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Plans made for historic Johnson Hall site

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County legislators on Monday urged enactment and implementation of the Johnson Hall State Historic Site’s draft master plan.

The Board of Supervisors kicked off its meeting at the County Office Building supporting the plan. A public meeting for the draft plan and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was conducted July 22.

“It’s really a great plan,” said Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young.

Young said the plan demonstrates the historical significance of Johnson Hall to the area, and the need to keep it maintained.

The site was the baronial home of Sir William Johnson.

The board resolution Monday stated: “The draft master plan has resulted in many action items that, if completed, over the next several years, would be an extraordinary boost to the economy in Fulton County. As a result of direct community input into the master planning process, new attractions such as a blacksmith shop, visitor center, better signage, trading post, encampment areas, etc., are in the draft plan.”

The state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation in 2018 launched a master planning development process for improvement of the Johnson Hall State Historic Site on Hall Avenue. That process included an informational meeting two years ago at the former Johnstown High School, in which local officials provided input.

“A number of county and local officials offered input regarding ways to improve the Johnson Hall site, its place as a heritage site and its tourism potential,” the resolution said.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead, who was in attendance, pointed to the participation of others such as: County Planning Director Scott Henze, former Johnstown Councilwoman Helen Martin, and County Historian Samantha Hall-Saladino.

“We all went to that meeting,” Stead said, and they provided input.

Of immediate concern in the plan are these items: Install a fire detection system in the Northwest Stonehouse, demolish a barn on the 2020 acquisition (137 Hall Ave.) parcel, demolish the Visitor Kiosk, and pave Johnson Hall Park’s strolling path with asphalt.

The “priority one” items in the plan include: Renovate the home in the 2020 acquisition for support staff housing, construct a new Visitor Center, build a new parking lot, remove existing parking lot and restore ground vegetation, construct a Trade House in the north side yard, develop and implement a comprehensive signage plan, and use living shoreline design to stabilize Hale Creek’s banks.

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

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