Frederick will benefit Antis Twp.

When John Frederick assumes his new role as Antis Township recreation and environmental code director today, he will be bringing with him an opinion that concurs with foresight demonstrated by the Blair County Planning Commission a half-century ago.

Back then was when Altoona was beginning to evolve beyond its primary railroad-based economy, although the railroad still maintained its status as the chief economic engine.

An article in last Sunday’s Mirror announcing Frederick’s hiring by the township’s board of supervisors reported Frederick’s opinion that townships like Antis are transitioning from rural municipalities to municipalities that are more suburban-like.

Back in the 1960s and ’70s, when Blair planners were making decisions that would impact the future growth and development of the county — preparing a countywide comprehensive plan to show the way — those planning leaders recognized the benefits of opting for what at that time was labeled the “centers” concept.

That concept recognized future development and growth would move outward from population centers such as Altoona, Hollidaysburg, Bellwood and Tyrone, as well as others, and those “centers” would represent the foundation for future land-use, water, sewer, transportation and recreational decisions, going forward.

Once the Blair County Areawide Comprehensive Plan was completed and approved, the county planning agency was tasked with determining whether future proposals and plans were consistent with the comprehensive document. Planning office employees studied proposals that needed to come before the commission and then presented their recommendations to commission members for official action at a public meeting.

That kind of review process continues today.

Blair has fared well because the planning agency made the right decision about 50 years ago regarding what concept would work best for the county.

With Frederick coming aboard with his acknowledgment of how municipalities are changing — and must change — to keep in step with communities’ and people’s evolving needs, Antis Township probably will derive numerous benefits from his employment there.

However, it’s not about Frederick alone. Township officials are demonstrating a commendable realization that their municipality is not standing still — nor do they want it to stand still.

After the death of the township’s previous code enforcement officer, the township supervisors reflected on Antis’ future needs.

According to Robert Smith, chairman, the board of supervisors came to the conclusion that the township needed more than a code officer.

It subsequently was decided to create the recreation and environmental code director position, in hopes of attracting someone with knowledge about planning and grants, as well as about recreational-opportunities expansion.

Township leaders hope Frederick will be successful on all those fronts, since he already possesses an understanding about the county in general, as well as issues affecting its municipalities.

Effective April 11, he resigned his position as executive director of the Intermunicipality Relations Committee, which deals with recycling, to accept the Antis position.

Frederick also isn’t new to the township for another reason; he was involved with the township in a rails-to-trails project.

As with other Blair County townships, Antis has witnessed movement outward from its main population cores, consistent with what county planners anticipated about 50 years ago.

Despite comprehensive plan updates since the original was approved, “centers” remains the county’s workable concept, with no end in sight.


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