Torron Group Blog

Monday, March 28, 2016

More on Pollinator Gardens

Make a Bug Collection

"It requires a little investment, but can teach sills such as identification, organizing, labeling and observation. These skills will be useful in school and in life. You can use materials available at the library to help you identify the insects that are collected. Materials such as insect pins can be purchased from most science suppliers. Everything else can be made from materials that you already have."

Check out the following websites on how to make an insect collection.

http://www.kidactivities.net/category/Science-Kids-Collecting-Insects.aspx
http://www.hometrainingtools.com/a/making-an-insect-collection-project
https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/401Book/default.php?page=home
http://bugguide.net/node/view/36900

Make sure you have fun!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Six Reasons Happy Valley is a Start-up/Relocation Dream Spot


Six Reasons Happy Valley is a Start-up/Relocation Dream Spot

Why Businesses are Flocking Here

As home to Penn State University and Innovation Park, Happy Valley is an ideal locale for startups or business relocation. Its small-town feel mixed with big-city opportunities makes it a dream spot for businesses at any stage. Those who’ve relocated here have found the move to be richly rewarding, benefitting not only their businesses but their families and their lifestyles. 

A growing number of businesses are putting down roots in Happy Valley due to unique benefits that other locations simply don’t offer, especially these six qualities that set us apart:

1. Access to Resources, Talent, and Technology: Happy Valley is home to Penn State University, one of the country’s top research universities. People from around the world come to study and conduct research at Penn State, giving local businesses access to a highly educated talent pool. You also have access to Penn State’s scientific, engineering, and technology resources and grad students. In addition, the area offers world-class conference and meeting facilities at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

2. A Strong Support System for Budding Entrepreneurs: Happy Valley offers a number of resources for startups, as well as established businesses. The incubator at Innovation Park offers space, shared resources, and business coaching from professionals. Entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to join the Centre Region Entrepreneur Network (CREN), which offers a forum for entrepreneurs in central Pennsylvania to get together with their peers and discuss business successes and struggles.

3. It’s a Family Town: Happy Valley is brimming with opportunities for family fun, such as outdoor recreation, sporting events, the performing arts, and much more. Summer brings the nationally renowned Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, with its hundreds of purveyors of fine arts and crafts, music, and food. In the winter, families enjoy First Night, an alcohol-free celebration of New Year’s featuring performances, carriage rides, ice sculpture galleries, and loads of fun activities for kids.

4. Access to a Number of Great Education Options: When it comes to education for your children, you’ll find exactly what you need right here in Happy Valley. Centre County has a number of great school districts, including State College Area School District. The school offers unique courses you won’t find other places, such as culinary and computer programming courses, as well as a broad curriculum of college-preparatory classes. There are also Catholic education options, including Our Lady of Victory Catholic School and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Bellefonte for elementary students and Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Boalsburg for high school students. State College also offers over 35 daycare facilities, so you can choose the best option for your family.

5. The Best of Both Worlds: State College isn’t your typical small town. It’s a place that accommodates a diverse range of lifestyles. It’s a town for families, but also suitable for young professionals—offering fine dining, local and well-known entertainment, and a vibrant nightlife. You can live in the heart of State College, on the outskirts of town for a suburban lifestyle, or in nearby rural areas for something more laid back. Our wide range of restaurants can accommodate any dietary needs or preferences. Happy Valley is truly a town for everyone.

6. No shortage of Entertainment: Happy Valley offers a number of venues for the performing arts, including the Center for Performing Arts, The State Theatre, and The Bryce Jordan center. Just this fall, these venues have featured some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Paul McCartney, Mavis Staples & Joan Osborne, Lucinda Williams, and Wynton Marsalis. You can also enjoy the Arts at Palmer Museum of Art and the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County. Complement these activities with our abundance of outdoor treasures—Raystown Lake, Tussey Mountain family fun, Penn State sporting events, Spikes professional baseball, Rothrock Forrest, Black Moshannon Park, to name a few—and you will be busy and engaged year-round.

Happy Valley: A welcoming spot for any business endeavor and the families of your employees!
 
