Southern Alleghenies, PA

Regional Comprehensive Plan

Southern Alleghenies, PA

Regional Comprehensive Plan

czb came to the Southern Alleghenies region of Pennsylvania in 2016 as officials were grappling with the effects of decades of outmigration by younger generations. Hampering their efforts to grow the area’s overall health and long-term competitiveness was a sharply varied capacity on the part of six counties and more than 230 local jurisdictions to make the investments needed to attract households and businesses.

Determined to “plan regionally and implement locally,” officials in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset counties came together to work on a joint comprehensive planning and implementation effort—the largest such effort in the commonwealth—to pave the way for collaboration and action in a region where many opportunities and challenges are shared.

Our plan for the Southern Alleghenies won the 2018 Best Comprehensive Plan Award from the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Planning Association. Read news coverage here.

  Team Members: Peter Lombardi, Charles Buki, Karen Beck Pooley, Matt Ingalls

  Services: Demographic and Economic Analysis, Market Analysis, Facilitation, Steering Committee Guidance, Private Sector Engagement

“How can our region create the conditions that attract and retain skilled workers and businesses?”

Region's Median Age


of homeowners are 65+


decline in labor force since 2000

deaths in excess of births, 2010-2016

Abandoned Housing Units


Community involvement.

czb’s work for the Southern Alleghenies was shaped by contributions from individuals throughout region, including 75 residents who served on six county-level steering committees and engaged more than 400 of their friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members in discussion. The steering committee’s work was supplemented by an online survey that gathered more than 1,100 complete responses, a week of open house events throughout the region, and small stakeholder meetings.

Identifying core values.

One of the region’s greatest challenges is that its communities are shaped by the decisions of hundreds of different boards, commissions, and committees. We identified a set of core values and principles shared by citizens of all six counties. These core values provide a rubric by which issues can be evaluated and decision-making can be coordinated to have a positive, cumulative effect.

czb’s plan for the Southern Alleghenies won the 2018 Best Comprehensive Plan Award from the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Planning Association.

“This is an honor bestowed upon everyone who has had a part in developing this plan. The plan publicly recognizes that we must make some course changes and be more proactive in capitalizing on the assets the region has to offer, both now and in the future.” David McFarland | Blair County Director of Planning

Alleghenies Ahead

czb’s Comprehensive Plan for the Southern Alleghenies Region was released in June 2018 and unanimously adopted by commissioners in all six counties. Alleghenies Ahead identifies current conditions, trends, and critical issues; sets specific, actionable priorities; and outlines plans for implementation. 

Most importantly, Alleghenies Ahead provides a framework for action alignment, decision making, and prioritization across the region. As conditions change over time, this framework will ensure that institutions and government entities throughout the six-county region continue to work collaboratively to make communities stronger and more competitive.


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