Lift Johnstown is building walkable neighborhoods with trails to parks and historic sites, establishing an emerging cultural district, and reinforcing innovative entrepreneurial-development efforts.
Lift Johnstown evolved as the implementation strategy of three plans; one on the City of Johnstown, one on attracting young people to the region, and one on promoting the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape.
Since then, an amazing number of projects have been accomplished. A greenhouse in an urban park sprouted seedlings that were transplanted to 14 outside community gardens, providing food to a co-op store in a low-income neighborhood where programs are offered on healthy eating. Allegheny Adventure X-Fest was created to showcase the wide array of outdoor opportunities in the region, including some of the best whitewater boating in the East. A “smart transportation” project now better connects people into downtown Johnstown, where a $2 million grant was awarded to develop an education center and restaurant. Over 90 blighted structures have been removed, while a sculpture park was created. Pillars on an elevated bypass now feature bright art, as opposed to drab concrete.
An annual volunteer-recruitment party has connected 87 non-profits with more than 800 volunteers, and a dedicated web site features on-going listings of volunteer opportunities.