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Johnstown officials praise City Revitalization Symposium

December 18, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - City officials Monday praised a recent symposium on how to improve downtowns, saying the city's downtown is headed in the right direction, but more can be done.

Officials commented at the Common Council meeting at City Hall on the Fulton and Montgomery Region CEO Roundtable's City Revitalization Symposium on Dec. 6. The forum was held at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services center.

"It was very good," said Mayor Sarah Slingerland. "It was a positive discussion. I think we're very much on track. We're doing the right things."

The CEO group provided information about resources available to help cities revitalize themselves. Speakers included Auburn Mayor Michael Quill and the meeting also evolved into individual roundtable discussions on improving downtown areas.

"I was very pleased with the symposium," 3rd Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin said.

Martin said she was particularly pleased when a contingent from the city broke off into a separate discussion. She said "good contacts" were developed.

Martin said she was glad to see city business owners, who "all had positive things to contribute."

"There's always ways we can grow," Martin said.

Slingerland said the symposium had a good mix of ages and representatives of larger and smaller businesses.

She said the city has improved in recent years with downtown efforts that have included beautification, snow removal, maintaining sidewalks, tourism and code enforcement.

"We do have a few empty spots in the Main Street area," the mayor said.

But Slingerland said the city will strive to do more in the future, including marketing through its website and working with the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"Our Comprehensive Plan is being looked at by the planning board," she noted.

The city Planning Board on Dec. 4 conducted its first review of the city's Comprehensive Plan since it was approved in 2008. Goals of the plan include strengthening the city's Central Business District, and diversifying and strengthening the city's economy by attracting new, clean businesses to the city. That board meets again at 4 p.m. Jan. 8 at City Hall.

Slingerland said the city's downtown may be going through a transition.

"In some ways, it is trying to decide what it wants to be," she said.

The mayor said she would have more to say in her "State of the City" address, tentatively set for 7 p.m., Jan. 7, at City Hall.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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