Altoona Central Catholic

4th St & Wopsononock Ave, Altoona, PA

The sign area adjacent to 4th street and possibly the opposite traffic island offer opportunity to capture street, building, and parking lot runoff from the site and neighborhood. Additional BMPs may be possible at the school and in the existing parking lot.

Partner Information

Partners at this site include private (Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown) and public (City of Altoona) landowners. The Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown serves 8 counties. The City of Altoona is the only city in the Altoona Metropolitan Statistical Area (the measure of population density for a region). The City’s Department of Public Works will be the primary site partner.

The City of Altoona’s Code of Ordinances is available online. The City’s website includes a link to the code as well as links to their stormwater program and their 2013 Comprehensive Plan.

The Department of Public Works will facilitate any necessary permits (fees are not applicable to the City-owned portion of the site). If activities on the Church’s private property are subject to permits, Public Works will recommend that this is a public-private project to better manage the City’s stormwater and that fees should be waived. Given the small footprint of the private land, any fees should be nominal.

Geographic Information

Municipality: City of Altoona
Nearest Stream: Spring Run
Stream Proximity to site: 0.9 miles
Local Watershed Name: Little Juniata River

Site Information

Site Ownership: Private & Public
Visibility: High
Site Users: Students, general public
Site Size (approx): 1.6 acres including public traffic island, small section of street, parking lot, and building
Percent Impervious: 85%
Potential opportunities: Redirecting road runoff, curb cuts, pervious pavers, bioretention, beautification


Site Photos

Existing Site Features

The Catholic Diocese portion of the site is a small existing green space along 4th Street (their property includes a school and church between 24th and 25th avenues and 4th and 5th streets). Other areas of the landowner’s property should not be accessed without prior notice and consent.

The site offers high visibility as the intersection carries north-south vehicular traffic from the Penn State Altoona campus to 4th Street. Traffic from Penn State Altoona and the Fairview Neighborhood use 4th Street as a major east-west route to reach downtown destinations including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Altoona at 4th Street and Howard Avenue.

The design site portion of the Church’s property is mostly uneven turf with a masonry sign with some minor shrubs and plantings at the base of the sign. The sign should remain or be replaced by something similar in size and scale. Church officials indicate that this area currently does not drain well. Church officials also request that the design not preclude lines of sight for both pedestrians and cars coming down the hill from either 25th Avenue or Wopsononock Avenue from the Church’s properties.

The City’s property is the triangular median within the bounds of 4th Street, 25th Avenue and Wopsononock Avenue. Currently the median is patchy grass with two trees at the northern point. City code protects public shade trees. Based on an assessment of the health of existing trees, the City would like to maintain and enhance the existing trees and their canopy or replace to combat impacts from urban warming.

Both areas are subject to many underground utilities and City infrastructure. There is a visible phone communication box on the Church’s property. Design teams are expected to utilize PA’s ONE CALL to locate all underground infrastructure and ensure design is appropriate for the site conditions.

Environmental Characteristics

Floodplain Designation: X (Area of minimal flood hazard)
Soil on-site (SSURGO): 100% WeC: Weikert channery silt loam, 8-15% slopes
Geological Formations: Brallier and Harrell
Dominant Rock Type: Siltstone
Other Rock Types: Shale, Black Shale

Neighborhood Information 55 (Somewhat Walkable: Some errands can be accomplished on foot).

2010 Census Block Group: 100600-2

  • Population: 711
  • House units: 323
  • Race: 97.5% white, 0.7% Hispanic, 1.4% Black, 0.3% Asian, 0.8% other
  • Median Household Income: $53,458
  • Land Area: 0.13 square miles
  • Pop density: 5469/sq mile

Proximity to closest school: The site is adjacent to a school; other close schools include Saint Theresa School (0.1 miles) and PSU Altoona (1 mile).