Mainstream Media Coverage:
Compiled post-meeting reports by Kelli Hoover and David Hughes:
The August 2, 2017 meeting between Nittany Valley Water Coalition, Toll Brothers and Penn State representatives was positive and productive.
Kelli Hoover, David Hughes and Dave Stone represented the Nittany Valley Water Coalition.
Charles Elliott, Managing Director for Toll Brothers, represented the student housing developer.
Representing the land seller Penn State were Kurt Kissinger, Associate Vice President for Finance and Business; Rob Cooper, Director of Energy and Engineering for Office of Physical Plant; Charima Young, Director of Local Government and Community Relations; and two representatives from communications, including Lisa Powers, Director of News and Media Relations.
David Hughes started off with a presentation on the positives and negatives of the Toll Brothers proposed site. He pointed out on a map all of the sinkholes at the site in comparison to other parts of the region and why it was a good idea for Elliott to consider another location.
Kelli Hoover presented information about Penn State-owned land in Ferguson, College and Patton townships that might be suitable for building student housing, including information water coalition representatives had gleaned from supervisors and staff in those municipalities.
Elliott said he wished stakeholders had had this conversation back in 2012 when Toll Brothers was first looking into State College as a location to build student housing. He also commented that he had looked at other locations in the region but had been told that the travel time by bus from the West Whitehall Road site was shorter than from locations off North Atherton. Elliott also said at the time (5 years ago) there were a lot of complaints from locals about traffic on North. Atherton.
Hughes said that Elliott’s initial reaction seemed “frosty” but that he seemed to warm up as Elliott noticed how much work had been invested by water coalition members; Hughes estimated that more than 1,000 hours of volunteer labor have been put into the campaign, including research on legal issues, water risks and zoning codes.
Water coalition representatives offered their help in talking with municipalities to help gather information and see the process through if any of these other sites may work out.
The meeting finished about 10 minutes early (ran from 11:00 to 11:50 a.m.) and Elliott stayed behind to talk with Penn State representatives without water coalition representatives present.
Hoover, Hughes and Stone went out and talked to the press. Nittany Valley Water Coalition is hoping there will be follow-up in the near future.