Downtown Johnstown defines our region. Healthy urban areas have healthy hearts

Thinkers who study what factors contribute to creating great cities and neighborhoods will be the first to tell us that it all starts with a healthy downtown.

The good news is that downtown Johnstown is about to pop. Where once it was a bustling commercial center filled with activities throughout the day and night, it will be again, and we’re closer than you might think.

Years of planning are coming to fruition as the private sector is amassing pools of money to invest in downtown Johnstown. They’re taking cues from numerous planning processes that were conducted over the years, led by the city and Vision Together 2025.

A lot of money, consensus building and smarts went into developing our plans to revitalize Johnstown.

Here’s the thing (and it’s a good thing): The planning processes are over. Now it’s a race to market.

The horses are at the gates, and their jockeys want to build market-rate housing downtown, rehabilitate old buildings for startup and tech-centric space, revitalize old theaters, construct higher education facilities and student housing, brew good beer, distill good spirits, and grow new shops and restaurants.

Now it’s up to us to lift the gates and watch the ponies run.

City government works tirelessly to improve Johnstown.

Leaders are thoughtfully creating a community of choice.

An investment that improves and beautifies downtown Johnstown demonstrates to the marketplace that the city is committed to building a healthy and vibrant heart.

Cities of choice have place-defining downtowns unique only to them. Investing in Main Street sends a message to the market that the city is just as committed to improving itself as the investors who are placing their own money at risk to do the same. Beautification of Main Street and downtown is an investment that leverages and triggers more investments.

Instead of demolishing blighted buildings, they will be restored and filled with tenants – both commercial and residential.

The tax base will improve. Activity downtown will increase, population will grow – and the overall quality of life for all who call Greater Johnstown home will improve because we have a vibrant downtown that people want to use and enjoy.

Strip malls anchored by Walmarts are not unique to our region. Our downtown – anchored by the State Theater, our public library, the arena, our convention center and Point Stadium – is indeed unique, and between our anchors are our shops and restaurants – Coney Island, Classical Elements, George’s Song Shop, Balance, the Fish Boat, Flood City Cafe, pizza joints, etc. – that build the character of our city.

A public investment to improve and beautify Main Street is the final step that was envisioned through years of planning.

Downtown Johnstown defines our region.

We are a city of choice. Now it’s time to prove it.

Mike Tedesco is president and CEO of Vision Together 2025, a consortium of government, business and philanthropic leaders within greater Johnstown dedicated to improving our community.

Mike Tedesco is President and CEO of Vision Together 2025, a consortium of government, business, and philanthropic leaders within greater Johnstown dedicated to improving our community.

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