Citywide cleanup begins Thursday

JOHNSTOWN – The city’s annual, three-day, free residential cleanup program starts Thursday, and any leftover unsightly and illegal code infractions will be dealt with by the city Fire Department.

It was noted during Monday night’s Common Council meeting at City Hall that the citywide cleanup runs Thursday through Saturday.

But city Assistant Fire Chief Michael Heberer said unsightly residential messes resulting from residents not participating will be subject to possible code infractions.

“What doesn’t get cleaned up by Monday, they’ll be dealing with us,” Heberer said.

He said the fire department has been making code enforcement ward sweeps lately and leaving residents with fliers about the citywide cleanup. The cleanup will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

The citywide cleanup, in which residents will bring items to an area at the end of Prindle Avenue behind the Johnstown Senior Citizens Center, is open to city residents only. No businesses are allowed to drop off items. There is a limit of two truck loads per residence, and proof of residency is required.

Third Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin said in conjunction with the citywide cleanup, she wanted to encourage all city residents to clean up trash around their homes and neighborhoods. She said this effort to beautify the city is now more easily accomplished with the warmer weather.

“We need to clean up bottles and garbage and papers under the bushes,” Martin said.

Heberer said unsightly trash on lawns is “typical” this time of the spring, after debris has been covered up by the winter weather.

Elsewhere in the monthly fire department report to the council:

Heberer said the city had to recently close Opportunity Drive in the Johnstown Industrial Park while Fage USA put up silos for its expansion project. The yogurt company is undertaking a $120 million expansion expected to create 150 jobs on top of its current 240-person workforce. The company wants to double production with a new building and other site changes.

The Glove Cities’ new Automatic Dispatch Agreement between fire departments is working well, Heberer said. Under the new agreement, the Fulton County 911 dispatch center on Route 29 dispatches fire units from both cities automatically and simultaneously for structure fires or possible structure fires. In the past, fire units were dispatched to a scene and then officials decided whether they needed backup help.

Heberer said the agreement is “working well.” Since it was finalized April 21, he said there’s been three or four calls in which the agreement was put into use.

Heberer also reminded the public the city’s annual open outside burn ban will be in place until May 15.

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