Northern Blair County Recreation Center to break ground on Nov. 10

A dream that started a few years ago is beginning to turn into a reality – and things are happening fast.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Northern Blair Recreation Center is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the site, located adjacent to DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Antis Township. It will be there that the seven member NBCRC Board of Directors and Sen. Robert Jubelirer and state Rep. Larry Sather will stick their shovels in the ground, officially breaking ground for the multi-million dollar project.
“Without Jubelirer and Sather’s help with this project, it would have never happened,” said Ray Amato, a member of the NBCRC board. “This is the best thing that has happened to Blair County in a long time and everyone involved is proud to be a part of that.”
The project has come a long way since plans were approved by the Antis Township Board of Supervisors a few months ago.
“Dirt has been moved and the stakes marking where the buildings have been put in,” said Amato. “We’re getting the sewer taps ready and lining off the fields…we’re planning on seeding this fall. We’re really moving forward and are excited to break ground next week.”
Amato did say that building construction should begin next spring.
The committee of seven working on the project, known as the Northern Blair County Recreation Commission, has been dedicated. This group of local citizens is a non-profit corporation with a goal of building a recreation center and adjacent facilities to provide recreational opportunities for the youth and citizens of Northern Blair County.
Since its inception, the group has garnered support from multiple local municipalities, state and local government agencies, local state senators (Jubelirer) and representatives (Sather) and the local communities.
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 sold a 15-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Little Juniata River.
Inside the facility, 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.
“We’re also working with S & A Homes to build a bridge from their side to where the parking area is,” said Amato.
Amato also said the group is working with the state in hopes of creating a walking trail around the area that will run along the Little Juniata River in hopes of beginning an education program. He said he hopes Penn State University will join in this effort.
“We’re really doing good things here in Blair County and this recreation center is one of them,” said Amato. “It’s in a good, centralized location for the kids of northern Blair County. Everyone is excited…and they should be.”