Friday, May 12, 2006

Citizens consider strategies to save Trickett Hall

Citizens consider strategies to save Trickett Hall
By Linda Franz, May 11, 2006

The Committee to Save Trickett Hall grilled a Carlisle employee about law school plans Wednesday and approved sending a three-page letter to Gov. Ed Rendell along with copies of Save Trickett Hall petitions signed by about 2,500 people.

Alycia Reiten, manager of planning, zoning and codes enforcement for the borough, told the committee Wednesday that no land development plan has been submitted so far for the proposed demolition of Trickett Hall and construction of a new facility at Penn State Dickinson School of Law’s South College Street site.

"Once the land development process is complete, they can go ahead and apply for demolition permits and building permits," she said.

The earliest demolition is likely to occur would be after borough council’s Aug. 10 meeting, Reiten said. But Penn State could potentially go through the state Department of Labor and Industry for demolition approval, she added.

The Penn State Board of Trustees has not yet approved design plans. The board may consider the plans as early as July, university spokesmen have said.

Emotions irrelevant

"When it comes down to the emotions of the neighbors and how it affects the community, that has no effect" on the borough’s decision to approve the land development plan, Reiten said.

And she told the dozen committee members to keep in mind that "everybody fought so hard" to keep the law school in Carlisle. With a fight over Trickett Hall, the law school "could pick up and leave."

Preliminary proposals for a new law school building are "stunningly inappropriate," downtown merchant Charles Andrews responded. "Council is worried about keeping the school here but at what price? It’s a historic town. That’s why we’re fighting this."

No choice

If the plan meets all of the requirements, council has no choice but to approve it, Reiten said, adding Penn State has "lot size enough to accommodate parking as required in the ordinance."

Trickett Hall is not in Carlisle’s historic district, is not a historic landmark and is not on any list to be included on the National Historic Register, she added.

Carlisle lawyer James Flower said if the law school submits a plan that doesn’t require a variance, the committee’s best bet is to persuade the governor and the Penn State trustees that Trickett Hall should be saved.

Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said this morning that when the letter reaches the governor’s desk, he will take a "comprehensive" look at it.

"The governor has not had an opportunity to review the facts and consequently even come close to making a decision," Ardo said.

When asked if Rendell has had any contact with Penn State to discuss the building proposal, Ardo said "not to my knowledge."

The committee plans to display at least one "Save Trickett Hall" banner this weekend while Penn State officials and others are in town for the law school ‘s graduation ceremonies.

Andrews suggested a yard sign campaign similar to the "Monster Warehouse" effort that was waged in South Middleton Township could be organized in the next few weeks.

"We’ve got to get this whole community behind us or it ain’t going to happen," Andrews said.

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