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New State College mayor and council members say their top priorities include biking infrastructure and affordable housing

New members joined the State College Borough Council on January 3, 2022.
Min Xian
New members joined the State College Borough Council on January 3, 2022.

The State College Borough has a new mayor and three new council members, who were sworn in on Monday.

Ezra Nanes, Director of Business Development at AccuWeather, replaced Ron Filippelli as the mayor of State College. He said a priority is to expand biking infrastructure, so people can move around more easily in multiple ways.

“I would like to see State College take a leadership role in Pennsylvania and across the country as a leader in building multi-modal transportation,” Nanes said.

In addition, Nanes said he supports the continuation of mandated masking in the borough. The current masking ordinance expires on January 7.

Three new council members, Gopal Balachandran, Divine Lipscomb and Richard Biever were also sworn in Monday by Centre County President Judge Pamela Ruest. They campaigned as a team focused on issues like racial justice and affordable housing.

Balachandran said their election sends a strong message about what kind of community State College is.

“That it doesn’t really matter what you look like, what your background is, in terms of you being able to be elected in a place like in central Pennsylvania,” Balachandran said. “I think that says significant things about our community.”

Balachandran said one of his focuses would be on zoning and how it affects housing affordability and equity locally.

The three new councilmen fill the seats vacated by Evan Myers, Theresa Lafer and Katherine Yeaple.

Tierra Williams, who was also a part of the campaign team, will be sworn in as a Ferguson Township Supervisor on Monday as well. The township said it will “make history” in the Centre Region with an all-female Board of Supervisors.

The new borough council elected Jesse Barlow to be Council President again.

Min Xian reported at WPSU from 2016-2022.
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