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Johnstown Fire Dept. fire training center on Iron street on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

Johnstown Fire Department’s training facility on Iron Street will soon be disassembled, moved and eventually put back together at a different site.

JFD needs to take down the modular structure because the property where it has been located since 2012 was recently sold by the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority to medical marijuana producer Hanging Gardens.

“The most urgent issue is we’re on Redevelopment Authority property now, and they sold that property, so that’s why we have to get off of it,” said Dan Penatzer, interim city manager. “The only thing we can do now, while we’re looking to obtain, acquire the new site, is we at least, at a minimum, have to get the building down. We have to vacate the property.”

Fire Chief Robert Statler expects the building to be moved sometime in August. But the structure, which can be used in training for putting out fires, searching and rappelling, probably won’t be put back together until next year, as the department looks for grant money to pay for the cost of the project.

“We’ll still be doing our job, even though we just won’t be able to do some of the training we have,” Statler said. “We’ll work around it. It’s a move that needs done. When we’re looking at grants, we’re not only looking at moving the building and putting it back up. We’re looking at trying to expand a little bit to maybe have a small storage building on there for supplies, which we didn’t have before, and some things on the original property we weren’t able to do.”

The city is also looking into purchasing the former site of Dynacom Industries on Oak Street in the Hornerstown neighborhood. The property is currently owned by the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority.

“We’ll actually purchase the property that it’s going on, rather than a lease, so the next fire chief doesn’t have to worry about it,” Statler said. “It will be a fairly permanent move.”

Meanwhile, on Iron Street, Hanging Gardens recently took ownership of a 34,000-square-foot former Cambria Iron Co. machine shop and approximately a half-acre of surrounding property.

“It’s very positive as JRA sees this project,” Melissa Komar, the redevelopment authority’s executive director, said. “More space means more jobs and ultimately that’s what we want for all of our properties on Iron Street.”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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