Increased Economic Development for Altoona
Posted: May 3, 2013
Last week's approval by the Altoona City Council of a master development plan for the former Hillcrest Golf & Country Club has certainly put Altoona on the map for increased economic development for at least the next decade.
Last week's editorial about the abundance of lodging properties being proposed for the Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls market, overshadowed the fact that Altoon'a River Prairie Development has gotten off to a great start. Even though not everything proposed for River Prairie may come to fruition in the timeline suggested, there 's no question that Altoona's commercial property tax coffers will start offsetting the high percentage of residential property taxes that pay for that city's services.
I spoke with Altoona City Administrator Mike Golat briefly this week and congratulated him on all of the work that has been done thus far. Although he is optimistic and pleased with both River Prairie and Jim Rooney's plans for the former Hillcrest Golf & Country Club, he said there is still more work to do.
One of the things that city leaders in Altoona are doing to keep the projects coming is that they're willing to spend money to make money. With the infrastructure improvements in River Prairie and the eventual extension of Third Street over Otter Creek, Altoona's leadership realizes that the city can help sustain growth in a planned and prudent manner.
Jim Rooney noted this week that he has dedicated 65 acres of former golf course property to the City of Altoona for a new city park. It will be full of family-oriented amenities and demonstrates the developer's understanding of being a good steward of a gorgeous tract of land and the having a long-term goal of intelligent growth to be done in phases.
I remember 15 years ago when I added the City of Altoona to the list of communities where I picked up weekly building permits. Up until this year, I think there were only a few commercial building permits over that 15-year span. But I look forward to picking up a steady stream of permit applications over the next decade. Kudos to Altoona!