Friday, May 12, 2006

Trickett not up to council

From the Carlisle Sentinel

Trickett not up to council

By David Blymire, May 11, 2006

Members of Carlisle Borough Council say they’re sympathetic to the cause of preserving Trickett Hall.

But most polled Wednesday said the borough has only limited options to stop Penn State from demolishing the structure at South College and West South streets to make room for a modern-style building.

The panel has no authority to regulate the design of new structures, Council President Don Grell said. "There will be a lot of disappointment if Trickett Hall comes down, but in terms of specific legal powers, there are limits on what the borough can do," he said, adding he would rate Trickett Hall among the 10 "best-known" structures in the borough.

Letter suggested

Council member Perry Heath said he will suggest that council authorize a letter asking Penn State to reconsider the modern design proposed to replace Trickett.

"If there’s anything Penn State can do to save Trickett Hall, they should do it," he said, adding he has a "great deal of sympathy for" what the preservationists are trying to accomplish..

Heath shares Grell’s view that borough council members "are not in a position to create any ordinances."

Councilman Frank Rankin supports Heath’s suggestion that the borough write Penn State a letter expressing the community’s concerns.

He said it was hard to miss people seeking signatures on save-Trickett petitions during downtown events Friday and Saturday.

"I certainly am looking forward to the days ahead and seeing if Penn State will cooperate and be receptive to council’s request," he said.

Councilman Doug Heineman said he would support the preservation effort only if Penn State agrees.

"If the dollars and cents can be arranged to save Trickett Hall where it makes sense for everybody, then I’m all for it," Heineman said. "But my primary objective is to keep the law school here."

Councilman Timothy Scott said he’s asked the law school to send representatives to tonight’s council meeting to answer questions about the building proposal.

"I find myself sympathetic (with the preservationists) to the extent that they feel Penn State seems to be ignoring them and they don’t have a voice in this whole matter," he said.

District to expand?

Councilman William Kronenberg expressed strong support for the preservation effort and added he would support measures to save Trickett from the wrecking ball.

That would include expanding the historic district to include the Dickinson School of Law campus, an idea suggested by some residents who want to save Trickett.

Other council members are much more cautious about that idea. Several suggested it would be spot zoning — singling out a particular property for special treatment.

Grell said borough staff is doing some initial research on the concept. But he and Scott both said there may not be enough time to expand the historic district, a lengthy, complex process, and Grell questions the fairness of such a change to the property owner, Penn State.

Council Vice President Linda Cecconello said the idea is "something I want to look further into."

She has many questions about its feasibility, including whether the historic district could be expanded down one side of the street and not the other. She wants to know whether other properties would have to be involved in the expansion and what the impact would be on those properties.

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