Article provided by Dan Leri

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pollinator Garden



At Torron Group, we are really into doing whatever we can to leave a smaller carbon footprint, so we installed two pollinator gardens -- one in Springfield Commons in Boalsburg and one at our office at 1951 Pine Hall Road in State College. We hope to attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife to make Happy Valley even more beautiful and inviting.

If you are interested in starting a pollinator garden. Stay tuned to this blog. We'll post something new every so often Also, please make sure to come by our two locations to see how our gardens progress.

Here is one tip to get children involved in the pollinator garden.

"Participate in The Great Sunflower Project (www.greatsunflower.org). The Great sunflower Project uses a native annual plant, the sunflower to attract bees. Citizens simply plan sunflower and then twice a month, record the time it takes fives bees to visit a blooming flower. If no bees arrive in 30 minutes, the observation time is finished. They are giving away packets of 'Lemon Queen' sunflower seeds so that everyone can participate."

More ideas in the next post.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Torron Group

Written by Russ Gager, Modern Home Builder Magazine
If homeowners don’t want to mow lawns and plow snow, they usually live in a condominium or a townhome. But at The Torron Group’s Springfield Commons, those duties are performed by the Springfield Commons Homeowners Association while the homeowners reside in their own single-family homes and duplex carriage houses. “They own the lot, but the maintenance is provided for them in terms of snow and lawn care,” President Tom Songer explains. Bulk Internet service also is provided at a special rate.
Located in Boalsburg, Pa. – which dates back to the time of the Revolutionary War – Springfield Commons evokes the characteristics of that era in its design. “Back then in small villages, most homes built had front porches, and people knew their neighbors,” Songer says. “What we’re trying to do with Springfield Commons is take us back and emulate that lifestyle.”
So far, 24 of Springfield Commons’ 67 homes have been completed, all with front porches, and clustered to leave 30 percent of the 22-acre development as open space. Six acres are permanent open space, and the rest of the open space is in residents’ front- and backyards. Springfield Commons is meant to be a traditional neighborhood design where residents know each other. The design of the homes is meant to complement historic Boalsburg, Pa., which is within walking distance of Springfield Commons. 
The homes range in size from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet. Knowing your neighbors is made easy at the community center, where residents can hold large gatherings of residents or families. Equipped with a full kitchen and fitness room, the community center is where Springfield Commons residents can meet with each other at community events or interact daily within the neighborhood throughout the year.
Best of all, residence at Springfield Commons is not age-restricted, so empty-nesters, retirees and families with young children can mix together. The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa., is nearby, and the university holds many cultural and sporting events in the area along with continuing education opportunities. State College also is a hub for high-tech businesses that provide employment opportunities for an educated workforce.
Another residential development by The Torron Group is Wiltree Condominiums, located in State College. The development’s attached townhouse units are two stories above grade with a basement that can be finished to total approximately 2,200 square feet. The three-bedroom units feature Energy Star appliances, gas heat and on-demand water heaters with a one-car garage. Only two buildings consisting of 15 units are left to complete in the development.
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The Torron Group also develops commercial office and light industrial buildings in the area. Songer estimates approximately 80 percent of the company’s revenue is from the commercial properties it builds and manages.
“Our portfolio of commercial office and light industrial buildings consisting of about 150,000 square feet along with our residential developments gives my staff plenty to do,” Songer says. “We lease most of what we own, but we do work with local realtors. Generally speaking, I’ve found that for us, it’s best that we own, manage and take care of a property. That’s worked out well for us. We have long-term relationships with all of our commercial clients as well as our residential clients. The commercial market here is and has been stronger than the residential market for the last five or six years.” 
The Torron Group’s developments utilize energy-efficient systems and design. Its homes are Energy Star-certified by EPA-approved raters, who inspect each house to make sure it meets Energy Star standards.
 “We encourage people to build to Energy Star standards,” Songer says. “We build to Energy Star standards so the owner’s heating, cooling and lighting costs are minimal compared to older homes.”
15TH ANNIVERSARY
The Torron Group is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year but has no special plans to commemorate it – “just stay the course and keep doing what we’ve been doing and strive for continuous improvement in what we do,” Songer says. For the future, Songer’s goal is to finish Springfield Commons and Wiltree Condominiums in a few years.
“We’re looking for more opportunities, not so much in residential but more in the commercial field,” he says. “We’re starting to build a new 20,000-square-foot office building. We always consider buying a well-maintained office or light industrial building when the opportunity presents itself.
“We do our best to meet our clients’ expectations of high quality construction and will not take short-cuts,” Songer continues. “You only go around once in life, and we believe that our reputation is founded on building high-quality developments, homes and buildings, and maintaining long-lasting relationships with our customers. I am fortunate to have a very good and long-term staff who are very dedicated to their jobs, and my staff possesses good people skills. In addition, we try to give back to our community by serving on several non-profit boards.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What are Fee Simple Lots?


