College Heights Association

College Heights Association

The College Heights Association was incorporated under the Non-profit Corporation Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1975 to protect and advance the interests of the College Heights neighborhood and its residents.

All persons residing in the College Heights neighborhood are eligible for membership. The Association holds an annual meeting for the purpose of reviewing actions of the Association over the past year and proposing action for the Association for the coming year. Additional meetings may be held at other time for discussion of current issues.

For all the latest news and announces, please see our  News & Announcements Page

Write to Save Lives

Following the most recent fatal accident at the Atherton Street/Park Avenue intersection, Police Chief Tom King spoke with well over 100 local residents Tuesday (July 7) evening. He noted that both red light cameras (ARLE) and radar are critical to improving safety at that and other Centre Region locations.

Legislative authorization is required for both devices. Other PA municipalities (e.g. Philadelphia and its suburban counties, Pittsburgh) have red light cameras. PA is the only state in the nation without laser authorization for local accredited police departments.

According to Chief King, CITIZEN INPUT IS CRITICAL TO MOTIVATE OUR LEGISLATORS TO TAKE MUCH NEEDED ACTION. Thus, we ask you to write to those listed below, requesting their support for both ARLE and radar authorization. Some possible talking points:

  • Existing ARLE legislation should be expanded to all counties meeting requirements (e.g., 20,000+ population, accredited police department, PennDOT-approved intersections).
  • In all US states except PA, every local police department is permitted to use radar. PA state police are permitted to use radar. (PA authorizes local police to use guns, but not radar.)
  • Drivers speeding and going through red lights endanger pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers throughout every day, with alarming frequency.
  • Police reports indicate tens of thousands of pedestrian crossings at signalized State College intersections each day.
  • State College's 2+ million annual visitors result in an inordinate amount of additional vehicular traffic intermixed with heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • State College becomes 3rd largest PA municipality on event weekends(e.g., football, Arts Festival).
  • Local police lack sufficient staff to consistently monitor dangerous intersections.
  • State College Borough Council passed resolutions supporting local police use of ARLE and radar.

An ARLE information sheet can be found here.

Please send messages to:

  1. Senator Jake Corman:
  2. Hon. Scott Conklin:
  3. Hon. Kerry Benninghoff:
  4. Hon. Rich Irvin:
  5. Hon. Mike Hanna:
  6. Kevin Kline, PennDOT District Executive:

If you do only one thing for your community, please make it sending your message for safety.

Update from Tom King, Chief of Police

On July 7 State College Police Chief Tom King spoke with area residents about the North Atherton Street/Park Avenue intersection.  On July 24 he provided this update.

  1. Both Tom Zilla and Capt. Matt Wilson took notes at the July 7th meeting.  They both typed their notes and sent them to me.  I have put them into two broad categories; Comments and Suggestions.
  2. Later that week, PennDOT delivered and set up a temporary camera on the southwest side of this intersection.  They came to our police department and got the logins for this camera established and SCPD now has access to viewing this intersection.  Our IT Department is in the process of getting the necessary equipment to record the activity at this intersection.  We expect to have this equipment for the next 6-8 weeks in order to observe activity at this intersection both before students return and after they return.
  3. On July 17th, Capt Wilson, Amy Kerner, and Alan Sam met with Michele Halsell and two Civil Engineering professors to discuss their graduate level students conducting some studies or assisting in other ways at the Atherton/Park intersection.  The professors are very excited about having their students assist so we are working on further identifying what type of work these students will perform.  We may be able to have them assist with all of the data and video gathers from the temporary public cameras that will be in place for the next 6 weeks or so.
  4. The Borough Police Department and Public Works Department met with seven (7) PennDOT officials including the District Executive Kevin Kline on Thursday (7/23) solely to discuss this intersection.  Also attending the meeting was Matt Wise from Sen. Corman's office and Ton Zilla from Centre County MPO.  Part of the meeting was a presentation from a PennDOT employee on how the Automatic Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) is working in both Philadelphia and Abington Twp (Montgomery County).
  5. Over the next 1 to 2 weeks, PennDOT is going to meet and go through all of the comments and suggestions offered at the July 7th meeting and provide feedback on the various comments and suggestions.
  6. Beginning the week of August 10th, SCPD will have police department staff monitor the temporary camera and track the various activities/behaviors at that intersection. They will be charting various violations including red light violations, illegal right turns on red, drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, pedestrian violations, bicycle violations, and any near crashes.  The exact hours we will be monitoring the intersection has not been finalized but much of the focus will be on peak use times (weekdays 7:30 - 9:30 am, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm, and 4:00 - 6:00 pm).
  7. Increased Officer Presence and Enforcement - since our July 7th meeting, SCPD officers have conducted much more enforcement at this intersection and will continue this increased presence as long as staffing and call volume permits.
  8. Our investigation into the fatal crash at Atherton and Park on June 22nd is nearly complete.  The only information we are still awaiting is the autopsy report which generally takes about 6 weeks to receive.  I am hopeful we will have that report in about 2 weeks and then we can provide our findings. 
That is all of the updates since the July 7th meeting.  This continues to be a high priority for PennDOT, the Borough, and others.  There is much to consider in all of the various ideas generated so it is essential that we carefully evaluate the suggestions and any possible remedial actions.  The observations from the temporary cameras over the next 6-8 weeks will be critical information for our analysis and possible remediation.  After we have conducted our analysis and develop possible remediation, our working group will arrange a meeting with you and others CHA officers to review our analysis and suggestions to get your feedback.

