Perspective needed on reassessment
The last Blair County tax assessment was completed in 1958.
Blair County Commissioners Tomassetti and Beam were old enough to be in first grade and Commissioner Meling probably wasn’t born yet.
In 1958, the Sylvania plant on Pleasant Valley Boulevard (now General Cable) opened, as did Unkel Joe’s Woodshed, then located in the Old Street Car Barns (near the current Logan Valley Mall today).
Blatt Brothers Drive Inn had operated since 1948 (now the site of Big Lots and Sakura Steakhouse), and Holiday Bowl opened in 1959.
Except for a smattering of small businesses along Plank Road, the current shopping district was vacant land. The major business district in 1958 was 11th and 12th Avenues in downtown Altoona.
The minimum wage was established at $1.00 per hour in July 1958.
In the fall of 1957, Sputnik was launched by Russia, and in 1958, America launched the Explorer. The U.S. Congress passed legislation making Alaska our 49th state, and Elvis joined the Army.
The U.S. involvement in Vietnam started as early as 1959. The Pennsylvania Railroad was permitted to discontinue unprofitable passenger lines, and there were rumors of closing the South Altoona shops (across from the Knickerbocker).
The Interstate 99 highway, interchanges and accompanying commercial development were not yet envisioned.
Blair County and our nation have experienced tremendous change since 1958, and while the county tax assessor’s office tried diligently to update assessments, the commercial tax appeals the commissioners have heard in recent years clearly indicate that it is time for reassessment.
It has been 56 years since the last one.
Lawrence D. Carter