JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – An initiative started in 2007 with a few dozen volunteers and a goal to brighten up downtown Johnstown’s Central Park was in full bloom on Sunday.
Nearly 100 volunteers teamed up to help with Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership’s annual “Beautification Day,” sprucing up the city’s business district from Main Street to Iron Street.
“This is our 15th year, and that’s kind of a hurrah for us because thanks to all of these local volunteers, we’re able to clean up the entire downtown now,” said Mark Lazzari, the partnership’s clean-up committee chairman.
Nearby, City of Johnstown Public Works staff were partnering with volunteer teams to spread truckloads of dark mulch around landscaped areas of Central Park. Trays full of flowers from Stuver’s Riverside Nursery were planted alongside the park’s gazebo, while Dave Jurcic, co-founder of L&D Academy Multicultural School of Beauty and Barber Science, walked past with a leafblower.
Johnstown resident Byron Bruce Ferrier took notice of a brick planter box in front of 416 Main St. after it was brightened up by Melissa Radovanic, Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership president; Jayne Korenoski, Visit Johnstown advertising director; and Melissa Komar, Johnstown Redevelopment Authority director.
“It’s beautiful,” Ferrier said. “It really catches your eye as you walk past … and whether you realize it or not, it’s uplifting.”
One key goal of the day was to have the downtown looking its best for the start of the local festival season, when thousands of people visit or return to Johnstown to spend time or visit family, Lazzari said.
State Theater of Johnstown Executive Director Eric Reighard noted that the rows of colorful flowers and clean sidewalks yield other rewards, too.
“When it comes to a downtown Main Street, appearance is everything. It causes people to slow down and look around. Maybe they stop and have lunch, grab a coffee or catch a movie,” he said while finishing up work on a planter box outside the theater with his 8-year-old daughter, Avalee.
“The fact the Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership puts this together every year is huge,” he added.
Volunteer teams also included crews from 1st Summit Bank, CamTran, Wessel & Co. and Vision Together 2025’s greenways capture team, as well as The EADS Group, Beginnings Inc. and Puchko Financial. Members of Crown American Associates, the Cambria Regional Chamber and the McGeehan family also volunteered time.
Lazzari said a Pennsylvania Highlands Community College team planned to return to add new flowers to downtown’s cement planters on Monday.