It’s a gorgeous, sunny day in Downtown Johnstown. You decide to move your legs a bit and soak in the warmth from the sunshine, so you head over to the Johnstown Greenway Trail. As you’re walking along the trail, you notice freshly planted shrubs and new trees adding shade. The pebble trail also looks new, and a couple are sitting on a bench that wasn’t there the last time you enjoyed this trail.
The whole area looks refreshed and you’re wondering who took the time to do all of this. Someone took pride in the area around them, and now, you’re feeling like you want to do the same thing. Whom should you contact?
Reach out to Vision Together 2025’s Greenspace Capture Team to work on projects like the Johnstown Greenway Trail.
During one of the community whiteboarding sessions held by Vision Together 2025 in 2015, a need to create a greener city was identified. With this goal in mind, three volunteer teams were created – Bikes and Trails, Community Gardens and Greenspace.
Did you miss the feature about the Bikes and Trails Capture Team? Check out Mike Cook’s article in the May edition.
The Community Gardens Capture Team will have an article running in the July edition, so by the middle of the summer, you’ll be all caught up on our three outdoor-oriented teams. With the warmer weather and brighter days, the next couple of months are the perfect time to get involved.
With the picture of a greener city in mind, the Greenspace Capture Team set out with a lofty goal of creating more environmentally friendly spaces throughout the city. This Capture Team was one of the first ones formed under the Vision Together umbrella. This team has set a fantastic example for those to follow as the organization continues to grow.
The team has two overarching goals: preserve current green spaces throughout the city and plan for future spaces. To achieve this, the team has partnered with several organizations to create and maintain green space in the city. In addition, the team is working to map current green spaces, which will help identify locations for future efforts.
The impact of their projects helps to beautify Johnstown, improves the area for residents and visitors and helps make the city a more attractive place for businesses.
“I joined the Greenspace capture team as a way to get involved in the community,” Bill Blackburn, Greenspace Capture Team member, says. “I’m not originally from the Johnstown area and as I’ve lived here, I’ve become more fascinated with all the history and the architecture of the area. There is great potential here and I wanted to do my part to help.”
Linda Messer was the first team leader, who led the team until 2018. She helped mold the foundation of the Capture Team and gathered numerous volunteers, many of which are still participating with the team today. Gary Weible then took over as team lead and has done an unbelievable job since then.
He got started with the team because he saw it as an opportunity to give back to the community by doing something he enjoys.
“Leading this Capture Team has been a great experience,” Weible says. “Every project gives us the opportunity to leave a positive impact in the Johnstown community. Cleaning up the current green spaces as well as adding new ones will help make the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods look welcoming to current residents as well as visitors. When you join our Capture Team, it is a great opportunity to volunteer in the community, spend some time outdoors and feel a sense of pride and ownership as you help clean up some of the green spaces.”
Because of Capture Team members, like Weible, our region is constantly experiencing new growth and opportunities in outdoor green spaces and community involvement.
As the summer months quickly approach, the team will continue to work on a variety of outdoor projects.
As mentioned previously, the Greenspace Capture Team has done extensive work on the Johnstown Greenway Trail.
While working on the trail, they have added new shrubs, plants, benches and gravel stones.
The group has also begun working with the Healing Garden Art Park to establish a park in the Kernville area of the city. The park is being created for mental health and suicide awareness and is for individuals to sit, create art, if they choose, and enjoy visual displays among flowers.
Greenspace Capture Team has assisted the Art Park in landscaping, gardening and maintenance.
The next time you’re driving from the Chapin Arch to Woodvale and the sidewalks and streets look especially clean, you have the Greenspace Team to thank.
Members are responsible for the Vision Together 2025 Adopt-A-Highway – and do a fantastic job ensuring their section stays tidy!
Finally, Weible and members from his team helped to successfully plan and execute a 2022 Capture Team Volunteer Day that took place in April. With about 40 volunteers, some free T-shirts, and lots of smiles, seven projects throughout the city were worked on during the morning and a lot of progress was made. This was such a successful event, Vision Together hopes to plan another one during the summer or fall months. We hope to welcome even more volunteers who are interested in finding solutions for the city.
“I think working together with a group of people that share the same mindset about the revitalization of our area and seeing the results with each passing year is encouraging and hopefully our vision and mindset spreads to the naysayers out there about the Johnstown area,” Robert Dobis, a Greenspace Capture Team member says.
“We have our challenges, but we certainly have much to be grateful for.”
With a positive attitude and a couple of good ideas, much can be accomplished.
This is inherently visible by the work our dedicated Greenspace Capture Team has performed.
“Gary and his team are rockstars,” Mike Tedesco, president and CEO of Vision Together 2025, says. “Creating and maintaining green spaces has a huge impact in the community and we’re so fortunate that this team has made that their mission. We’re excited to see and support future projects from this team and know they will be beneficial for the city of Johnstown.”