State College

State College residents voice concern over skate park

Residents living near Orchard Park have voiced their opposition for a potential skate park in Orchard Park — a skate park the borough says has not yet even been conceived or approved.
Residents living near Orchard Park have voiced their opposition for a potential skate park in Orchard Park — a skate park the borough says has not yet even been conceived or approved. The Associated Press, file

Residents living near Orchard Park have voiced their opposition to a potential skate park in Orchard Park — a skate park the borough says has not yet been conceived or approved.

Residents raised concerns during the public comment hour during the Borough Council’s work session on July 11, taking the stand again Monday during public comment to speak against the possible skate park.

According to the borough’s 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Plan, a project titled PK200 includes a staff recommendation for “designing an action skate/bicycle park that would be located in one of the existing borough parks followed by construction of the action park in 2018.”

During the June 6 Borough Council meeting, discussion of the CIP included a line considered the “design of an action skate/bicycle park, possibly in Orchard Park.”

Several Greentree neighborhood residents spoke against the skate park Monday, citing concerns over the preservation of open space, increased traffic and increased noise.

Resident Christopher Jones said the close location of the park influenced the purchase of his home, and he and his family enjoy numerous activities in the park on a daily basis.

“It would be a sad day for the Greentree neighborhood if this beautiful and serene park was transformed into a concrete, wood and steel abyss,” he said.

Jones said the location of the skate park would be better handled through a regional park, and the cost shared among the region.

Resident Patti Thor asked that the decision on a skate park be pushed to 2018, which would allow residents to provide sufficient input to the borough.

According to a letter posted by the borough on Wednesday and signed by council President Tom Daubert and borough Manager Tom Fountaine, the proposed park has not been approved by the council nor has funding been secured or any design work been authorized.

“In previous conversations with members of the bicycle and skate communities in 2013 and 2014, conceptual drawings were created to illustrate the elements and amenities an action sports park could include, but do not constitute a specific plan,” the letter said.

Daubert discouraged residents from reading too far into the CIP Monday, saying an item that was only briefly discussed was mistaken for a complete project.

“Let’s go with facts,” he said, “not somebody trying to rev everybody up for something that, if it ever would happen, would be way in the future and probably never will happen.”

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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