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Residents look to a bright future in Warriors Mark Township

With over 15 percent population growth and over 20 percent housing growth, Warriors Mark Township is one of the faster growing townships in Huntingdon County. Last night, more than 50 residents of the township participated in a visioning meeting at the Warriors Mark-Franklin Volunteer Fire Hall.
The meeting was moderated by Thomas Deans, the planning consultant for the township and Richard Stahl, the planning director for Huntingdon County. The goal for the evening was to look to the future of the township.
With the growth of Penn State and the sprawl from metropolitan centers working its way towards Warriors Mark Township, planners are working with the residents to form the community they want for the next 15 years.
Warriors Mark Township bucks the trends of most townships in Huntingdon County. The growth of Warriors Mark Township was 20.84 percent during the 2000 census, while neighboring townships of Franklin and Spruce Creek saw a decline of over 10 percent each.
Of the more than 50 people who attended, a fairly good cross section of residents participated. There were residents who moved to the township in the past 10 years, people who have farmed the fields of the townships for many years and one family that was represented by three generations.
“We had an excellent turnout and the quality of the involvement by the residents was outstanding,” said Huntingdon County Planning Director Richard Stahl. “Of the 12 communities with comprehensive plans, I can’t recall this type of interest in any of them. The people of Warriors Mark Township are concerned about economic development which supports the county vision and they are definitely committed to preserving rural life.”
The residents were broken into small work groups to discuss and write down what they felt were assets of the township, problems and what they hope to see in the township in 15 years.
The top five answers in the assets and problems did not surprise many.
Warriors Mark residents determined through their small group work sessions that open space and agriculture was the top asset of the township followed by low taxes, the quality of air and water, the quality of fire protection and EMS and quality of life rounded out the top five.
The top five problems facing the township were: lack of enforcement of the ordinances currently on the books, managing the growth of the township, increased traffic, lack of affordable sewage and lack of facilities for children.
“If you look at the assets brought up this evening, it was many things that people take for granted,” said Deans. “I was most impressed that people thought of the safety characteristics. People like the idea that their children can go outside and have room to play and have trees to climb.”
After breaking into their groups again, the residents came up with hopes for the township in 15 years.
They include, farmland preservation with local government support, maintaining a rural agricultural community, having a township office with a full-time secretary, a community park and affordable public sewage for the village of Warriors Mark.
“The people who participated tonight felt that infrastructure is important,” said Deans. “This provides the township an opportunity to work with the county to get funding for these projects.”
Warriors Mark Township Supervisor Stu Neff was pleased with the turnout.
“We had a very good cross section of residents of the county in attendance, but I was hoping to see more of the newer and younger residents,” said Neff. “We as supervisors did not want to control the meeting. This meeting was for the residents to share their thoughts and concerns. This is their township. There was no agenda pushed on anyone. It was an evening of good open discussion and we were very pleased that the people had input.”
Many residents spoke of a recreational area for youngsters in the township.
“That is something that has been on the agenda of the township supervisors for a while now,” said Supervisor Bill Hoover. “We have applied for grants to get started in building a park. There is a municipal building that is in the very early stages of being on the drawing board.”
Warriors Mark Township has a bright future.
“We have a unique opportunity for the future,” said Hoover. “We have a strong agricultural community and a growing population. It is a great place to leave and we hope to continue that for the future.”