Imagine sitting on a park bench, under the shade of the trees, enjoying a beautiful summer day.
Now imagine knowing those benches and trees are in that park because of you.
In an effort to craft a master plan for the Holmes-Foster Park in State College, the borough is looking for input from residents to share their ideas on an idealized park.
The 11-acre park sits in the Holmes-Foster neighborhood of State College and was dedicated in 1930, according to the borough. While the park is not in disrepair, the borough identified the park as “requiring a more deliberate strategy for management and enhancement to meet current community needs.”
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Public involvement activities are scheduled for the next three months. The first of three planned meetings is slated for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 in Room 241 of the State College Municipal Building.
“It’s a very important park for residents of the area,” borough arborist Alan Sam said. “Some of the trees are 200 years old. It’s iconic for the area.”
Several trees were lost over the years due to old age and problems with their root systems, Sam said. Before replacing these trees, the borough first wanted to see if the infrastructure of the park needed change.
The work was beyond the scope that could be handled by the staff at the borough, he said, so a consultant was hired using a partial grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“The consultant is going to canvass the neighborhood,” Sam said. “We want to talk to the people who live immediately around the park, but also from the surrounding area, since people come into the borough from outside communities to use the park.”
Changes to the park would be made primarily from community suggestions, he said, including adjusting paths, parking and seating areas.
The borough will also be looking at the existing structures, he said, such as restrooms, pavilions and the basketball court, “to see if they’re appropriate for where they are now.”
The project has been in the capital improvement plan for some time now, said Courtney Hayden, a borough communication and special projects coordinator. The goal is to craft a master plan for the park that will cover the next 20 years.
Most changes won’t be seen for several years, Sam said.
“The primary thing to come out quickly will be replanting the canopy,” he said. “Once we’ve established where different things will go (through resident input), we can plant the trees and not have to worry about taking them out later.”
A grant from DCNR would pay for a portion of the master plan, he said, providing $10,000 of the needed $25,000. Tree planting would come from the general annual budget, but if needed, the borough could apply for another grant.
Sam said he hopes for a turnout of 30 to 40 people at the gathering to give their thoughts. All age groups are invited.
“The consultants will be working till December to present the final plan,” he said. “I encourage everyone to participate.”