Corporate Penn State needs to rethink the sale of 44 acres of farmland upslope from the Thomas-Harter wellfields to Toll Brothers to build a huge, luxury student apartment complex.
Since the tent encampment began at this site on Saturday to protest this development, hundreds of people have stopped by, including neighbors, local farmers and alumni. All are opposed to this development; they have brought food and encouraged us to stand our ground to protect this land. It was sad to meet neighbors who stopped by to tell us they are selling their homes because of the Toll Brothers development, and they are angry at Penn State and Ferguson Township.
I encourage Penn State to bring Toll Brothers to the table to find an alternative site to sell them for student housing. PSU owns lots of land closer to campus that doesn’t require building on a sensitive watershed — the same watershed that ClearWater Conservancy hopes to protect through the Slab Cabin Run Initiative.
Instead, consider placing this land into a long-term easement, low-impact experimental farm for education and research, passive recreation or nature education area, or some combination of these. This is the best use of this land and makes it compatible with the easement to protect Slab Cabin Run and the Harter-Thomas wells.
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There is a lot of community support for this alternative and this action would improve Penn State’s reputation with the region, which could really use a boost right now.
Kelli Hoover, Pennsylvania Furnace