STATE COLLEGE — Summers on Allen organizers are inviting community members to two sessions over the next week where they can share their ideas for ways to use the temporary pedestrian plaza that will be in place for two months this summer in downtown State College.
Community brainstorms will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at New Leaf Initiative in the Municipal Building, 243 S. Allen St., and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 3 Dots Downtown, 137 E. Beaver Ave. Participants are asked to RSVP online and those who cannot attend but wish to share their feedback can email summerson [email protected].
“We want to hear directly from the community about what would bring them downtown this summer,” Brad Groznik, of Groznik PR, said in a news release. “We’re looking for fun ideas and people who can help make them happen.”
The project will include landscaping, a mix of seating, a small stage and a kids play area. Several restaurants plan to apply for permits for expanded outdoor seating while the street is closed to vehicle traffic.
The aim is to bring more people to the downtown during a traditionally slow time of year and create a community destination.
The plan was originally voted down 4-3 by State College Borough Council in December, but with two of the no votes leaving council at the start of the new year, it was brought back to the table and approved in January.
Groznik said in an email that in addition to the community brainstorms, organizers are holding a brainstorming session with downtown retail businesses on Thursday.
Regular summer events that coincide with the street closure — such as Rotary Ice Cream Fest, Jana Marie Foundation J.A.M. Fest, Central PA Theatre and Dance Fest and Happy Valley Music Fest —will be incorporated along with other programming throughout the duration of the plaza.
Summers on Allen organizers have contacted a number of organizations and businesses to partner on the project, Groznik said, including Schlow Library, Centre Region Parks and Rec, KCF Technologies and Bike Happy Valley.
An advisory committee for the project also held its first meeting last week.
“Its role is to help connect and galvanize the community around this project,” Groznik said.
The committee is still growing, but currently includes representatives of nonprofit organizations, businesses and performing arts groups, Penn State, borough and Foxdale village staff members, a pastor, and a State College Area High School student. Five Penn State students also are working with Groznik on the project.