A new and improved Holmes-Foster Park came one step closer Monday with a public workshop detailing possible renovations and additions to the wooded area.
Environmental coordinator Alan Sam and Sean Garrigan, of Stromberg, Garrigan and Associates, presented maps and 3-D models of potential park changes to an audience at the State College Municipal Building that included several Borough Council members.
About 60 of the 300 trees in the park have been lost in the past 10 to 15 years, Sam said.
“I think that most people recognize that the trees are a very important aspect of this park,” he said, “if not the most important aspect.”
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Although replanting those trees is important, he said, the borough didn’t want to miss an opportunity to look at the long-range management of the park — what should be changed or added — then looking at replanting without having to interfere with the future planning of the park.
Working off public input gathered during an Aug. 27 meeting, Garrigan presented the vision of the park, along with maps outlining changes in the public facilities, paths and other aspects.
“What people mostly wanted to use this park for was a passive experience,” he said. “They wanted trails and benches and seating; real passive and to enjoy the environment opportunities with some select places for light recreation.”
Garrigan said it would be a neighborhood and regional park for groups and that the vision is of enhancing its natural aspects and focusing on active play and socializing for the lower half and on enjoying peace and relaxation on the upper half.
Proposed changes include combining restroom and pavilion facilities and adding fireplaces within the pavilions, accented seating and a vehicle turnaround point for the upper park and shifting parking along Westerly Parkway to the southern side of the park.
A model of the park and the plan are available in the public works office, Sam said. Further presentations are planned for the Centre Regional Planning Commission, the borough Design Review Board and the Centre Region Parks and Recreation board to gather additional feedback.