(JOHNSTOWN, Pa.) – The Oilhouse at Peoples Natural Gas Park will now be known as the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies Oilhouse.
“This naming recognizes our long-standing support of Peoples Natural Gas Park. The Community Foundation was an early backer of this project, providing funds to help complete construction,” said Mike Kane, president of the foundation. “We’re pleased the park has become an important asset to this community, and proud of the role we’ve played in helping to make that happen.”
JAHA acquired a 3.5-acre plot of land in 2004 with the goal of developing it into a venue for existing special events like the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival (then known as the Johnstown FolkFest), and as a catalyst for new ones. A $2 million matching grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project was awarded in 2008, and support from additional foundations, including the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, were key to financing the project. A major gift from Peoples Natural Gas completed the match. Construction on the park began in 2011, and Peoples
Natural Gas Park opened in June 2012 for special events.
“JAHA’s mission is economic redevelopment through heritage tourism. The park, and the Oilhouse in particular, was an eyesore before it was developed – now, it is regularly bringing people downtown for public and private special events,” said Richard Burkert, president of JAHA. “We are grateful to the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies for their support of the project.”
Today, the park is home to the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival and Thunder in the Valley. New events made possible by the park include Blues & Brews in the Valley, the beer tasting festival held every fall that is now in its fifth year, and the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Summer Concert Series. Other public events that regularly take place at the park include the
Johnstown Free Medical Clinic benefit, FroggyQ, the Path of the Flood Historic Races, the Ice FunFest, and more. The park is also regularly rented for events like weddings, class reunions, and receptions.
“My long-time involvement with both JAHA and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, as well as other community-minded groups in our region, leads me to understand collaborations like this is what makes our community stronger,” said Mark Pasquerilla, who serves as president for the board of directors of both organizations.
A metal sign that matches the aesthetic of the Oilhouse, which is a rehabilitated industrial building, has been fabricated and installed over the side entrance.