CLEARFIELD – It’s go time for a new recreational project at Lock Haven University’s Clearfield campus.
At the final public meeting Tuesday, Landscape Architect Sara Thompson of Pashek MTR discussed the master site plan for a series of walking trails and other recreational projects for a 100-acre plot adjacent to the university.
Thompson said the public meetings were one of several steps in the project. She said the goal of the project is to bring the students and community together on campus to learn, play, exercise and become closer to nature.
The project will provide a variety of different hiking and fitness trails, river access, interpretive signage and outdoor classrooms. She also said the project is designed to be low-maintenance.
Thompson said in previous public meetings, those in attendance expressed concerns about security and safety.
She said the study committee has been working to address those issues, as well as to establish the framework for how to develop and implement the master site plan over the next 10 years.
Thompson said the majority of the property is fairly flat, but there is a portion of the property with a slope between 15-25 percent.
She said this is good for drainage as well as presenting a challenge for more experienced hikers.
Another change in the plan, based on public input, is that the natural screen between the university’s property and private property will be filled in.
Thompson said the first phase of the project will be a fitness trail, constructed in the meadow area of the property. The fitness trail will be about five feet wide, and it will provide outdoor exercise stations.
Additional phases of the project will include trails into the wooded area of the property, a greenhouse and garden area, as well as a gazebo and picnic area; a welcome center and natural playground; river access; and a canopy walk, which will allow visitors a birds-eye view of the forest.
Thompson said the natural playground will be unique feature, as it will be all-natural material, instead of plastic and steel.
With safety and security a concern, Thompson said the committee is focusing on methods to prevent or minimize undesirable access, unwanted access to private property and to provide access to first responders in the event of an emergency.
The committee will also work with local police and emergency responders to come up with a safety plan for the area.
Thompson said once completed, the recreational area will be open from dawn to dusk and rules about using the park will be posted.
Thompson said following the public meeting, there will be a final meeting with the project’s steering committee and the master site plan will be finalized.
The university will then adopt the final plan and begin the process of applying for funding.
William Curley, director of the university, said they are hoping to begin work on the first phase of the project by next fall or early next spring.