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PML Convention held in State College

by on July 03, 2013 11:06 PM

STATE COLLEGE — The site of the 114th annual Pennsylvania Municipal League Convention last week, The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel hosted elected and appointed officials from across the state who shared ideas, discussed concerns and attended leadership development sessions centered around “Cultivating Community Cooperation.”

Nearly a week after the event, State College Borough Council President Donald M. Hahn spotlights State College and the importance of its many programs and partnerships.

“As you may know, the State College area is a model of regional cooperation statewide,” Hahn said. “State College is blazing trails that others are following. Our programs are models for other regional programs.”

Hahn said a variety of community entities and partnerships, and their roles, were discussed during the conference, including Centre Region Council of Governments, which is the umbrella through which the borough and the five Centre region townships support various local programming, planning and enforcement. This includes, among others, the Schlow Library, Centre Region Parks and Recreation, regional planning and transportation planning, property maintenance and fire protection code enforcement.

“The level of regional cooperation in improving and upgrading Schlow Library, Welch and Park Forest Pools and Hess Field was truly amazing,” he said.

The convention, held June 25 through 28, was attended by State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, State Treasurer Rob McCord, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and PML President Richard P. Vilello Jr., who is mayor of Lock Haven, among other officials.

Hahn also cited the success of the Centre Area Transportation Authority, which he said “provides excellent mass transit service to every Centre Region municipality and Bellefonte, replying primarily on natural gas.”

With an average daily ridership of 17,000, CATA is the third largest local mass transit provider in the state, behind Philadelphia and Allegheny County, he said.

Also noted, Hahn said, was Centre Network, which provides television coverage of local government meetings for every Centre Region municipality and Bellefonte; and the State College Borough, which provides police services, finance and tax collection services, health code enforcement services, information technology services, and other local government services to nearby municipalities.

“As a model of expertise and innovation, our police, public works, planning, finance and other departments are a tremendous resource for knowledge, information and experience to other local governments, not only in Centre County, but also throughout the Commonwealth,” he said.

Kahn continued: “The path we take as we struggle through the issues which we face as a region serves as the roadmap for other regions to survive their own urban-suburban conflicts on the pathway to regional cooperation, across a state where core communities are suffering from the effects of suburban flight and are left with inadequate tax bases with which to provide their citizens, their workers, and their visitors …”

Hahn said College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton townships have been allies in cultivating community cooperation by helping to make the State College area synonymous with professionalism in local government and regional cooperation in the Commonwealth.

“The Downtown Improvement District,” additionally, “has been our ally in cultivating community cooperation by being an excellent employment center, an excellent educational center, and for being the rock upon which State College was founded.

“In turn, State College has been a great place for Penn State students to learn, a great place for Penn State professors, administrators and staff to live, work (and) raise their families, and a great place to which Penn State alumni return,” Hahn said.

The convention was hosted in conjunction with Orchard Park’s playground build day on June 25, which drew hundreds of area volunteers. The playground, which was designed by area youth in April, was coordinated by PML and the Borough of State College, led by the non-profit KaBOOM!, and supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Highmark Blue Shield, Centre Region Parks and Recreation, Shipley Energy, The PFM Group, and M&T Bank.

“Thanks to our partners and local sponsors, the State College community is fortunate to be getting a great new playground designed by kids and built by helping hands from across the Commonwealth. Our local elected officials are dedicated to making their communities a better place for years to come. This playground is a prime example of our commitment to make State College a great place to live for this generation and the next,” State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham said in a press release by the PML.

For more information on the PML visit www.pamunicipalleague.org.



Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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