-peer consulting. “The Steering Committee is very pleased with the team chosen to lead usthrough the Comprehensive Study; these consultants have experience with regional recreation and shortand long-range planning, and will bring a fresh perspective to the current operations,” says Pam Salokangas, CRPR Director.
The first public meeting to gather community input was held on January 30, 2019 at the State College Area High School. The project consultants provided a brief overview of the project and then asked residents to break out into smaller groups to provide input or ideas or suggests on topic areas like trails, parks, adult programming, youth programming, and more. That data will be collated and provided with the results of the study. Over 150 people attended this meeting!
The second option for public participation was the mailed survey to area residents which was sent on March 25, 2019. 3,000 community members in six municipalities received this printed survey--2,000 homeowners and 1,000 apartment dwellers. Over 600 surveys were returned. The equivalent online public survey for those who did not receive the randomized version in the mail closed on Thursday, May 9 at 5 PM. The Agency received 763 online surveys!
The second and final public meeting was held on November 14 at 7 PM at the State College Area High School Cafeteria. This was an additional opportunity for the general public to receive feedback on the results-to-date as well as to provide any additional input or to ask questions about some of the data. If you were unable to attend, you can read about the results-to-date via the PowerPoint presentation given that night.
In December, the Steering Committee received the report's first draft; DCNR staff, committee members as well as Agency staff and Authority members had the opportunity to review the draft and provide edits. The second draft of the report has been reviewed by the Steering Committee as it prepares to present information to the General Forum.
The final draft of the report is complete, and was presented to the COG General Forum at its January 27, 2020 meeting. The Forum accepted the report and referred it to its member municipalities for their review and comments. Municipal comments were returned to COG by March 17, 2020, and were incorporated into the report as Appendix C. Due to the community meeting changes because of COVID-19, all public in-person meetings were canceled through the end of April. Therefore, all General Forum responsibilities were transferred to the Executive Committee on March 16, and at the March 17 Executive Committee meeting, the group approved, by resolution, the Centre Region Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan.
The Centre Region Parks and Recreation Authority accepted the final report from COG Executive Committee and approved it, via resolution, at its March 19, 2020 meeting.. Authorithy members, through some work sessions with Agency staff, will begin to set an implementation timeline for the report's Action Plan in 2020-2021.