Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. officials said they had another successful year in 2010, and with a Clearfield County native taking over as secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the future looks even brighter.
In 2010, ABCD closed and funded more than 35 loans with a total project cost of nearly $30 million. The projects resulted in the creation or retention of more than 700 jobs, board Chairman Joe Sheetz said Friday at the agency's annual breakfast meeting at the Blair County Convention Center.
In the last 10 years, ABCD has been involved with 450 projects resulting in the creation or retention of 13,445 jobs.
DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker, the former president and CEO of Bradford Energy Co. Inc., was the guest speaker at the annual meeting.
"I am all about western Pennsylvania. I know the leaders of Altoona very well, and I love this community. I have been a lifelong fan of Altoona and the way you have been able to revitalize the area," Walker said. "I am looking forward to bringing economic development and new jobs to the area."
Walker also said the Marcellus Shale drilling provides a tremendous opportunity for Pennsylvania.
"Marcellus Shale is one of eight gas streams in Pennsylvania. We have easily 100-plus years of gas reserves below the state of Pennsylvania. We are about to become the energy hub of the Northeast," Walker said. "We want to capture as many jobs as possible."
ABCD officials are excited about working with Walker and his new administrative team.
"We will continue as an organization to be aggressive to assist our business base and to promote business opportunities in Blair County and along the I-99 corridor," ABCD President and CEO Martin J. Marasco said.
"Altoona, you are on the right track and the best is yet to come," Walker said.