On Centre: Centre Region | State College, Penn State partner to meet sustainability goals

August 9, 2013 

— The borough has utilized Penn State classes to help with neighborhood planning and the rain garden project at Beaver Avenue and South Allen Street, but now the two entities will partner formally to meet sustainability goals.

The borough’s Alan Sam and Penn State Sustainability Institute’s Nancy Franklin explained the program to the Borough Council Monday night. State College will work with Penn State to get the program started, and the university will partner with communities around the country and the world.

Franklin said the borough will identify projects based on its own priorities, and Penn State will match those to faculty and staff with students who can carry out those projects.

The formal program kickoff will take place at the borough’s Light Step Right Step Festival, which celebrates sustainability. In its second year, the event will take place Sept. 28.

“The program really works well for Penn State and the borough because of our commitments to sustainability,” Sam said. “We do have a long history of working with students in these different areas.”

About a dozen projects are planned for the coming academic year. They include:

•  Preservation of historic sites and using GIS to create interactive maps.

•  Promoting bicycling in the Centre Region.

•  Developing a plan for downtown way-finding signs, as recommended by the final draft of the downtown master plan.

•  Discovering what it would take for the borough to become energy neutral in the future.

“The borough has limited resources, so we’re looking to work with students where we lack a lot of the personnel,” Sam said. “It’s just another way of working together.”

New councilman in College Township

Rich Francke, who has served on College Township’s Zoning Hearing Board and, more recently, filled a Planning Commission vacancy, has made his way to the Township Council.

Francke was sworn in during the Aug. 1 council meeting, to fill the vacancy left by Forrest Remick. Remick, who served eight years on the council, recently resigned after moving to Patton Township.

Remick’s term was up at the end of this year, and he did not plan on running for re-election.

Francke will serve until the end of this year. While he ran for both council seats up this year, he did not make it out of the May primary election.

Jessica VanderKolk writes this weekly column featuring news from the Centre Region. Contact her at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.

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