PGM survey results: What respondents value most about the village of Pine Grove Mills

Date: September 17, 2018

Four questions about the village of Pine Grove Mills generated answers from 205 people -- including residents, people who work in the village, and a significant number of “others” who were motivated to take a survey distributed by Ferguson Township and the Centre Regional Planning Agency (CRPA). 

Township and CRPA staff are working with residents on a “Small Area Plan” to preserve the sense of place and quality of life in Pine Grove Mills. They prepared the survey to learn what people who have a stake or interest in its future value about this quiet community.

Participating residents are helping to create a comprehensive long-range vision that considers the village's historic, agricultural, commercial, cultural and economic assets. A good example is the village of Boalsburg's small area plan, which addresses the community's existing conditions, issues, vision, goals, and actions.

At an alignment meeting on September 5, planners shared the survey results with the public, including the Pine Grove Mills residents who are already a part of the Small Area plan process.  More than 80 percent ranked “small town feeling” as Pine Grove Mills’ best asset. Sixty (60) percent praised its "sense of community" and "friendly people." Forty (40) percent ranked the village high on "green scenery" and "proximity to downtown State College."

Those attending the alignment meeting developed a draft vision statement for the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan. The draft vision statement may be refined by the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Steering Committee on October 5, and will be presented to the public at a Town Hall meeting on November 14, .

Participants were advised that a *vision statement should capture the values expressed in the results of the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Survey and should:

• Express the distinctiveness of Pine Grove Mills now
• Be written in way that is aspirational, convincing, and easy to grasp
• Create a mental image of the ideal condition that the community wants in the future
• Be free of jargon and buzz words • Be short enough so that anyone can readily paraphrase or repeat it

Goals for the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan --  broad in the sense that they are general intentions and are not specific enough to be measured -- were defined as:

• A purpose toward which an endeavor is directed.
• The result or achievement toward which effort is directed or aimed.  

An example goal from the Boalsburg Small Area Plan is: “Ensure that new development is consistent with the form, scale, and character of the existing village.” The purpose of this goal is to assure that new development is consistent with the existing scale of the village.

*Examples of Small Area plan vision statements:

Boalsburg Small Area Plan Vision Statement
Boalsburg is a vibrant community which embraces its rich heritage with a strong sense of place and self. By supporting a harmonious mix of business, residential and cultural offerings, Boalsburg is a desired destination for residents and visitors alike. We will continue to encourage and foster a sustainable and unique community through a diverse, sensitive and deliberate improvement plan which respects the built environment including its historic, cultural and recreational resources.

Halfmoon Township Small Area Plan Vision Statement
Future development in the Planning Area should reflect the longstanding rural character of Halfmoon Township, while providing for a mix of residential dwellings, small-scale commercial businesses, places for community gatherings, parks and natural areas, and compatible agricultural uses.

Learn more about getting involved in the Small Area Plan Process:
If you are willing to volunteer to help with the Small Area Plan process, please contact Lindsay Schoch, Ferguson Township Community Planner, at (814) 238-4651 or; or Michael Patroski, Centre Regional Planning Agency Senior Planner, at (814) 231-3050 or 

What is a Small Area Plan?
Small area plans are prepared for smaller geographic areas within a community and include more detail than found in community wide and regional plans. Every community features unique areas and its own set of attributes, issues, opportunities, and challenges that contribute to the community as a whole. Small area plans provide a way for residents and businesses to actively engage in the process to affirm what is important to their area, how it fits into the larger community, and how to address issues or concerns of particular importance to their place. To be successful, the small area plan process should also recognize the context of the broader goals of community-wide and regional planning efforts, and contain a series of realistic actions to implement the plan.

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