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

Strategic Plan Aims to Keep State College Neighborhoods Strong

by on February 02, 2014 10:45 AM

It's been a long time in the making but State College residents will soon have a chance to review the borough's new neighborhood plan.

The State College Planning Commission has spent the past year assessing each neighborhood's strengths and weaknesses, while developing a long-range outlook on potential opportunities -- and possible threats.

For instance, the plan found that people in College Heights are pleased with the general ambiance of their neighborhood and feel it is very safe and attracts a diversity of residents. At the same time, those residents are concerned about the regulation of student housing and football rentals near their homes.

The neighborhood plan also reveals some interesting facts and figures about State College residents:

  • 62% of residents have a bachelors degree or higher
  • There are 12,610 occupied housing units in the borough
  • 20% of those units are owner-occupied and 80% are rentals
  • 68% of Penn State students live off campus
  • 305 single-family homes are registered as student housing

The neighborhood plan is certainly an in-depth report -- running 194 pages long. It was developed through meetings with residents who helped set goals to keep neighborhoods vibrant and connected to the community.

There are quite a few neighborhoods in State College, some of which you may not have heard of before. They include College Heights, Highlands, Vallamont, Nittany Hills East & Penfield, State College South, Tusseyview, Greentree, Orchard Park, Holmes-Foster/West End -- plus Penn State's main campus.

According to the neighborhood plan, residents want to protect and invest in their neighborhoods in the face of continuing growth in the Centre Region.

After deciding on which goals were worth pursuing, members of the planning commission held a series of meetings last summer, to develop an action plan for meeting those goals.

Understanding each neighborhood's priorities was a key focus of the planning meetings that followed.

Three major themes were identified:

  • Maintain neighborhood facilities, appearance and high-quality housing stock
  • Balance renter and owner-occupied housing in borough neighborhoods
  • Improve relationships among neighbors and with borough leaders

The planning commission will host an open house at the State College Municipal Building on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. That will give residents an opportunity to put in their two cents worth before the plan is presented to borough council.

If you have questions, please call the Planning Department at (814) 234-7109. You can also send an email to

Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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