The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 2, 2013

Park facelift planned: Somerset group reveals designs for Main Street tract

SOMERSET — After the ashes settled from a fire that gutted a borough church in 1965, a small borough park was planted in its place.

It’s tucked in the rear of a rectangular tract on West Main Street. It’s green and grassy – and too often, empty, Somerset leaders say.

But the park’s new owner, Somerset Inc., has an ambitious plan to change that. The group on Tuesday unveiled designs that add a stage for concerts, a screen for summertime movies and outdoor cafe-style seating for lunchtime dining.

“You could add a major new venue in town, whether it’s for Fire & Ice, a band in the park or other events,” Stromberg/ Garrigan & Associates landscape architect Sean Garrigan said during a park concept gathering at Somerset Trust Co. “The idea is to open up the park, make it more vibrant and inviting.”

Current designs show a small water jet fountain at the front of the park, where an entrance was landscaped with flower gardens to extend it toward West Main Street.

Rain gardens would be added for aesthetics while soaking up rainfall. At one side of the park, an elevated brick patio would be added where tables could be placed for diners to bring lunches from nearby restaurants, Garrigan added.

A small stage was depicted on the other side of the park with a painted mural behind it showing the reflection of the former Trinity Lutheran Church, which was lost in the fire. Decorative poles were shown lighting a path to Patriot Street behind the park.

Such changes would revamp the park, Somerset Inc. board member Michael Friedhofer said. The group and previous owners have tried many times to bring new life to it – a Main Street Music Series was held there for years – but it was tough to pull off and the event fizzled out five years ago, members said.

“It meant running electrical wires into the property; adding seating,” he said. “It just isn’t suitable.”

But it could be, said Alice Ireland, whose restaurant, Crazy Alice’s, sits just a few doors down.

“Movies in the park? What a great way to lure people Uptown,” she said, calling the park “a gem” in the rough.

But polishing that gem won’t be cheap – or an overnight task, Garrigan said.

A fundraising campaign is needed and would go a long way toward efforts to get state funding matches for Department of Conservation and Natural Resources aid to make the project happen, he added.

He envisions the park developing in stages, initially focusing on the park entrance, infrastructure and other groundwork.

Somerset Inc. will initially seek a minimum of $20,000 in state aid, Garrigan said. The project will require local matching funds.

“It’s going to take time,” he said.

If all goes well, the first phase construction could be under way in 2014.

Additions such as the stage would be added in the years that followed.

Somerset Inc. members said they hope to put a sign detailing plans on the park site, and perhaps inside local businesses, to drum up support.

“If people see it, I think they’ll get on board,” Ireland said. “It’s a great idea.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 16, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads