The addition of a Marcellus shale-related business in Blair County highlighted a good 2011 for the Altoona-Blair County Development Corp., officials said Friday.
"We've had better numbers, but it was positive with a number of substantial projects and the addition and retention of a number of jobs in the community," ABCD President and CEO Martin J. Marasco said. "There are many initiatives that we have under way and will become final in the near future. 2011 was positive and very refreshing."
The key project was attracting Gardner Denver to the I-99 Enterprise Campus in Tipton. An open house was held Thursday at Gardner Denver, which manufactures pumps for Marcellus Shale drilling.
Last year also saw the completion of three significant projects in downtown Altoona: the Sheetz Center For Entrepreneurial Excellence, Altoona Lung Specialists and Station Medical Center, ABCD board Chairman Steve Foreman said during the agency's annual breakfast meeting at the Blair County Convention Center.
"In 2011, we closed and funded more than 20 loans with a total project cost in excess of $37 million and those projects resulted in more than 250 jobs created or retained. It is all about creating jobs and attracting companies like Gardner Denver," Foreman said. "We look for continued success throughout 2012 and beyond."
Guest speaker Robert T. Sweet, managing director and vice president of Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, a wholly owned subsidiary of M&T Bank, said there are challenges facing the economy of Altoona and central Pennsylvania.
"You have the people and the location with Interstate 99. Don't dismiss tourism and historic sites as a positive economic engine. You have the curves, the Horseshoe Curve and Altoona Curve," Sweet said. "With Gardner Denver, you've get Marcellus - that is a positive. This is a growth area. We need it."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.