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Borough Council Talks Capital Improvement, Upcoming ArtsFest

by on June 01, 2015 10:45 PM

It was a rare turn of events at Monday night's State College Borough Council meeting, as the evening adjourned in less than two hours.

The short meeting wasn't due to a lack of business, however, as council covered a number of noteworthy topics.

The first came during a public hearing on the Capital Improvement Plan, which covers the years spanning 2016 to 2020. John Simbeck, the owner of Gemini Enterprises at 601 W. College Ave., was the only member of the public to address council.

"I have followed with great anticipation for many years changes to the West End," he says. "The improvements have been on the books for several years and none of them have been accomplished. This year, we have two things that I have some concern with."

The first was the plan's inclusion of bike lane additions to Sparks Street or Gill Street.

"I am worried as a business at that intersection that if we take Gill Street as a location for a bike path, the next step will be removing the parking," he says. 

He is similarly concerned about discussion of turning West College Avenue into a one-lane street, turning the current second lane into parking. Simbeck says this would be a logistical disaster for businesses on that stretch, garbage trucks, and heavy traffic leaving town westward on football and move-in/move-out weekends. 

Council seemed to generally agree with both of his points. Simbeck also mentioned that the term "West End" comes with negative connotations, as areas in Pennsylvania cities like Pittsburgh with that name are often bad neighborhoods. 

Councilman Evan Myers feels the same way, and says that "West Side" is a much softer name for the neighborhood. Councilman Peter Morris, on the other hand, says the bad neighborhood in his town growing up was called the "West Side," so the negative connotation might be different from one person to the next. 

With ArtsFest just over a month away, council had to do some legislative preparation to allow for the festival to take place. It approved the use of the Municipal Building's first floor bathrooms and the staggered closing of streets and roads throughout town from July 4 to July 14. 

And just as quickly as it started, Monday night's council meeting adjourned at the early hour of 8:47 p.m.

 

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Zach Berger is the managing editor of StateCollege.com. He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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