Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

The Northern Blair County Recreation Commission was organized by a group of local citizens with a goal of building a recreation center and adjacent facilities to provide recreational opportunities for the youth and citizens of Northern Blair County.
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 spring of 2001, the Northern Blair County Recreation Commission 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.
The location of the 15-acre NBCRC recreation center project site is along Old Route 220 just beyond DelGrosso’s Amusement Park.
Some of the amenities that the recreation center will include are a gymnasium, weight training area(s), walking track, multi-purpose rooms, locker areas, child’s playground, soccer field(s), baseball field, multi-purpose field, walking trails, pavilions and an outside basketball court.
Bruno DeGol Jr., Chairman of NBCRC Board of Directors, stated that the project was moving along, but were still waiting to complete permitting requirements and other time consuming dealings.
“We’re waiting and hoping to possibly be able to do some excavating at the project site late this year, provided all the permitting and such comes through,” said DeGol. “Other than that, we’re working on all of the things behind the scenes that you need to do to build a project like this.”
The NBCRC Board of Directors held a meeting two weeks ago to discuss the completion of a feasibility study for the project site and to make applications for other grant monies through some other state agencies.
DeGol added, “We are doing some more work to get a complete feasibility study done versus what we’ve done so far; a lot of it was done but there’s a lot of other information wanted. Keller Engineering in Hollidaysburg is completing all of that for us.”
“Certainly, we’re excited about the project,” said DeGol. “It’s been nearly three years since we started this thing from just a dream, and to raise the amount of money we have so far, we hope to break ground if not this year, spring of next year. We have very high hopes of building at the site this year.”
The true strength of a project such as this is the support of the communities involved. There are many ways in which the local community can assist in making this most valuable project a great success.
From offering in-kind services, to fund-raising, to assisting in contacting potential donors, to making a personal, family or business contribution, each effort takes the project a step closer to completion.
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.
The NBCRC Board of Directors include: Bruno DeGol, Jr., Kevin Latchford, John Ramsey, Terry Holdren, Betty Jacobus, Ray Amato, and Charlie Caracciolo, Jr.
DeGol noted, “We’re all working hard, but right now we’re sitting here with our hands tied waiting to get all the paperwork and permitting done, and so on. We have a very good group that we’re working with, there’s seven on our Board, but we’ve gotten a lot of things done in a short period of time and we feel the location is just a perfect location.”
“DCNR (The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) was in here a couple weeks ago and looked at the location with engineers from Keller’s, and they were very excited,” said DeGol. “They thought it was a great location with the wetlands in the back and the Little Juniata River, and everything we planned on doing.”
DeGol said that by next year they will have a building put on the property, if they don’t get the permitting completed where they can start excavation this year or even through the winter depending on what type of weather.
“If we have a winter like last year, we’ll be able to work straight through,” said DeGol. “It’s going to depend on when the permit and other issues our finalized.”
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.

By Rick