The Altoona-Blair County Development Corp.'s newest industrial park will carry the name of the organization's chief executive officer.
In a surprise announcement Friday morning, the corporation's executive board presented a framed photo rendering of a brick sign marking the entrance of the Martin J. Marasco Business Park. Arrangements were also made for 32 members of Marasco's family to step inside the ballroom at the Blair County Convention Center, just before the announcement.
"I'm supposed to be the guy who knows everything that goes on," Marasco said from the podium, his head turned toward his family members, including preschoolers, who were lining up against the wall.
After regaining composure, Marasco's attention turned toward the audience.
"This is really an honor," he said.
ABCD board Chairman Steve Foreman said Marasco has put a lot of effort during the last seven years into what is becoming the county's eighth business park. The $7 million development, near Sproul in Greenfield Township, is being built across from the Walter Business Park. It will offer 85 to 90 acres for new or expanding businesses that could provide 150 to 200 jobs.
"There were a lot of challenges, a lot of permits to secure and Marty did an outstanding job," Foreman said. "He was persistent, and he succeeded. I'm not sure many development leaders could have pulled it off."
ABCD Executive Vice President Pat Miller said the organization's executive committee came up with the idea of naming the business park after Marasco.
"Steve Foreman was the spearhead, but he had the full support of the board," Miller said.
The announcement concluded the organization's annual meeting where ABCD recognized several individuals and presented the Alexander A. Notopoulos Award to Albemarle Corp. of Tyrone, a developer, manufacturer and marketer of complex chemicals.
The Notopoulos Award was created as a tribute to the attorney who provided years of service to Altoona Enterprises, the forerunner of ABCD. The award is presented annually to a business that has a substantial history in Blair County, has expanded its facilities, has increased employment, provides family sustainable income and demonstrates a sense of community.
Albemarle Plant Manager Randy Andrews accepted the award on behalf of the company that employs 180 and initiated a $30 million expansion in 2013.
ABCD also recognized Foreman of M&T Bank with the Richard L. McMaster Award and honored for his service as board chairman.
He is retiring from that role and will be succeeded by Dan Hoover. ABCD also recognized PennDOT District 9 with an Economic Development Award and Lanny Ross, Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center Director, who is stepping down from the ABCD board.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.