Blair Planning is the umbrella framework under which function the Blair County Planning Commission and the Altoona Metropolitan Planning Organization. Blair Planning is uniquely structured. It is a joint county-municipal organization formed and supported by the county and its 24½ municipalities.
In early 2020, Blair Planning undertook a study to reconsider its structure. Over time, many original organizing documents have been lost, and the organization is not confident its structure meets current legal statutes. Also, the organization desires to establish a structure and funding formula that will be most effective to accomplish its mission.
Along with restructuring, Blair Planning sought to optimize staff capacity, board and staff roles and relationships, the organization’s relationships with the county, municipalities, and the public, and the ability to maintain focus on priority work activities.
Denny Puko, Planning Consultant, facilitated a strategic plan process to address the above matters and produced the plan document shown on this page. The core work of the strategic plan occured via “team” work sessions with Blair Planning’s board, municipal, and staff leadership. The consultant facilitated work sessions to be interactive, open-minded, and creative. Work sessions generated ideas for the matters in question and sought a consensus on outcomes.
In addressing the above matters, the strategic plan started by revisiting Blair Planning’s mission and values. Questions were asked about what structure the organization should have or how much staff should there be are driven by what the organization aims to accomplish and what value it aims to deliver to its clients.
Implementation began immediately. Blair Planning developed a job description and announcement at the end of 2020, and hired a new Strategic Planner at the beginning of 2021. The Strategic Planner's prime responsibility is grant management. This includes identifying funding opportunities, making application for appropriate projects, and administering any monies we are awarded. The services of the Strategic Planner are available to any of the municipalities in Blair County as well as organizations undertaking implementation activities of our planning program.
Concurrently, staff began working toward implementing a countywide floodplain manager. We have identified contacts and are modelling the experiences of others to the needs of Blair County. This overlaps with an action item in the hazard mitigation plan and will be coordinated with hazard mitigation efforts.
Additional items are underway as we continue to re-form the organization to meet the current needs of the people, businesses, and municipalities of the Blair County.