The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 9, 2013

Borough, university break ground on park

LORETTO — Little did Irish settler Michael McGuire know when he came to the Allegheny Mountains and started a settlement in what is now Loretto well over 200 years ago that his name would one day be immortalized with a park designed to enrich lives.

Ground was broken Thursday for the Captain Michael McGuire Memorial Park, an initiative between Loretto Borough and St. Francis University.

In the planning stages for a number of years, the park is being developed on a five-acre tract located near the community ballfields in Allegheny Township, said Father Gabriel Zeis, St. Francis president.

“It’s going to be a significant size and it’s going to be very nice,” he said. “At some point we hope for a connection to the Ghost Town Trail.”

The university owns the land, which is located at the border between Loretto and Allegheny Township, Loretto Borough Council President Wayne Harrington said.

“We asked Allegheny Township and they said they have no problem with the borough leasing the land,” Harrington said of the deal hammered out between the university and the borough.

While in the planning stages for some time, funding, which was slow coming in, got a boost with the recent announcement of a $174,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The remainder of the anticipated $300,000 project has come from a number of sources, including the McGuire family, St. Francis student government association, the Allegheny Ridge Corp., a number of businesses and an anonymous donor, school officials said.

The goal is make the park much more than play equipment and barbecue grills, Zeis said.

While play equipment and grills are planned, the park will also be a multiuse community facility that will promote health and fitness while celebrating the historical and cultural heritage of the area, he said.

Designed by the university and involving a number of groups, the park includes a long-range plan for a wetlands conservation project.

Part of the land is in wetlands, and the designers hope one day to build boardwalks stretching out over the area that cannot be developed, Zeis said.

Also planned are bird blinds and walking trails with hopes that schoolchildren from throughout the region will be brought to the park, he said.

Stations explaining local habitat and the history of the Loretto area also will be installed.

McGuire is believed to be the first white settler in this part of Cambria County. A Revolutionary War captain, McGuire established the McGuire Settlement, which the Russian Prince Demetrius Gallitzin later developed into Loretto.

Work on what is hoped will be the first phase of McGuire Park will be completed by late summer 2014.

“Our hope is that it will be something the community will use,” Zeis said. “We think it will enhance the relationship between the community and the university.”

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

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

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • 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


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

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads