City Requests $ 24.4 Million Federal Grant for Downtown Improvements | New


The City of Johnstown plans to make one of its largest grant applications ever in the next round of funding to rebuild America’s infrastructure with sustainability and equity.

City council voted unanimously on Wednesday, minus one absent, to submit a proposal for $ 24,447,764 through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s program designed to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects.

Johnstown made a similar argument to the federal government in 2020 which was rejected.

This year’s application, which must be formally submitted by July 17, was created through the work of the city, Cambria County Planning Commission, Cambria County Transit Authority, Johnstown Area Heritage Association, of Vision Together 2025 and the Greater Johnstown Regional Partnership.

“This is definitely a community driven grant application,” said John Dubnansky, Director of Economic and Community Development for Johnstown.

Johnstown, a city that has been part of Pennsylvania’s Law 47 struggling municipalities program since 1992 and where one-third of citizens live in poverty, will seek a matching fund waiver.

“Normally an equivalent amount of funds would be required for this, but based on the city’s current demographics and other factors, we can request a waiver,” Dubnansky said.

The app, according to Vision Together 2025 President and CEO Mike Tedesco, will include approximately:

• $ 11.3 million for the rehabilitation of the Johnstown station;

• $ 880,000 for Johnstown Incline Plane Upgrades;

• $ 3.6 million for the modernization of the intermodal transportation center in downtown CamTran;

• $ 5.7 million for the beautification of downtown greenways;

• and $ 3 million for urban connectivity trails.

“There are a lot of creations of really great places here, and all of the projects are just wonderful,” Tedesco said.

The plans are part of a comprehensive Iron to Arts Corridor Project, which already has funding of $ 24,547,500 from state, local, philanthropic, federal and Amtrak. I2A is a project to connect Conemaugh Borough, Downtown, Prospect, Minersville and Cambria City with art, trails, transportation and beatification.

The goal would be to create a “symbiotic relationship” between natural elements and local businesses, according to Tedesco.

“Tying all of this together will create a very significant market driven opportunity for Johnstown – the small business, the tax base, the overall quality of life, because locals can use it too,” Tedesco said. “It’s a very meaningful way to put Johns-town on the map.”

JAHA’s century-old Johnstown Station on Walnut Street is the proposed hub, with visions of an improved stop for train users, a farmer’s market, bicycle rental and information center. It recently became the headquarters of the Association of Blacksmith Artists of North America.

Amtrak plans to make improvements to the Americans with Disabilities Act station.

The cost of the entire renovation project was estimated at a few million dollars. Now, however, it should be much more expensive than expected.

“It turns out it’s a very expensive project,” Burkert said. “We were able to get a quote. PennDOT provided our first truly detailed build estimate that shocked just about everyone – was $ 17 million. Far exceeded previous estimates.

Recipients of the competitive RAISE grants are expected to be announced this fall.

“This is one of the biggest grants the city can get,” said Mark Pasquerilla, president of the Greater Johnstown Regional Partnership. “We had a good bid last year, and I think this year’s bid is going to be very strong – God willing, a winner.”

In 2020, the federal government awarded 70 projects in 44 states when the program was known as Better Using Investments to Leverage Development.


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