One is a Penn State landmark, an obligatory stop for alumni, families and graduating seniors who want to pose for the iconic campus picture.
The other, tucked away in the Holmes-Foster neighborhood, receives far less fanfare. But both have one thing in common: recognition from State College for excellence in design or aesthetics.
The borough’s Design Review Board handed out awards this week at a council meeting to the Nittany Lion Shrine and to a private residence on the 400 block of South Sparks Street.
The honor, in the form of a Focus on Appearance Award, is given for excellence in design, aesthetics and/or safety enhancements to borough properties, according to the review board’s website. Projects selected for recognition go above and beyond basic requirements by enhancing the overall quality of the borough through, among other things, historic preservation, advanced design concepts, or excellence in craftsmanship and materials.
Derek Kalp, a landscape architect at Penn State, accepted the award for the Lion Shrine, which reopened in September after several months of renovations. The work was aimed at increasing accessibility at the site, among other things.
“Anything at Penn State is a tremendous team project,” Kalp said. “All these folks came together and had a real passion for this project.”
In presenting the award, the review board said the university added to the statue’s “surroundings to allow for improved pedestrian access with quality materials and design, all of which provides visual interest and consistency with other updated parts of the Penn State campus.”
The other recipient, Frank Koe, was recognized for his “significant effort to preserve and maintain (his) midcentury modern home” on South Sparks Street.
“The board appreciates the effort that has been made to maintain the exterior of the home and landscaping,” officials said in handing out the award. “This work is a great example of a homeowner maintaining their property and contributing to the neighborhood environs.”
State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham called the property stunning, and review board member Richard Bryant said he appreciates what Koe has done for the neighborhood.
“I think it’s really fantastic,” Koe said of the award. “I’m totally thrilled to have this. I think it shows the concern the town has for people and hopefully encourages people who own property to be aware of what they have and be happy they have a home in a good, safe community.
“Hopefully everyone will work to make their homes as good as they can be,” he said.
Get groceries, coordinate emergencies
Ferguson Township officials know where to go during an emergency.
As it turns out, it’s a local grocery store.
The township supervisors this week approved an agreement with Weis Markets on Martin Street to make the store’s parking lot the emergency operating site for Ferguson Township.
David Pribulka, assistant township manager, said the goal of the plan is to minimize disruption of township services in the event of an emergency or disaster.
“One of the key elements of that plan is to secure an alternative recovery site in the event that the township’s primary location is rendered inhabitable, incapacitated or if the township should need to reconstitute its operations at another location,” he said.
Pribulka said the store’s parking lot offers a centralized location, adequate parking and space to build or set up a mobile command center.
“It’s going to help make sure that if we do need to recover operations off-site, that we do have access to a facility,” he said.