More than a dozen people appeared at a public meeting Wednesday to give their input on the proposed improvements at Holmes-Foster Park.
Hosted by the developers, Stromberg, Garrigan and Associates, attendees were given the opportunity to rate potential designs items as well as give input on existing park elements themselves.
“We haven’t started the design development yet,” said Tim Stromberg. “This is purely an informational gathering from people to see what they want (the park) to become.”
According to Stromberg, input on the park began early that day during a park walk-through with various stakeholders and maintenance management heads, leading to a meeting with school district representatives, community leaders and Penn State representatives.
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At the public meeting, which was held at the State College municipal building, attendees participated in a visual survey displaying designs and activities that could be added to the park. Photographs included elements such as seating designs, an outdoor gym, gardens and a skate park that were all rated from least desirable to most desirable.
Ann Toole, of Toole Recreational Planning, explained the survey would help figure out an appropriate mix of activities to the park.
Typical trends show a desire toward connecting people with nature, planning for aging populations and fitness, she said.
Peter Aeschbacher, Penn State assistant professor of landscape and architecture who lives on South Sparks Street, said he felt the park hadn’t been designed to highlight the landscape.
“If we could do something really simple with designs in the landscape, kids could just take over,” he said.
Aeschbacher is the father of a 2-year old and an 8-year old.
Following a presentation by Sean Garrigan, attendees were given maps of the park and asked to highlight different items, such as existing activities they like about the park, things they would like to see removed and what they would like to see added.
According to Garrigan, the next steps include analyzing their findings, developing programming recommendations and developing alternative schematics.
These alternatives will be presented at a workshop to be held 6 p.m. Sept. 8, prior to the scheduled Borough Council meeting.
“This was a lot more fun and a lot more informative than I thought it was going to be,” said Roberta Beebe, of West Fairmount Avenue. “I really felt like they heard us.”
“I think Holmes-Foster is one of the great parks in State College,” Aeschbacher said, “and if we’re thinking about what to do with it, there’s enough activity ... if we just nudge a few things it could be great without worrying about branding it or making it more” elaborate.