 

If you aren’t familiar with the home-buying process you may not know what it means for a property to be “fee simple.” There are a couple different ownership types for properties, but since Springfield Commons is proudly fee simple, we will explain what that means.

The definition of fee simple according to the Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute’s online website, “Land owned in fee simple is owned completely, without any limitations or conditions. This type of unlimited estate is called absolute.  A fee simple is generally created when a deed gives the land with no conditions, usually using the words like "to John Doe" or "to John Doe and his heirs.”



This means that you have complete ownership of the land and the home. Not only do you have ownership of the home and land, but this also means that you have ownership of the air space above the property and the ground and minerals beneath the property. While you do own the property, you are still subject to taxes on your mortgage.

Fee simple also means you get to dispose of the property in whatever form you wish. There are no restrictions from transferring deeds or leaving the property in your will to anyone you’d like.


Springfield Commons Site Plan

We chose to make our lots fee simple because we believe in working with our community to give them the best opportunities with buying a lot and building a home.  Fee simple is the highest form of ownership and lets the home buyers get the most out of their lot and home.

 

Choosing your own builder and what to consider


 

 

At Springfield Commons, we sell beautiful lots to match the beautiful home you’re envisioning. To help your vision come to life, we let you pick your own builder – the one who’s just right for you. Picking your own builder means you get to hand-pick the quality and craftsmanship that goes into building your home. While this means you get exactly what you want in your home, it can be a little overwhelming, so we’re here to help! We’ll give you our recommended builders and a few pointers of what to consider when choosing a builder.
What to consider when choosing a builder

 1.      Size of the home and your price range

This is the first step and the most important in planning a home and finding a builder. Consider what you do and do not need in a home, set a price range and stick to it. Knowing your price range first can help when you go to shop around. You’ll get quotes and options that fit your needs and nothing more.

2.      Experience

You want to consider the experience of the builders you choose. Take into account both the experience of the company overall and the experience of the individual builders. Take the time to research and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

3.      Quality

Take a look at their model homes and examples of their work to get a feel for the quality they provide.

4.      Energy Efficiency

Having an energy efficient home could save you hundreds of dollars a year. That savings is important to consider in what your budget is and what you’re willing to spend now to save later.

5.      References

Ask previous clients about how satisfied they were with the process and outcome when the builder constructed a home for them.

If you’re unsure where to start or don’t want to choose on your own, you can contact us, and we’ll give you a list of our preferred builders. We’re here to help. Just call Cindy at 814-231-2800 x2.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 2015 Newsletter for Springfield Commons


This newsletter is a semi-regular production from the Homeowner’s Association Board to hopefully provide timely and useful information to everyone in the neighborhood.  If you have any contributions or feedback, please email any member of the Board or Bob Conn at bobconn@gmail.com.

Alerts, Notices and Thanks!:

New Trees – Harris Township replaced many dead and dying Ash trees in the neighborhood in the right of way.  They also planted “leftover” trees in community circles.  However, due to conduit, Harris Township did not replace the trees along one side of Dearing Drive (thus the “leftover” trees).  The Board hopes to address Dearing Drive trees in the Spring.

Watering needed!  – The new trees need water to thrive.  If you have a new tree in your front yard area or within garden-hose reach, please consider watering them and filling the treegator (green bag) to help them grow.

