Downtown efforts will work together

JOHNSTOWN – A city Planning Board member has stepped up to get his group involved in a regional process to revitalize downtown areas.

Board member Fredrick Franko volunteered to attend future meetings of a committee formed through the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce to study downtown revitalization in area cities.

Planning board members recently criticized a process by which it felt either its efforts were being duplicated, or it was being left out of a new plan to find ways to revitalize the cities of Gloversville, Johnstown and Amsterdam.

The city Planning Board itself this year has been soliciting input from downtown Central Business District leaders to aid the city’s Comprehensive Plan. But it was revealed recently another group was doing the same thing.

Franko said at Tuesday’s board session at City Hall the chamber has a series of committees paralleling Johnstown’s interest. He said he was approached by David D’Amore, who sits on a committee, to get involved.

Board Chairman Peter K. Smith noted Franko has now volunteered to attend future meetings as a liaison so “we can all be on the same page.”

Franko said his main concern has been to avoid having groups duplicate each other’s efforts.

“There seem to be multiple groups all headed in the same direction,” Smith said. “It would be nice if we all communicated with each other.”

Smith said the Planning Board is required at least every five years to review the downtown business district to update the Comprehensive Plan.

Franko said the city, in reality, wants input from all residents on ways to improve the city.

“This is kind of a citywide thing,” he said. “We want to hear from anyone.”

In a similar local effort, Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz recently informed county supervisors he will brief them further June 24 about the county possibly developing a downtown revitalization plan for just the Glove Cities.

Mraz said the state operates a grant program in which the county could apply to obtain grant funds to hire professional consultants to prepare downtown revitalization plans. He said the local share would be 10 percent, but it could be offset through in-kind services provided by his department, so it wouldn’t cost the cities anything.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at