Opinion

Our View: Play by the rules so that all win

Plans for an indoor sports complex in Patton Township are picking up speed.

We hope the developers and township officials don’t drop the ball.

The Nittany Valley Sports Centre, or “The Centre” as its architects already are calling it, will be an 80,000-square-foot, multi-sport facility on the corner of Bernel and Fox Hill roads. It’s slated to be built on 20 acres once owned by the defunct Second Mile charity.

Local engineer Michael Lee, the principal developer, and his development and management partner, Arizona-based Pinnacle Indoor Sports, are to be commended for looking to fill a need in the community. For years, youth and adult sports league organizers have been wishing for more indoor and outdoor space for practices and games.

As our sports-minded community has grown and recreational demand has increased, there’s been talk of a privately owned local indoor complex. Lee and Pinnacle have committed themselves to making that a reality.

That said, they must do it right.

We expect them to keep to their promise of accommodating all ages and abilities, and to pursue corporate sponsors to cover the fees for underprivileged children to participate in leagues.

They also should be a good neighbor. The Second Mile intended to construct a learning center there, so a quiet area was destined to change anyway. But The Centre’s developers should be mindful of nearby homes along Fox Hill, ensuring that the illumination for their proposed outdoor field and parking lot minimizes light pollution.

In addition, they should prepare an accurate traffic study.

Township supervisors have expressed concern about more cars, especially regarding the intersection near the proposed center.

Fox Hill at Bernel is known as a “nonstandard intersection.” Fox Hill traffic coming from University Park Airport must make a full stop but opposing traffic curves north from Fox Hill to Bernel or continues straight on Fox Hill unimpeded.

Supervisor Bryce Boyer has noted that, under the current alignment, making a left from Bernel to Fox Hill without a new turn lane would be unsafe.

That the project could lead to needed safety improvements — not just for athletes and parents but for people using the nearby airport — is a point in its favor.

In addition, their project could bring more tax revenue for the township.

Down the line, lots from the developers’ remaining 40 acres may be sold for commercial uses allowed by zoning, including a hotel — a natural addition with an airport only a couple of miles away.

The Centre has the potential to be a hit — but only if the developers build responsibly and township officials carefully oversee the project.

To draw on another sport, the ball is in their court.

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