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School Board Awards Bid and Property to Overlook Heights Partnership

by on August 14, 2012 6:00 AM

The State College Area School Board of Directors voted to accept an $8,000 bid from the Overlook Heights Park Partnership and awarded the group the Overlook Heights Property. 

Tensions ran high at Monday night's regular Board of Directors' Meeting, as Ferguson Township residents packed the small meeting room inside 131 W. Nittany Ave. Many were ready to defend the park from being turned commercialized. 

Previously, several residents with property adjacent to the park area vocalized concern over their property value decreasing were the park to be commercialized and said they wanted to keep the "green space" that Overlook Heights has offered up until this point.

Meanwhile, Scott Fozard of Fozard Enterprises withdrew his bid for the space. He and his wife had initially been the highest bidders, offering the board $20,100. As much as they wanted to pursue the space, he said, he and his wife would not be stooping to the level of degradation to which they had been subjected since making the bid. 

Per an amendment made via motion by the board Monday, the board gave Ferguson Township the first right of refusal should the Overlook Heights Park Partnership decide to sell the property in the future. 

Some residents were not happy with the results, as this division was not their intention. Several board members said they were extremely disappointed with the way their effort to be transparent and fair panned out. 

Board member Dorothea Stahl said she was disappointed the board was in a position to approve the bid because "people misbehaved ... and someone who went about the process in the right, legal way withdrew." 

"I am very disappointed with the behavior ... it saddens me," Stahl said, who said she lived behind Boalsburg Elementary School before the playground in that space similarly went to the highest bidder. 

Board President Anne McGlaughlin also expressed her disappointment at the end result, especially given that Ferguson Township expressed no interest in any parts of the property for nearly five decades. 

"Often times those decisions as they do, revolve around finances," McGlaughlin said. When something does not generate revenue and has not value to us and we determine that we would like to try to change that situation and we have a bid of $20,000, which I think is a lot of money ... I'm very sorry that we weren't able to carry forward, to make the most of that in a transparent way."

"We have acted in good faith, we have tried to be as transparent as we could," she said. 

The school board of directors' next regular meeting is Aug. 27.

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