College Township invites the community to help create a vision for Dale Summit near Nittany Mall
A legion of urban designers and consultants have taken up residence at College Township’s offices. That’s as the township invites community members to a “charrette” design planning meeting on the future of Dale Summit’s zoning regulations, Assistant Township Manager Mike Bloom said.
Dale Summit is about a 2-square-mile area around the Nittany Mall. And since Monday, Bloom said community members, town officials, and consultants from urban design firm DPZ Codesign have been working to make the area more “mixed use development.”
The charrette has included a series of open studio time, specific presentations, and topic-focused sessions, he said.
“We’re continuing to work on our existing code, trying to make it a little more flexible and a little bit more in line with what the market is actually asking for versus what we currently have out there,” he said.
Bloom said he hopes for the area to become one where community members may “live, work, and play” rather than a “drive in, drive out destination.”
Varying numbers of community members have shown up for sessions in the past few days, Bloom said, with about 25 present at one point.
“The doors are open. Folks can come in and learn what’s under way,” he said. “And then if they have specific interests in those topic areas, then we certainly encourage them to come in and provide their thoughts and opinions on what ultimately would go well in terms of their mind’s eye for the future of Dale Summit.”
Ultimately, he said he hopes for the area to become a “gateway” to College Township and an area which can be instantly recognized as a “place” in and of itself.
He said he expects the new zoning design to take about 12-18 months to develop.
Mark Jackson, a contractor from nearby Ferguson Township, said he was “interested in how the town is developing” and came to speak to designers and contribute some of his own ideas.
Dale Summit, he said, has always been present in his life, but the form it ought to take is a “difficult question,” he said. But it must commence with a definite “vision” for its outcome.
Jackson’s vision involves, he said, a “small, cohesive” space with the “feel of a community.”
“It is encouraging to see lots of people spending lots of time on this kind of thing and allowing the public to come in and look at it,” he said. “It’s a good thing. That’s how the government should work.”
The closing presentation of the charrette will take place Thursday from 5:30-7 p.m. at the College Township Municipal Building at 1481 E. College Ave, State College, PA 16801.