Traffic concerns raised for potential Patton Township sports complex

The Board of Supervisors expressed concern Wednesday for the potential traffic issues that could rise from the proposed Nittany Valley Sports Centre.

The center has already been reviewed by the Centre Region Planning Agency, according to senior planner Eric Vorwald. It is planned for the intersection of Fox Hill Road and Bernel Road.

Vice Chairman Bryce Boyer first raised the issue of traffic, saying he was concerned with traffic making a left turn to the facility from Fox Hill Road.

“There’s an awful lot of traffic along that road,” he said. “I can’t see that being safe to make a left off Fox Hill without making a left turn lane.”

Developer Michael Lee said the kinds of events being held at the facility probably won’t correspond with the peak hours of traffic in the morning and the evening. But traffic is an aspect they can examine.

Supervisor George Downsbrough said Fox Hill and Bernel is a “nonstandard intersection,” as traffic from the airport faces a stop sign, while the rest of traffic curves north.

“Can we take advantage to standardize the intersection?” he asked.

A traffic study will look at all the factors, township Manager Doug Erickson said, and using a set of standards will determine if a turning lane can be added. Traffic is evaluated during peak hours in the morning and evening and Saturday.

“Making it into a standard intersection isn’t as easy as moving some signs around,” he said. “It will take work. The intersection has to be re-profiled.”

The facility will include two indoor soccer fields, baseball and softball areas, speed and agility training, gymnastics areas, an office and a concession area, said John Sepp, a representative of engineering firm Penn Terra. The facility is also proposing a multipurpose outdoor field with lights.

A master plan will be submitted, Erickson said. A land development plan will also be submitted before construction begins.

In other business, Finance Director Kim Wyatt presented some of the upcoming projects that will appear on the capital improvement plan draft.

Previously proposed projects include the completion of the Circleville bike path, the Waddle Road widening project, and improvement of the Wal-Mart traffic signal and accessibility route, she said. New projects include renovations of the public works and tax office building, a new records management system for the police and retrofitting the wash bay to service compressed natural gas vehicles.

The total cost in projects is $21.7 million, she said, with $7.3 million in financing and $13.8 million in grants.

The township won’t be looking at any tax increases in 2015, Wyatt said. An open space referendum appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot could raise taxes by 0.6 mills in 2016. If that doesn’t go forward, she said, the township won’t be looking at a tax increase until 2018 or 2019 of 0.2 mills.

The open space referendum tax would support annual debt service payments on a bond issue of $3.5 million to be used to acquire and preserve additional open space in the township.