Bugs – Japanese Beetles seem to be especially fond of one of the species of trees selected by Harris Township.  Piet has kindly offered to spray some of the trees with neem oil which is effective but is not a chemical insecticide.

Pole Lights – yard pole lights (not street lights) are the responsibility of the homeowner and must be functional and on a dusk-to-dawn controller.  These make the neighborhood look nice, help to keep our sidewalks and streets safe when the street lights are not on and are required to be operational per the HOA Rules & Regulations.

Landscaping – Lawnscape has pruned and groomed the hike/bike trail and green/buffer space in the community.   These areas had become overgrown and difficult to mow.  Additional pruning of trees was approved for Fall 2015 around the Community Center.  Several dead trees remain in the area and efforts are underway to have them safely removed.

Thanks! – Tom Songer had Neil pressure wash the outside of the community center and remove the old, unsightly wall-mounted soap dispensers and repair the wall where removed.  While there, Neil helped with a hot water tank leak and cleaned up some maintenance areas.  Thanks Tom and Neil!

Thanks! – Tom Songer paid for ½ of the cost of the trees recently planted by Harris Township.   Tom has been generous with many additional investments in the community over time.  The trees are just the most recent example.

A Greener Garden – Christine Coleman and possibly Tom Songer are investing in eco-friendly landscaping in the common areas behind Christine's house and that area.  That area will be planted with pollinator-friendly plants and grasses and should drastically reduce the need for mowing while beautifying the area.  If this is successful, more common areas may follow.  See their Web site for more information: http://www.agreenergarden.net/

Meetings and Partys

BJ Hale (bj-hale@hotmail.com) is interested in hearing from you about a Summer community picnic.  Please email her if you would like to have one and if you'd like to help organize.

Board Q3 Meeting October 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Center

Community

Garden Committee – contact Christine Coleman.  Lots of watering to be done!

Community Center ReminderPlease remember that the community center is not used regularly and the Board has adjusted the cleaning schedule per demand.  If you are planning to use the center and have signed up using the calendar, do check on it the night before or earlier in the day of use. You may need to air out the center by opening windows for a short while or a quick touch-up dusting may be needed. By simply checking out the center in all areas and touching up as needed will ensure that it appears the way that you want it to when you will be using it for your guests. Cleaning equipment and supplies are in the closet for when your event is over.  Please remember to take your trash with you.  As demand increases, the cleaning schedule will be reevaluated.

Updates from the Developer, Tom Songer II

Ownership Change to Fee Simple – All of the documents to change the form of ownership at Springfield Commons from Condominium to Fee Simple were recorded on July 24, 2015.   Corrective deeds will be recorded for each individual property owner to reflect this change. Each property owner will now own the lot on which their home is located.  I want to thank all of the owners of lots within Springfield Commons for their cooperation on this issue. 

Carriage Home (duplex) owners will have their own insurance on their homes just like Village Home owners.

Construction and Sales – The spec house on lot 47 has been sold.   I want to thank Vic Campbell for his assistance in talking with the buyers and answering their questions about Springfield Commons. 

We are working on plans for another spec home that will be built on one of the lots on Rubin Way as you enter the development.

We have an agreement of sale on lot 54 on Brisbin Way.  The buyers are working with representatives of Pinehurst Homes to construct a new home.

We have a potential buyer for lot 63 on Emma Court.  This buyer has met with representatives of Pinehurst Homes.

Useful Information



Sign up for the Harris Township Newsletter and Visit their site and Facebook page:

Send your e‐mail address to harris@harristownship.org  and ask to be added to their e‐Newsletter list



Springfield Commons HOA Board Members:

Jill Brubaker, Treasurer, jillbrubaker1@gmail.com

Christine Coleman, Secretary, cpcoleman83@gmail.com

Bob Conn, Vice President, bobconn@gmail.com

Lisa Edwards, gaelae@aol.com

Piet Van Ogtrop, pvanogtrop5@gmail.com

Tom Songer, Developer, tfsonger@torrongroup.com

Kevin Zarnick, President, kzarnick@comcast.net

Continental Real Estate Management (CREM):


Centre County Non-Emergency Number:

800-479-0050