Historic Property Designation

 A number of properties contribute to College Heights' designation as one of State College's historic districts. The Historic Resources Commission encourages owners of those properties to recognize those structures with a Historic Plaque.
To determine whether or not your property is on the list of those contributing to the Historic District designation, please contact John Wilson at or call 323-7109. Information about the plaques can be found at this borough

On-street Parking Permission

Call: 814-954-1019

To park on College Heights streets, College Heights residents should call 814-954-1019. This number is the College Heights parking permission hotline and must be used by College Heights residents only. Residents should leave a detailed message including the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Location (Street and block number)
  • Date and time for which permission is requested
  • Vehicle license plate and state
  • Vehicle make

Assume permission is granted unless the Parking Department calls to say otherwise. Permission may also be requested by emailing the Parking Department at with the above information. All permissions are weather permitting. Streets must be clear in the event of a snow emergency.

All Pennsylvania Vehicle Code violations will be strictly enforced.

Annual Membership

neighborhood Annual membership dues of $10 are payable to the College Heights Association for a term of membership from the beginning of September to the end of August of each year. Dues may be mailed to:

Kevin McGarry, Treasurer
534 Ridge Avenue
State College, PA 16803

Report Violations of Borough Ordinances

State College Borough now has an online form for Borough residents' use in reporting violations of Borough ordinances (e.g. snow removal, weeds, parking, trash removal, noise, unauthorized residents, etc.). The form goes directly to the Ordinance Enforcement and Public Health staff, where it will be addressed. The link for this form is here, and the form also is available under both the Ordinance Enforcement and Public Health drop-down menus in the Department of Ordinance Enforcement and Public Health section of the State College Borough website.

While none of us is eager to take on this role, as the Planning Office has stressed, often the only way staff members learn of violations is through neighbors' reporting.

College Heights School Update

Deborah Howard from Penn State’s Facilities Resource Management office, has provided this update on the College Heights School property:

  • The school district staff will remain in the building through June 2015.
  • We have started the process to get our submissions and plans ready for the reviews with the Planning, Design Review and the final Zoning Review Board.
  • As soon as we have some of the initial plans put together, I will let you know and be happy to review with you all.
  • We are planning to close the property sometime in July if we can get through all the reviews by this time (or soon thereafter).
  • Then we will start improvements in earnest in and outside the building.

Information on Neighborhood Preservation

For important information regarding the Borough strategic plan's #1 goal, neighborhood preservation, please click here.

706 N. Allen Street

The 706 North Allen Street property owners have applied for permits to demolish the house, which is listed as a "Contributing Historic Structure." After the house is torn down, they plan to construct a new one story, single-family home at that site. This plan has met with considerable consternation in the College Heights neighborhood. No local ordinances or state/federal laws would prevent this action. However, our zoning regulations require the property owners to present their plans to the Design and Historic Review Board, to advertise the demolition, and to obtain a demolition permit. The DHRB is advisory only and is scheduled to review this case on Tuesday, Feb. 21st at 2:00 PM. The meeting is open to the public and all interested parties will have the chance to voice their concerns at that time.

Town Hall Meeting Sponsored by Coalition of State College Neighborhood Associations

View the slides and handouts from the recent town hall meeting concerning greater self determination for local municipalities held August 17, 2017.

Historical and Architectural Review Board (HARB) 
College Heights residents are strongly encouraged to attend the 5:30 p.m. November 8 State College Borough Council meeting to learn about the proposed HARB ordinance to support appropriate preservation of historic homes in our neighborhood.  The proposed ordinance, which is likely to be revised to ensure neighborhood protection without overreaching regulation, can be found here.

Mystery Novel Launch 
Many College Heights residents will remember former College Heights Association president Ruth Fergus who was murdered in her Hillcrest Avenue home almost 25 years ago. Her son, Chuck Fergus, author of 19 books, will launch his latest book at a public event 2:30-4:00 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Webster’s Bookstore. The book, A Stranger Here Below, is a novel drawing on Chuck's experience losing a parent. Chuck also has written a piece about losing his mother to murder, available on his website, under the THOUGHTS section.

. (last updated 25-February-2019)

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