Over 130 business and community leaders attend Chamber breakfast
2018 has been a year of growth for Altoona, and nothing is expected to slow down in years to come. New housing, events and businesses have been added to the city, but Altoona has still kept that tight knit community feel. City Administer Mike Golat and Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt spoke at this month’s Eggs & Issues on April 26 at River Prairie Center to talk about Altoona’s progress and future.
In 2018, more housing was added, and so were more community events and businesses. Summer is now full of popular activities all around Altoona, such as Rock’n on the River, Cinder City Days, Yoga in the Park, River Prairie Festival and so much more. New businesses have opened, such as Za 51 and Crossfit River Prairie, and more are soon to come, like Prevea and the Nostalgic Bean.
The community has taken notice, especially the younger generations. As Golat said, “What you want your city to be and become is learned at a young age, and we have it.” Thanks to a listening session put on by Mayor Pratt with children in Altoona, an inside look was given into what the kids saw and wanted to see in the city. All of the children, from elementary school to high school, recognized the sense of community that Altoona has and emphasized the importance of that. The children know there are always fun things to do, from parks to hiking to coffee shops to events, they recognized how lucky the city is to have such ample ways to spend time. Overall, the children are excited to see Altoona grow, and are appreciative of what it already is. (See link below to view the video of Mayor Pratt's listening sessions with children.)
It was also a morning full of “thank yous” to city employees, local legislators and community partners. One of the greatest accomplishments of 2018 was the 1511 Devney Affordable Housing Project, which will bring 24 affordable homes into Altoona upon completion. Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope (JONAH) was given recognition for their contributions to this project.
Awards granted throughout 2018 were recognized, such as the 2019 Magna Award for equity programs given to the Altoona School District and the 2019 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Teach Fellow given to Altoona teacher, Scott Thiel.
"Extra Mile Community Partnership Award" to Molly and Cody Filipczak
Awards were also given out by the City of Altoona to extraordinary citizens. The "Extra Mile Community Partnership Award" was presented to Cody and Molly Filipczak, the owners of C&M Home Builders, for their work in creating beautiful homes and neighborhoods in the area. What truly makes them stand out is their “pay-it-forward” attitude and willingness to give back, such as donating time and money to the Devney Project.
The "Altoona’s Got Heart Award" went to Shannon Camlek, an Altoona teacher who was diagnosed with leukemia last year. The city rallied up around her during this time and went above and beyond to help Camlek and her family. This past year, there were two blood drives, numerous fundraisers and even an official “Be Positive Day” in the Altoona School District on May 15 in her honor. Her positive energy was felt through all of these events, and she is someone who is able to bring out the best in people, which is exactly what happened during this hard time.
Overall, Altoona has come a long way, and there is no sign of stopping.
State of the City - Year in Review video (YouTube)
"Students of the City" video with Mayor Pratt (YouTube)
Altoona asks children for thoughts on life in the city (Leader-Telegram)
Posted by Emma Koehn, Legislative Intern