ABCD Corporation Receives Blair County Historical Society 2018 Preservation Award
There have been so many great buildings unique to the First Frontier Blair County lost due to neglect, disinvestment, change in consumer taste and sometimes, yes, bad planning. Fortunately, several anchor buildings in downtown Altoona have remained and today, almost all have gone through or are planning for some degree of higher and better use.
Over the past two decades, the Altoona Blair County Development (ABCD) Corporation has worked in partnership with Penn State Altoona’s leadership to occupy and renovate five important and prominent buildings. That has led to additional catalytic investments from our private sector partners in structures such as the Pennsy Building, Coopers Building, and the Westfall Building.
The Gable’s Building is planning for a façade enhancement project on the 11th Street facing building. The former Shirley Shoe’s building will soon invite guests to share a “pint” and some wood-fired pizza just in time for the summer months. Big plans are also underway to renovate the former Vipond and Chalkbox buildings.
Just down the road the Elizabeth Apartments, Puritan Mill Building and Graystone Grande Palazzo are bringing new energy and appeal to areas in big need of a redo. All of these investments promise to bring new “feet on the streets” as we continue to build towards a next generation downtown.
While the private sector has made these projects possible, ABCD Corporation has been proud to play a part in the financing, partnering and sometimes cajoling, urging, promoting – call it what you want – we are guilty as charged. And for that, we were honored this month to receive the 2018 Blair County Historic Preservation Award jointly with the Greater Altoona Economic Development Corporation (GAEDC).
Work will continue on all of the strategic renovations as more buildings stand in the que. On behalf of the Board of Directors of both ABCD and GAEDC, thank you to the Blair County Historical Society for the recognition and continuing to lead and recognized the importance and impact of our First Frontier Blair County history.