From Red Raiders to Masked Mandates, Center County’s year of change was 2021 | News, sports, jobs

TIM WEIGHT / FOR THE EXPRESS November 11th, Veterans went into effect when Center County held Veterans Day at the Center County Courthouse.

What a year it was.

Center County’s 2021 was similar to 2020 in many ways. As COVID-19 cases rose over the year, Center County did its best to be “normal.” Sure, there were still mask requirements and numerous rejections, but life slowly returned “New normal”.

Here’s a look back at the year in Center County:

In January, Bally’s Corporation announced that a mini-casino was coming to Center County. The $ 120 million project is earmarked for the Nittany Mall. The casino will be located in the former Macy’s department store. The casino is expected to offer Category 4 table games, slot machines and sports betting. Work on the site has started and is slated to open sometime in 2022.

Also in January, Center County commissioners condemned the actions that took place on January 6 when supporters of former President Donald Trump broke out in violence, angry at the election results that declared Joe Biden the presidential race winner. Many of those involved in the violent attacks have now been charged.

Bellefonte parish flocked to repaint a defaced Pride mural. Center County Commissioner Mark Higgins was one of many who was in the process of repainting the mural that sits in the alley at Jake’s Cards and Games.

In February it was announced that Bellefonte Borough had purchased the former subway building at 219 S. Water St. near the Match Factory and Talleyrand Park. The purchase price for the property was $ 275,000. The purchase will make it easier for the district to improve access to Big Spring and Talleyrand Park. It was discussed about placing a tape cover in this area as well.

Also in February, the COVID-19 vaccine was made available to staff in the Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Area school districts and the CPI.

Center County Commissioners signed a project to develop land along Benner Pike. The Benner Pike Shopping Center will house a giant grocery store, a gas station, a café and two fast food restaurants. Although signs have been placed along the Benner Hechtes, no earth has yet been moved.

In March, residents of Pleasant Gap gathered to repair a damaged sign in Gettig Park that had been destroyed by spray paint. The perpetrator damaged the Little League field sign as well as the Interstate 99 flyover and numerous speed limit signs in the Spring Township area. Shaun Knight, a Pleasant Gap resident, helped organize the cleanup.

In April, Bellefonte Area High School was suspended for three days due to rising COVID-19 cases in the district. Later that month, the Bellefonte School Board voted 6-3 to drop the floor “Red” by Red Raiders. The school district’s sports teams would be known simply as the Bellefonte Raiders and a re-branding committee would be created to develop a new logo for the district. All Native American images would be discontinued and items would be replaced over time. Those who opposed the change would appear in Center County Court to protest the change.

In May, the Seniors of Bellefonte Area High School held a Seniors Ball in Talleyrand Park on Memorial Day. The school canceled the event, but a parent-led group organized donations from across the county to help run the event. The senior citizens’ ball had been canceled by the district, although every other school district in the Mitte region had one. Bellefonte Borough gave the go-ahead and it was the very first event of its kind at Talleyrand Park.

In June, Bellefontes graduated from the 2021 class at Rogers Stadium. Although the stadium improvements had been completed for several years, this was the first graduation ceremony in the stadium. Also in June, a group of anti-masking parents spoke at a meeting of the Bellefonte School Committee. Although the school year had just ended, parents were concerned about masking and social distancing that was heading into the 2021/22 school year.

The Historic Bellefonte Cruise returned to the streets of the county seat. Car enthusiasts, families and local residents filled the streets to view the cars and motorcycles during the two-day event held on Father’s Day weekend.

Two new Bellefonte companies – Good Will Gooddess and Spring Creek Picnics – won $ 3,000 in the SpringBoard Startup Challenge for executing a marketing plan.

In July, vandals hit the fountains in Talleyrand Park, completely destroying them. Bellefonte police said the attack took place late at night and caused several thousand dollars in damage. The 4th Central PA Festival was canceled, but fireworks were launched at Medlar Field in Lubrano Park. Tailgating was not allowed, and fans who wanted to watch the fireworks had to purchase a ticket to the State College Spikes baseball game. It was the most visited game in the history of the Spikes franchise. Meanwhile, numerous residents of Bellefonte Borough have filed complaints about fireworks being set off in the community. This was discussed at a local council meeting in July.

In August, the Grange Campment and Fair returned to Center Hall. There were rides, shows and of course food. The event was a huge hit after taking a year off in 2020 for the first time in its history.

At the end of the month, students returned to the University Park campus in Penn State early in the fall semester. A mask mandate on campus and downtown State College kept COVID-19 cases under control and kept the numbers manageable by allowing students to stay in classrooms for the entire semester.

Bellefonte Borough began looking for options for The Diamond. One of the concepts is a roundabout that would completely change the traffic pattern near the Center County courthouse. The district also banned alcohol outside of Bellefonte “Friday is in the ‘Fonte.”

Fans returned to Beaver Stadium in September when the Penn State Nittany Lion soccer team hosted Ball State on Saturday, September 11th. It was the first home game in front of a full audience for the first time since the 2019 season. The following week, the Nittany Lions defeated Auburn in a nationally broadcast game and fans filled the stadium in the annual whiteout game.

In October postal ballot papers arrived at the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte. More than 29,000 ballot papers were received. The ballot papers were opened and counted on election day at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in November.

In November the parliamentary elections put voters in Bellefonte to the polls. the “Win4Bellefonte” Easily won a ticket from Jeff Steiner, Jon Guizar, Jack Bechdel and Andrea Royer. Steiner and Guizar were re-elected to the board, while Bechdel and Royer claimed the seats vacated by the departure of Kristen Bruckner and Rodney Musser. Musser, of course, led the campaign to rid the school of its long-standing nickname, the Red Raiders. That was not well received by the voters and they made themselves felt in the elections.

Victorian Christmas returned to the streets of Bellefonte in December. Although the weather was warm and rainy, it didn’t stop shoppers from coming downtown to shop, eat, and go out with Santa Claus. Long-time organizer Sally Houser announced her resignation at the end of the event. The 40th Victorian Christmas was supposed to be her last. She was presented with a proclamation from the Center County Board of Commissioners.

The Bellefonte school board has reorganized. Steiner was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors and Guizar was elected Vice-President. At the lonely December meeting, a discussion began about the controversial nickname. Although Bellefonte is currently known as the Raiders, the board clearly has the votes to change the nickname back to the Red Raiders if they so choose.

Will it happen Well, you’ll have to wait until 2022 to find out. Stay tuned.

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