Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

What started as informal meetings in the basement of a home years ago got a big boost yesterday when officials broke ground at the future site of the Northern Blair Recreation Center.
The story began years ago after a pick-up game of basketball. NBRC President and businessman in the area Bruno DeGol thought it would be great to see a recreation facility in northern Blair County.
The informal “basement” meetings at DeGol’s home soon turned into a small working committee dedicated to establishing such a facility in the area. With the help of state Senator Robert Jubelirer and Representative Larry Sather, more than $500,000 in state grant money became available and the project got underway.
Yesterday, those committee members, Sen. Jubelirer and Rep. Sather, and dozens of others from the northern Blair community gathered to break ground at the 50-acre site in Antis Township.
“It has been some time in the making, but this project has the look and feel of something outstanding,” said Jubelirer. “This will support a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities. Whether someone is looking for exercise or relaxation, for competition or instruction, this complex will have something to offer.
“This will be good for healthier kids and healthier adults,” he continued, “and it will make a substantial contribution to the quality of life in this part of the country.
“This is a great way to help build a bright future.”
And, of course, the long-awaited “dream” – as the project was referred to numerous times – wouldn’t have been made possible without the state money secured by Jubelirer and Sather.
“This project really says a lot about the group putting it together,” said Sather. “This group has persevered through every obstacle in their way. My hats off to them”
In addition to Jubelirer and Sather’s comments, keynote speakers Jerry Stern, state representative; Ray Amato, Antis Township Supervisor and NBCRC director; and emcee Kevin Latchford, vice-president of NBCRC, offered the audience comments.
In the spring of 2001, the NBCRC received a $500,000 grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.
In addition, the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD) has agreed to sell a 15-acre parcel adjacent to the Little Juniata River to NBCRC.
Later, the Township of Antis donated even more land to the project, giving it a total area of about 50 acres. It is located along Old Route 220 just beyond DelGrosso’s Amusement Park.
The main part of the center will be a 100-by-160 foot, year-round indoor recreation center.
Inside, there will be locker rooms for both men and women, a large weight room, a basketball court a kitchen, a multi-purpose room, a game room, and plenty of office space.
The outside of the facility will hold a number of recreational areas, including two soccer fields, a youth center, a basketball court, a baseball field, pavilions, plenty of bleacher space and close to 200 parking spaces.
There is also a 70-by-100 foot area reserved for future expansion.
“This truly would not be here without the rest of this commission,” said DeGol. “It’s mainly for the children, but we’re also hoping that it helps recruit more business in the area.”
The Northern Blair County Recreation Commission strongly invites and encourages the communities support. Anyone is asked to feel free to contact any Board member at his or her convenience.
If anyone wishes to make a financial contribution to the Capital Campaign for the Northern Blair County Recreation Commission, they can write a check payable to the NBCRC and remit it to Mr. Bruno DeGol, Jr., 3229 Pleasant Valley Blvd, Altoona, PA 16602.
Contributions can be made ‘in memory’ of someone or something if desired. The NBCRC asks anyone willing to pledge their support.
The NBCRC is a non-profit (501c3) corporation and since its inception, the group had garnered support from multiple local municipalities, state and local government agencies, local state senators and representatives, along with the local communities.
In the photo on page 1, from left are state Rep. Jerry Stern; state Sen. Robert Jubelirer; Bruno DeGol Jr, NBCRC president; state Rep. Larry Sather; Antis Township Chairman Supervisor and NBCRC member Ray Amato; Kevin Latchford, NBCRC vice-president; Charlie Caracciolo, NBCRC director; John Ramsey, NBCRC treasurer; and Terry Holdren, NBCRC secretary.

By Rick