State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Borough Council Approves Agreement with School Board

by on December 03, 2012 10:58 PM

The sinkhole underneath Memorial Field is going to be filled. 

The State College Borough Council approved an agreement with the State College Area School District to repair the area underneath the bleachers at Memorial Field that have been negatively affected by the sinkhole, which has been under the property since the school district purchased it nearly a century ago. 

The State College Area School Board of Directors voted to approve the agreement at its regular meeting last week. 

Council moved quickly through the regular meeting to adjourn to a work session, where the 2013 Operating Budget was discussed. Council will continue to discuss the budget, which was released for public viewing on Nov. 13, at work sessions on Dec. 4 and 10.

Currently, total expenditures for the Borough, after adjustments for inter-fund transfers, are $46,654,256, as presented in Council's agenda. The largest subsection of expenditures is the general fund, coming in at $22,167,432, followed by the Capital Projects Fund, which is $10,327,538.

Council also approved the schedule for the annual public menorah lighting, which will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Mayor Welch Plaza and Municipal Building, 243 S. Allen St.

During Council's work session, a long-lost topic surfaced: the Fraser Centre. Council member James Rosenberger asked if there was any update on the area zoned to be the site of new places to shop and dine in the Borough because, he said, that land – which at current is a pile of rubble – could be used for middle-income housing. 

Rosenberger was quickly corrected, as the Borough has no hand in the Fraser Center at this point in whatever direction it moves.

Susquehanna Real Estate, the lead developer on the project, paid $1.8 million to the borough, which paid off the $3.275 million cost of the land. The developers can move forward whenever they're ready, but after a forced redesign over the summer and Penn State's pulling out of its commitment, the Fraser Centre is still in the same place it was six months ago. 

Planning Director Carl Hess said he hasn't spoken with representatives from Susquehanna Real Estate since late in the summer. He was told it's "still a viable project ... [they're] putting together some of the final financing pieces."

Kim Lentz, project manager and marketing coordinator for Susquehanna Real Estate, said they're not prepared to announce any retailers who might fill the vacant space on South Fraser Street because the developers need more than a verbal commitment, which is something that has yet to fall in place. 

"We don’t have anything formalized yet," she said, but all options are still open, even the luxury condominiums. 

"We still intend to do the condos, but we're not really actively marketing them until we have all of the final drawings prepared to show the prospective buyers," Lentz said. 

"We're redesigning, we're re-marketing and working on getting those commercial commitments that we need to start." 

No timeline has been set for construction of the Fraser Centre. 

Hess said the State College Downtown Improvement District has continued to work closely with the developers, though Lentz said Susquehanna Real Estate does not have any plans to relocate any local State College downtown businesses. 

"We prefer to bring new business into the community," Lentz said.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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