The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies granted $56,200 this December to five different Johnstown-area organizations.
The grant money comes from our Community Initiatives Fund, which is a field of interest fund established by a donor specifically to support community and economic development, conservation, and/or education projects within the Greater Johnstown region. Grants from this fund are individually approved by the donor.
The organizations receiving this funding support our community in a variety of ways. They are battling blight, creating safe spaces for our children, and encouraging efficient energy use.
Grant Distribution Details:
Alternative Community Resource Program, Inc.
This money will be used to beautify Johnstown’s gateways, streets, and sidewalks. This not only
improves the city’s image, but pushes back Johnstown’s growing blight epidemic, making streets safer. This work will complement the work of Vision 2025 and other community organizations, which are doing their own parts to combat the problems left behind by abandoned lots and neglected roadways.
This grant will specifically fund weed eradication and landscape trimming on public property, which requires certified technicians, equipment, personnel, and chemicals safe for humans and pets. The work is scheduled for mid-Spring 2017.
Verna K. Blough Oakland Playground Committee
This grant funds the first steps in turning an abandoned, blighted corner lot into a playground and recreation center for all ages.
This Stonycreek Township park will replace what used to be the Oakland School, which burned down in 1973. It will be named for beloved Oakland School educator Verna K. Blough. The main attraction will be a playground, grassy playing fields, and a manicured walking path.
This blight reversal doesn’t just make the neighborhood safer, it provides healthy, family- friendly activities for children and adults alike. The park is already a community rallying point for residents and local businesses, and will offer a valuable attraction for homebuyers.
A master plan has been drawn up by landscape architect Stephen Parks & Associates, and sits with Stonycreek Township Commissioners. Chivers Excavation, which has been storing heavy equipment on the lot, has agreed to in-kind services to remove macadam and prep the area for the walking trail. Work begins on the project in Spring 2017.
St. Francis University Institute for Energy
This funding creates a mobile classroom that teaches about renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Tiny Classroom, Big Impact program will tour Pennsylvania schools, industry trade shows, and other workshops as requested.
Most people – students and adults alike – have little understanding of how electricity is produced or the massive amounts of energy consumed in daily lives. The Institute for Energy leads seminars and tours of wind farms, coal-powered plants, and LEED Certified Energy Efficient Building, but those excursions can be too costly for time-and-budget constrained schools. The mobile, tiny classroom eliminates the hurdles of time and distance in bringing field trips to students, allowing them to learn experientially about energy use. Students will get to see first-hand how solar panels, wind turbines, biomass, and power inverters work.
The target audience for this classroom is Somerset, Cambria, Bedford, and Indiana County students, as well as farmers, small agriculture producers, landlords, and anyone who has the potential for energy efficiency upgrades at their facilities.
Coaches 4 Kids Foundation
Coaches 4 Kids is expanding the successful Playground Takeover, which creates summer safe havens for underserved children. This past summer, they implemented a Takeover at the Wood Street Playground in Hornerstown, averaging 35-45 children a day engaged in organized activities at the park. The program was so well received, Coaches 4 Kids will make it permanent in Hornerstown, and is adding to it the Park Avenue Playground in Moxam and the new West End Playground.
The Playground Takeover creates organized recreational activities for neighborhood children. This play teaches kids important life skills, such as: sharing, playing fair, cleaning up after themselves, community pride, and living a balanced life. They also learn invaluable character traits, including leadership, honesty, trustworthiness, ethics, and sportsmanship.
Trinity Farms Center for Healing
This grant funds land management by goat – a fun, therapeutic, environmentally friendly program that eliminates invasive plants, overgrown scrub, and poison ivy from hard to reach properties throughout the Laurel Highlands.
Trinity Farms Center for Healing provides a holistic approach to recovery from addiction and integration into the community for recovering addicts and individuals emerging from incarceration. The farm utilizes nature and hard work as therapy tools in recovery and healing. Trinity Farms spreads out over 134 acres in Boswell, Somerset County, and includes horses, pigs, and a herd of registered Kiko goats.
The goats in particular are known for their hardy, parasite-resistant nature, good mothering skills, and a love of eating invasive, undesirable plants. The use of goats to remove plants eliminates the need for pesticides, and results in improved green space and a fresh, nutrient-rich by-product left behind as fertilizer. Trinity Farms is already fielding requests for these services, which will be made available to public and private land owners, as well as government agencies.
Beyond the therapeutic benefits of nurturing these animals, this program also creates opportunities for professional skill building, such as record-keeping and operations management, logistics, and leadership. Once the materials are acquired and the work begins, this project will be self- sustaining and will also provide a sustainable revenue stream to Trinity Farms Center for Healing.
The Get UR Goat Land Management project launches in Spring 2017.