Reading program participation up

JOHNSTOWN – The Johnstown Public Library had more people participate in the Summer Reading Program this year than last year.

Second Ward Councilman Chris Foss told the city council recently the library’s annual Summer Reading Program involving children has concluded.

Foss said it was another “busy” summer, with 308 readers participating in the program by reading for 3,302 hours. The 2013 program exceeded participation from 2012, when 268 children read for 2,997 hours.

Foss extended a special thanks to “supportive parents” who helped out with the program.

Fall hours at the library begin Tuesday, Foss said. Starting then, the new hours will be: Monday – 1 to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesday – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday – 1 to 8 p.m.; Friday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday -10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Sunday – 1 to 4 p.m.

In other news, Foss said the city got soil tested for the former Karg Bros. tannery site on North Perry Street to make sure it meets state Department of Environmental Conservation requirements. DEC is working with the city to clean up remaining pollutants and remediate the former tannery site by next spring.

The city is getting a boost from the Fulton County Department of Solid Waste with 17,000 cubic yards of clean dirt fill for the site so it eventually can be redeveloped.

Foss said the hope is to start using the fill this fall.

He reported Johnstown Industrial Park-based Benjamin Moore & Co. recently completed painting the Fairground Park’s gazebo as a community service project. Foss said the results were “fabulous.”

Foss also reported the city submitted its $200,000 state Main Street NY Grant to revitalize downtown. Officials said that grant would assist with downtown streetscape and building improvements. He said the results of the grant award should be known by November.

In other liaison reports to the council:

– Police Chief Mark Gifford said his department made 25 arrests and had 781 calls for service in July. Police issued 41 traffic tickets and investigated 30 motor-vehicle accidents during the month.

– Fire Chief Bruce Heberer reported 63 calls for July, including three minor structure fires.

In July, the Fire Department’s Code Enforcement Division issued 61 permits for projects with a potential worth of $378,000.

Heberer also reported how much the codes office is involved in the ongoing expansion of the Fage USA yogurt company at the industrial park and the ongoing construction of the new T.J. Maxx store at the Johnstown Shopping Plaza on Route 30A.

“They require multiple inspections every day,” Heberer said.

He reported the city has four new home starts, and one new home ready to be sold.

-Third Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin reported a driving course is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 11 at the center. Martin said volunteer seniors are working at the tourism booth downtown, which she said is “very much appreciated.”

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