Recreational land and outstanding outdoor amenities are becoming increasingly important for a growing number of Americans. Towns that are within driving distance of major metro areas have an opportunity to attract day tourists who can turn into second home buyers and eventually into full-time residents. I was in such an area last week when I was doing a talk in Altoona, PA (population 49,523).
Altoona was a major railroad town on the east side of the famous Horseshoe Curve, built to traverse one of the more difficult Allegheny Mountain passes of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Opened in 1854, Altoona quickly grew into a major railroad and industrial town.
Today Altoona is reinventing itself as a high tech, job creating engine. Its wonderful setting in the midst of the Allegheny Mountains and close proximity of less than a four hour drive to Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Cleveland and New York, afford wonderful assets for Altoona.
Another quality of life attribute is the Blair County Ballpark, built in 1999, which is home field for the Altoona Curve, a Class AA farm team of the Pittsburg Pirates. The Curve regularly draw 6,000 to 10,000 fans. I had a great time at the game I attended against the Bowie Baysox, an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.