Fort Roberdeau seeking money for upgrades

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Fort Roberdeau’s leaders are interested in spending about $60,000 on site improvements in recognition of the fort’s 40th anniversary in 2016.

Glenn Nelson, fort director, told commissioners Tuesday that he started working on some recommendations with Jim Laird of Altoona, a landscape architect and land planner.

As listed on the Tuesday meeting agenda, they are suggesting the construction of a fort-themed playground, estimated at $25,000; a 30-by-60-foot wooden pavilion with a steel roof, estimated at $20,000; and the resurfacing of gravel trails around White Oak Hall, at


With survey work, permit fees and site plan consulting expected to cost $10,000, Nelson is asking commissioners to allocate $60,000 toward the project, with money allocated to the county via the state’s Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund.

Commissioner Terry Tomassetti said he would like to know how much money is available in that fund for this project.

That’s something that Chief Clerk Helen Schmitt, who was not at Tuesday’s meeting, has been asked to find out, Glenn said. The proposed efforts, he added, could be tackled alone or as a group.

Commissioner Diane Meling said she loved the idea but offered cautionary remarks about using wood to build the fort-themed playground because it will generate maintenance issues and complaints about splinters.

Laird told Meling he agreed, but that can be addressed while still creating a unique structure to be located near White Oak Hall.

“When you see this little playground, you’re going to remember Fort Roberdeau,” Laird said.

Commissioners said they would like to see some drawings or photos, and Nelson indicated that he would return with some more details for their consideration.

Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. praised the advanced planning in recognition of the park’s 40th anniversary.

Nelson also told commissioners that the fort hosted about 360 people at its July 4 open house and is preparing for the annual Revolutionary War Days re-enactment and encampment on July 19 and 20.

Fort Roberdeau was originally built in 1778 by Gen. Daniel Roberdeau to protect local lead mining activities during the Revolutionary War era.

The county arranged to rebuild the fort’s stockade in 1975 and 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration effort.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.