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Johnstown Receives $24 Million U.S. DOT RAISE 2021 Grant

With investments by CFA and the collaboration of many community partners, the City of Johnstown has been awarded a $24,448,164 U.S. Department of Transportation “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” (RAISE) grant to complete the “Iron-to-Arts Corridor Project.” The focus is to restore Johnstown’s transit hubs and connect the community for downtown revitalization and heritage tourism.

The total cost for the Iron-to-Arts Corridor project is just over $53 million. With just under $29 million in state, local, philanthropic, other federal, and Amtrak funding already secured, the remainder will be covered by the $24.5 million grant.

Many civic leaders and community partners came together to create this successful grant application: CFA, Vision Together 2025, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, the Greater Johnstown Regional Partnership, Johnstown Area Heritage Association, the 1889 Foundation, and others.

“The most important part of the RAISE grant is that it validates the cooperative spirit that prevails in Johnstown right now,” says Vision Together 2025 Vice Chair and Cambria County Planning Commission Executive Director, Ethan Imhoff. “Grants like this are only awarded to communities with a high degree of organizational capacity across business, governmental and non-profit sectors. It speaks to how far we’ve come, as these outcomes weren’t possible in Johnstown just a few years ago.”

This big win for our community also demonstrates how small grants can make a big difference. CFA’s regular Fall and Spring Grant rounds award funding of up to $7,500 to scores of nonprofits around the region twice per year. The RAISE grant application process was made possible through one of those small grants, awarded this past summer as part of special grantmaking that targets community and economic development. It was a $7,500 grant to Vision Together 2025 that provided the funding for an economic impact modeling study that was required for the federal grant application.

CFA President Mike Kane said the Foundation has been honored to support this project.

“We are delighted to see how one of CFA’s small grants created an avenue for our region to secure millions of dollars for change-making projects,” he said. “We are deeply appreciative of every single CFA donor who makes this kind of grantmaking a reality for hundreds of nonprofits and initiatives like this one, and we are proud to live in a community where partners come together to make our region stronger.”

The Iron-to-Arts Corridor project will upgrade and connect Johnstown’s three downtown transit systems for visitors, residents, and commuters from all income levels: the Johnstown Train Station, the Inclined Plane transit system, and the Downtown Intermodal Bus Transportation Center. The four components of the overall Iron-to-Arts Corridor project are:

  • Johnstown Train Station: Renovations for the historic Johnstown Train Station include restoring it as a multimodal center with daily Amtrak, regional rail, and bus transit services. The city also seeks to utilize now-vacant portions of this upgraded station for uses that could include a new Johnstown Visitors’ Center, a healthy food and farmers market, and a retail transit-oriented development expansion, along with the newly-launched headquarters of the Artist-Blacksmiths Association of North America (ABANA) which located there earlier this year.
  • Inclined Plane: The RAISE grant will also provide more funding, leveraging PennDOT investment, for the upgrade of the historic Johnstown Inclined Plane, restoring the passenger and vehicle funicular system to full function which will help boost ridership by 300% annually on this central CamTran transit link, further fostering an expanded regional tourism market and new economic development.
  • Intermodal Bus Transportation Center: The RAISE grant funding for the CamTran Downtown Bus Intermodal Transportation Center will design and construct upgrades to this central hub for bus transit with passenger safety upgrades, station improvements, and mobility connections to the surrounding catchment area.
  • Connectivity and Walkability among these transit hubs in downtown Johnstown: The RAISE grant for the Iron-to-Arts Corridor will also provide the funding needed to connect these transit hubs with complete street and pedestrian and bicycle trail upgrades, a component called the “Main Street Greenway & Urban Connectivity” initiative. This component of the project will improve walkability with 0.5 miles of complete street upgrades on Main Street including sidewalk, traffic calming, transit stop enhancements, ADA-accessibility, green infrastructure, and streetscape improvements. RAISE funding will also help this project connect key downtown segments of the Path of the Flood Trail and the Jim Mayer Riverwalk Trail, which will join these three transit hubs and key community anchors, as well as link Johnstown to the National 9/11 trail.
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