Patton supervisors OK zoning shift for sports complex on Second Mile land

mcarroll@centredaily.comMay 14, 2014 

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A local businessman has proposed developing an indoor sports and recreation complex on land owned by the Second Mile. Patton Township supervisors will consider rezoning the property at a public hearing Wednesday.

NABIL K. MARK — CDT photo Buy Photo

— Plans could now move forward for a sports complex near the University Park Airport on land that’s owned by The Second Mile.

Township supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday on a zoning change that would allow for such a use in Patton’s airport district. There was little dialogue at a public hearing on the matter that proceeded the vote.

A local businessman had requested the zoning change earlier this year, and said the undeveloped land was one of the properties he was considering for the sports complex project.

The potential developer, Michael Lee, said after the meeting he is still considering the Patton site, as well as others, and is working to put together a group of investors and a design.

“I’m happy the township approved my request so we now know that a facility on this land is feasible,” Lee said in an email. “Once we have all these things determined we’ll move forward ... .”

The Second Mile once planned to build a $9 million learning center on the site, but that idea was scrapped when founder Jerry Sandusky was accused and later convicted of sexually abusing boys.

The land is on a 60-acre site at the intersection of Fox Hill and Bernel roads.

Although plans are in the early stages, Lee previously said he has commissioned a feasibility study to determine whether the site is suitable for the complex.

The study, he said, has “reinforced our feeling that an indoor sports facility would not only survive here but would likely thrive, so we’re now looking to take the next steps.”

“It’s something I think I and a lot of people believe the area needs,” Lee previously told the Board of Supervisors. “I think a number of people made a run at doing something like this. Maybe I’ll just be the latest. But I think I’ll be successful.”

The property is listed for $2.1 million on a local real estate website. The Second Mile purchased 40 acres of property at the site for $168,500 from Penn State in 2002. The charity had previously bought 20 acres there for $64,000 in 1981, according to deeds.

A judge approved the sale of the charity’s headquarters on South Atherton Street last year. The Second Mile had previously been ordered by a judge to hold its assets until civil lawsuits with Sandusky’s victims are resolved.

Officials with the charity previously said it has been granted permission to sell the land in the past, but can’t distribute the funds without further court approval.

Lee has outlined his vision for the indoor sports complex in a letter to the Patton supervisors.

The complex would feature artificial turf fields capable of supporting both practice and competition for soccer, lacrosse, flag football and other sports for all ages and skill levels.

It would feature a large baseball and softball training center, and possibly a gymnastics training center and a strength, speed and conditioning area.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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