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Johnstown council continues to address public concerns

JOHNSTOWN — With summer now a memory for another year, the Common Council’s top official said the city has and continues to keep up with a couple high-profile concerns imparted by the public earlier this summer.

Councilman-at-Large Craig Talarico said Monday the council seriously follows up on all complaints and concerns brought up by the public in general or as put forth by speakers at its sessions.

Concerns this summer ranged from unkempt lawns to a need for more signage pointing out parking downtown.

“The fact it’s addressed publicly means it’s double emphasized,” Talarico said.

The councilman-at-large said the city has stayed on top of an issue this past summer about overgrown or unkempt lawns in violation of city codes. Talarico said that sometimes it becomes a city financial or manpower issue, but the Department of Public Works has tried to keep up on issues involving lawns not being cut.

Talarico said property owners with overgrown lawns are sent letters and have a certain amount of days to act. If they don’t, he said DPW workers will cut the front lawn and the city will send a bill to the property owner, usually put on their taxes. He said the city kept up on that issue this past summer.

“I believe there’s been a couple instances,” Talarico said.

Complaints came in heavy during July of unkempt lawns.

The city Fire Department’s codes enforcement office and the city DPW work together during any given summer on lawns whose grass become unsightly and overgrown. Firefighters find the potential violations, and as a last resort, DPW may step in and cut the lawn of violators all at the home owner’s expense.

When the summer started in June, Jessica McClements, owner of McLemon’s clothing and accessories store on West Main Street, brought up some of her concerns with the council.

Among them was downtown parking for potential business customers.

Talarico admitted there needs to be more signage pointing out parking downtown, especially east of North William Street and all the way to the bandshell. He said he believes the city is currently working on better signage and the situation is being addressed.

“People come in to town and people don’t know we have the parking,” Talarico said.

McClements told the council one of the biggest issues is parking on Main Street. She said people don’t realize the city has three major public parking lots to use.

She said more signage is needed, but noted many people will pass by the downtown businesses because they can’t find a place to park. She said this hampers the ability of tourists to visit and shop in the city. She said the downtown public parking includes the obvious parking off West Main Street bordering the downtown Sir William Johnson Park. But McClements noted there is another large public parking area between Perry and Market streets, although that was in bad shape with many holes.

Other issues brought up publicly this year have included traffic on North East Avenue, culvert problems on East Main Street, and water quality issues.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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