The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 22, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-22 | Alternative to redevelopment authority

JOHNSTOWN — The Tribune-Democrat’s website had been running a readers’ poll titled: “What should be the main focus of the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority?”

“It should be disbanded” was the top answer, with 821 respondents (42 percent) voting for such action. The runner-up answer was, “Find businesses to locate in the city,” with 592 votes (30 percent).

Others have questioned if the authority might be disbanded.

On Jan. 10, 2012, Monroeville did just that. It passed Ordinance 2539: “Hereby dissolving the Redevelopment Authority of Monroeville.” Monroeville, like Johnstown, was originally created by the same statutes and provisions of the Urban Redevelopment Law.

A Monroeville councilwoman was quoted in the meeting minutes that, “for the past three months she has inquired by attending the RDA meeting while waiting to hear ... forthcoming projects.”

Sound familiar, with the exception of the waiting time? She should be so lucky at three months, compared to Johnstown council’s waiting.

The councilwoman further stated that Monroeville has alternatives. So does Johnstown. The Cambria County Redevelopment Authority has, and continues to work on certain city projects.

Why not ask the county commissioners to assume redevelopment functions in the city the same as it provides to other municipalities in the county. One need not look any further that the city’s recovery plans dating back to the original plan that cited the need to explore and enter into “intergovernmental cooperation agreements.”

One less authority in the city, especially one that has been slow or nonresponsive, might prove to be Johnstown’s alternative.

Jack Williams

former city councilman

Getting Johnstown moving forward

I have a vision about consolidation in the Greater Johnstown area.

Here are some benefits of consolidation:

-- Large companies like to locate their businesses and plants in larger communities.

-- Better utilization of police services.

-- Improved highway maintenance – manpower and equipment could be used more efficiently. Obsolete equipment could be sold.

-- Larger community block grants for larger communities.

The communities to be consolidated are as follows:

-- Brownstown, Southmont and Westmont boroughs with Upper Yoder township to form the City of Westmont.

-- Adams and Richland townships with Geistown, Lorain and Scalp Level boroughs into the City of Richland.

-- East Taylor, Middle Taylor and West Taylor townships into Taylor City Borough.

-- Ogle and Paint townships with Paint and Windber boroughs into the City of Windber.

Remember, consolidation is not a dirty word. I believe that the Greater Johnstown area’s best days are yet to come.

The purpose of this letter is to get Greater Johnstown off top dead center and moving forward.

Paul C. Rinker


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More police on the streets.

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