Intercom Online......May 4, 2000

Workshop at farm is
intended for the entire family

  About the Hamer Center

Community members are invited to bring lunches and picnic blankets to a workshop/picnic at the Circleville Farm near University Park (off Circleville Road, west of Corl Street) beginning at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Penn State faculty and students will lead educational walks and explain the unique features of the site, such as historic hedgerows and a century-old barn structure. Storytelling and an interactive design workshop are several of the activities planned for youth. Beverages and ice cream will be provided during lunch.

Circleville Farm is a 176-acre tract of land owned by Penn State. During the fall of 1999, faculty proposed for the farm the creation of a model sustainable development project, building on assets that already exist at the site such as a bicycle paths, an apple orchard and garden plots.

The proposal includes service-learning and research opportunities for Penn State students and faculty and offers a resource in sustainable living for community members. Faculty are working to engage the surrounding community in the creation of the final vision for the site in conjunction with the Hamer Center for Community Design Assistance, a new service and outreach unit at Penn State that provides design and planning assistance to communities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (see story above).

Over the past several months, Michael Rios, director of the Hamer Center, and Hamer Center team members have been conducting research and speaking to residents in the surrounding neighborhoods to identify issues of concern and to discuss possible uses at Circleville Farm.

They conducted community surveys and neighborhood focus group meetings in March and are planning several upcoming workshops, including the picnic, that will provide an opportunity for the public to define community goals and review alternative plans to be developed by the Hamer Center team.

According to Eliza Pennypacker, director of campus planning and design, the University's goals for this project include a final plan that "balances environmental stewardship and the concerns of citizens, demonstrating the benefits of innovative land use planning to the region and the Commonwealth, while obtaining a fair return on Penn State's investment in the land."

For more information about the event, call (814) 865-5300 or e-mail

About the Hamer Center

The Hamer Center for Community Design Assistance, initially funded by a $2 million endowment from the Hamer Foundation -- sponsored by Centre County entrepreneur Don Hamer -- helps communities plan for and deal with growth and change. Almost a year old, the center is a community service and outreach unit of Penn State designed to aid Pennsylvania communities by providing interdisciplinary design and planning assistance.

Communities that obtain Hamer Center services receive the assistance of an organized team made up of 10-20 faculty, students, extension agents and volunteer professionals who can guide community planners and local officials in developing a wide range of strategies related to land use, transportation issues, environmental concerns and economic development issues. A similar program has been instituted at West Virginia University.

To find out more about the Hamer Center and its services, visit the Web at

The center is directed by Michael Rios, who can be reached by e-mail at or by telephone at (814) 865-5300.

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