Planning Process Information

The Borough of State College, Penn State University and Downtown State College Improvement District formed a partnership to complete the Master Plan. This partnership included an Executive Committee of staff representing each of the three organizations. The Executive Committee reviewed the responses to the Request for Qualifications from consultants, interviewed qualified firms and recommended a contract award to Borough Council for Mahan Rykiel Associates. The Executive Committee also provided information and organizational support for the consultant and performed technical reviews of draft submissions of the plan. Additionally, Penn State University made a significant financial contribution to help fund the project.

Our Consulting Team
The Executive Committee Interviewed four highly qualified firms, and ultimately selected Mahan Rykiel Associates, based in Baltimore, MD, to lead the planning team. Tom McGilloway, of Mahan Rykiel Associates, is the team leader and an alum of Penn State University. Additional team members include Tripp Muldrow from Arnett Muldrow & Associates, and representatives from Stahl Sheaffer Engineering, Kalback Planning & Design, Grimm Parker Architects, and local Landscape Architect, Dan Jones. To see the team’s PowerPoint presentation from their interview, follow this link.

Scope of Work
The consulting team was tasked with preparing a comprehensive vision for our downtown, which included a series of design and physical improvements as well as analysis and impact studies. Some of the specific items that will be addressed in this plan include:
  • Design & Placemaking Elements including placemaking and streetscape improvements, public spaces, public art and downtown branding strategies;
  • Utilities including existing infrastructure as well as opportunities for green infrastructure;
  • Multi-Modal Transportation & Circulation including vehicular transportation & parking, walkability, alternative transportation and wayfinding Signage;
  • Town-Gown Interface Issues including physical and functional relationships between downtown and campus, uniform design standards for both sides of College Ave. and future development opportunities;
  • Downtown Uses & Development Opportunities including development/redevelopment potential, land use and seasonal/tourism/special event uses
  • Community Sustainability Issues including diversity of housing stock, inclusionary housing, financial impact of students and special events and environmental sustainability solutions
The consulting team led collaborative process for identifying the needs and opportunities for Downtown which engagedmany downtown users and stakeholders. During the first trip in August of 2012, the team conducted a series of interviews, focus groups and public presentations to gather ideas and share recommendations with the public and various community stakeholders. Following this kick-off visit in August, the team began shaping draft strategies and recommendations which were made available to the community during a four-day workshop and visioning session in November of 2012.

The plan was prepared in two phases. The first phase included physical and design improvements that will be incorporated into the Borough’s Capital Improvements Program. The second phase included recommendations for future development, economic opportunities and improved relations between the University and the community.

View more Information
Use the links at the top left to watch the team's most recent presentation, to view a PowerPoint with Phase I and II concepts, and download summary PDF's of individual recommendations.

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