Trustees approve sale of Mellon parcels for park, other public use

March 21, 2008

Washington, D.C. -- Penn State's Board of Trustees today (March 21) approved the sale of two parcels of undeveloped land near the University Park campus, and granted a 10-year option for the sale of a third parcel, variously to Ferguson Township in Centre County and the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG), and to the State College Borough Water Authority.

The portions of land proposed for sale, formerly held by the Mellon Family Trust and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, were acquired by the University in July 1999 as part of a 1,110-acre purchase. The parcels have since been determined to be of no strategic value to the University.

Terms of the sale of the parcels would require deed restrictions limiting the municipalities to public use of the land. A 75-acre parcel along Whitehall Road in Ferguson Township would be targeted as a public recreational park with sports fields and facilities and picnic/pavilion areas. A 59-acre portion, to be acquired by the State College Borough Water Authority, would be required to remain undeveloped as a water recharge area. Ferguson Township and COG have offered to purchase the 75-acre parcel at the University's cost of $230,775, contingent upon COG receiving grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that would be supplemented by township funds.

Ferguson Township also has requested a 10-year option to buy a 25-acre parcel adjacent to the projected recreation area, which would similarly be limited by deed restrictions.

State College Water Authority has offered $383,500 for the 59-acre parcel between the future park's playfields and Whitehall Road.

Penn State has a long history of selling or leasing property for public benefit:

• In 2007 the University's Board of Trustees agreed to sell 165.3 acres of undeveloped Potter Township land, also part of the former Mellon Properties, to Centre Hall Borough and Gregg and Potter townships for use limited to public purposes.

• In July 2004, the Board of Trustees approved the sale of 75.5 acres in College Township for use as community playfields.

• Also in 2001, the University entered a $1-per-year lease of 4 acres to Alpha Community Ambulance Service, now known as Centre LifeLink EMS.

• In 1996 the University began a yearly $1 lease of 63.2 acres to Centre Region Recreation Authority to develop Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. In 2007, that lease was extended through 2042.

• A similar agreement in 1996 leased 4.8 acres adjacent to the Centre Furnace Mansion, site of the charter signing that established the school that was to become Penn State, to the Centre County Historical Society.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009