The Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority has received a grant to support its efforts to connect two of its trails in the city of Johnstown.
A grant of $244,375 from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development will help with engineering required in determining the best route to connect the authority’s Path of the Flood and Jim Mayer Riverswalk trails.
That route will likely include the ongoing Iron to Arts project, which will replace a two-mile corridor of Washington Street through downtown Johnstown, past the Johnstown Flood Museum and underneath the historic Stone Bridge on Iron Street.
“We want to link all these things together,” said Cliff Kitner, executive director of the conservation and recreation authority.
In a press release issued Tuesday, state Rep. Jim Rigby, R-Ferndale, endorsed the grant.
“Enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities encourages a more active and healthier lifestyle,” Rigby said. “It is our goal to continue to boost the economic state of our downtown region by bringing residents of neighboring communities into the area not only to use the outdoor recreation sites, but to also visit and support small businesses, restaurants and hotels within the area.”
Kitner said the grant funds will assist with the cost of hiring engineers, who will determine the best ways to connect the Path of the Flood and Jim Mayer Riverswalk trails from Clinton to Hickory streets and from Clinton Street across Bedford Street to Hickory Street.
“This could be a major focal point for trails,” Kitner said, with the potential for future connections for bicyclists and pedestrians to access the Ghost Town Trail and the September 11 National Memorial Trail, which would come through Cambria County and connect all three memorial sites in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville.
Rigby said the conservation and recreation authority’s latest grant was obtained competitively. It was awarded by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which was established in 2004, and is supported in part by the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which directs a portion of revenue from Pennsylvania’s natural gas extraction to local municipalities.