ABCD First Frontier Annual Meeting Recap: $31 Million Invested – 300+ Jobs
Wow, what an annual meeting we just had. If you were one of the 250+ in the room, you heard about some very positive market trends, big projects and just how many of our newer places and spaces are transforming our community for the better (Dr. Neil Reid’s keynote “Where Community Convenes: Coffee Shops, Breweries and Other Great Third Places” can be downloaded here).
There was an energy in the room, high optimism with a dash of good old fashion pragmatism; ingredients for what we hope will make for more good things to come.
Looking back, 2018 was highlighted by the ribbon cutting and official opening of the Sheetz (our largest private sector employer) Operations and Training Center located on their corporate campus in the Martin J. Marasco Business Park. The building’s design was not only meant to create a great place to work, but also a place people will want to be, to work creatively and contribute the next big idea.
2018 was also an election year, and all federal and state elected offices made it a point to stop here in the First Frontier, Blair County to get a pulse of what issues are most important to the businesses and residents that call our area home. The renaissance of Downtown Altoona was a focal point for several of the candidates to see first-hand how vision, planning, investment and true public-private-partnerships can work successfully.
Last year ABCD was honored with the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association’s Marketing Innovation Award for the First Frontier “branding and social media outreach campaigns.” ABCD along with the Greater Altoona Economic Development Corporation was recognized by the Blair County Historical Society’s with their Preservation Award for the many decades of work towards the preservation and adaptive reuse of historical buildings in Blair County.
ABCD was directly involved in more than 30 development projects totally more than $31 million dollars in new investment. Together they yielded in excess of 300 jobs. Even though arrows are pointing upwards, we cannot take our feet of the gas.
While markets remain strong and unemployment rates are at record lows, now is the perfect time to double down on our economic development efforts. We need to continue to encourage public/private sector partnerships that improve the use, function and viability of every aspect of our community.
Technology has flattened the landscape to the point that people and investment are highly portable – that mobility presents both opportunities and challenges. But in the end, it tells us that just being good enough in such a competitive environment will never be enough…
People and the businesses they represent can and are choosing quality places that match their lifestyle, wants, and family structures. The big company town has been replaced with real community towns where people share common goals, lifestyles and interests rather than a common employer.
Therefore we need to continue to invest in the spaces and places that make our town livable, that help to attract people to our community, people who can work with our legacy businesses, invest in or start up a new business, buy a home, live and enjoy life in the First Frontier.
Click here for the Altoona Mirror article with more details about the annual meeting.