The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 20, 2013

Redevelopment authority leader reaching out to others

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown Redevelopment Authority’s new leader is ready to reach out and coordinate economic development and renewal work with the full spectrum of organizations and agencies in the region.

Acting director Frank D’Ettorre has put together an outline for development of a strategic plan for the organization.

He presented the document to authority members at last week’s meeting and asked for a workshop to formalize the plan before talking to the community.

“What I want to do is sit down with these other groups so we are not duplicating,” D’Ettorre said after the meeting. “We all need to be on the same page.”

The first place D’Ettorre wants to take the outline is to a group of business leaders who approached Johnstown City Council in February with an offer to help the Redevelopment Authority improve the city. The three CEOs, Bill Polacek (JWF Industries), Edward Sheehan (Concurrent Technologies Corp.) and Glenn Wilson (AmeriServ Financial), said they would like to see a more defined plan for bringing economic development to Johnstown.

The February 27 council meeting came two days after the authority fired its longtime executive director, Ronald Repak, and a week before D’Ettorre and authority Solicitor William G. Barbin faced City Council members in a long-awaited discussion of sewer billing changes and authority operations.

Repak was axed for reportedly accepting more than $130,000 in outside consulting fees in violation of his contract.

D’Ettorre says he’s ready for the authority to move ahead. The outline presented to authority members last week starts with suggestions for  “community stakeholders’ roundtable meetings” with city staff, community and business leaders, other development agencies, education leaders, and neighborhood and civic groups.

The goal, he says, is to improve effective use of resources by identifying areas of duplication and additional areas of need.

D’Ettorre’s outline goes on to suggest a thorough review of all authority-owned property to identify which provide opportunities for development. The other property should be sold and returned to the tax rolls, he wrote.

The outline identifies dozens of potential properties, including virtually every city neighborhood.

It wraps up with sections on authority-owned Johnstown Regional Sewage and flood protection projects.

“These are all things we work on,” D’Ettorre said after the meeting. “This is just a planning document so we can sit down and talk as a board.”

A more formalized document may be ready for another workshop meeting with council to be scheduled before June 30.

At the March 6 meeting with D’Ettorre and Barbin, council members said they were disappointed that the authority board was not represented. Board member Brian Vuletich was the only one in attendance, and he did not participate. At that meeting, council asked the authority to meet every quarter to update the city on its operations.

Asked if any board members would participate in the next quarterly meeting, authority member M. John Mavrodis said, “I wouldn’t have any problem with that.”

Msgr. Raymond Balta, board chairman, said it would depend on when the meeting is scheduled.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads