A crowd of 120 business and community leaders filled Altoona's new River Prarie Center on Friday, April 20, to hear about the city's remarkable growth, improving qualify of live, and ongoing challenges.
Just elected to his second term, Mayor Brendan Pratt kicked off the meeting talking about the challenge of having sufficient affordable housing, which he called "a critical need" if the city is going to have continued success in bringing in new people. With few homes on the market at the lower end of the price scale, he said he plans to take action, including proposing an affordable housing initiative within the next few weeks.
On a bright, sunny morning, with the glass walls of the River Prarie Center highlighting its location in that outdoors-oriented setting, City Administrator Mike Golat brought participants up to date on the city's continued growth and business development. He centered his remarks around the "Power of 10," drawn from principles of placemaking that Altoona has used as an active and deliberate part of its economic development efforts.
"Reasonable application of regulations" was the first of 11 principles he credited for part of Altoona's record of over-10% growth for three years in a row. He noted that government's attitude can either be, "why we can't do this," or "how can we get something done" while still maintaining the necessity of sound regulations. He said Altoona's attitude is the latter, since, with developers, "there's something else they could be doing with their time and resources."
Among new businesses opening in Altoona this year are 44 North Gastropub, Cabin Coffee, Crossfit River Prairie, Physician's Weight Loss, Oral Surgery Associates, and others. The other key principles highlighted by Golat included:
- Focusing on our natural assets
- Collaborating with our neighbors
- Planning for the future
- Investing in infrastructure
- Keeping our community safe
- Providing excellent schools
- Keeping our financial house in order
- Engaging our citizens
- Fostering an industrious and fulfilled workforce
- Promoting and investing in quality of life
Altoona is promoting it's first P10 Festival [rescheduled to June 16], and Golat told attendees they can look forward to a new series of music-focused outdoor events on Wednesday evenings during the summer.
Friday was also timely because the City of Altoona was awarded the Chamber's Community Development Award at the Chamber Annual Meeting the previous Tuesday, April 17.
Thanks to our sponsors: The Eggs & Issues Series is a Chamber Business Advocacy event. Advocate level sponsors are Xcel Energy and Miron Construction; Supporter level sponsors are Banbury Place and Eau Claire Energy Cooperative.
See more at...
Youtube video of the Eggs & Issues presentation
Mayor: Altoona needs more homes (Leader Telegram)
Rapid growth: That’s what continues to happen in Altoona’s River Prairie (Leader Telegram)
Posted by Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs and Workforce Director, April 23, 2018