BROWNFIELDS 2017-03-14T20:04:48+00:00



The Environmental Protection Agency defines brownfields as:

“abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.” 

The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority has an extensive history in redevelopment of brownfield sites, beginning with the reuse of the former Griffith-Custer Steel site in the late 1980’s. At that time, unknown environmental conditions raised many liability concerns that made reuse of former industrial buildings nearly impossible. With the closing of Bethlehem Steel in 1992, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority was compelled to react to the reuse of brownfields to re-invent and re-energize the Johnstown economy.

The development & implementation of the PA Land Recycling Program in 1995 provided a streamlined approach to undertaking brownfield redevelopment in the Commonwealth. Through passage of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, effective polices regarding brownfields were passed into law. The Brownfields Law expanded EPA’s assistance by providing new tools for the public and private sectors to promote sustainable brownfields cleanup and reuse.

Cleaning up and reinvesting in brownfields increases local tax base, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped open land, and improves and protects the environment. Brownfield redevelopment is particularly critical in Johnstown because of the City’s unique geography as a landlocked municipality. Adaptive reuse of Johnstown’s limited available sites prevents urban sprawl and the destruction of one of Pennsylvania’s biggest assets, its natural landscape.

In 1998 the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority received their first Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Association Grant for $200,000. The Authority identified the Cambria Iron Works Site as a potential pilot site and since then has performed assessment and remediation on a majority of the vacant land and buildings in the Lower Works, which was acknowledged by the EPA as a Brownfield Best Practices.

Thus far, the Redevelopment Authority has been awarded several grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, including $1.26 million in Stimulus Funds received in 2009. In addition to EPA brownfield funding, the Redevelopment Authority has had great success in utilizing Department of Community and Economic Development Industrial Sites Reuse funds towards the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of many citywide properties. The cleanup of the Johnstown Corporation was selected by PA Department of Environmental Protection as a “Showcase Brownfield Project” in 2000. The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority’s success has also been featured in the EPA report, Revitalizing America’s Mills in the year 2006.

The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority has recently initiated the Greater Johnstown Brownfield Revitalization Program, made possible from $1.9 million in grants from the US EPA to eligible brownfield property owners seeking to cleanup and reuse their sites. Program application information is available by contacting the JRA office or click here to download the form. This revolving loan fund provides low interest loans or grants.

The reuse of local derelict brownfields is a “Smart Growth Initiative.” It utilizes existing infrastructure, discourages urban sprawl and protects the environment while creating a more attractive and healthier place to live & work. Qualified brownfield sites are abandoned, idled, or under-utilized facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by environmental contamination. Both public and private property owners are eligible to receive funding for environmental assessment. For more information on funding for development projects please contact the Redevelopment Authority office.

By one estimate, for every one acre of redeveloped brownfields, we save 4.5 acres of open space!

The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority recognizes that land recycling and brownfield redevelopment are vital components for smart growth and economic recovery. The revitalization of our brownfield sites can attract new and diversified development that will complement our goals of recycling existing industrial sites and buildings, preserving greenspace and removing any potential health and environmental threats.

The Redevelopment Authority can help you find the right location for your new or growing business. Check out our available Brownfield sites and consider the many opportunities afforded by brownfield redevelopment such as:

  • Ready-to-go sites that have been remediated of environmental concerns.
  • Redevelopment incentives, including low-interest loans and grants
  • Cost advantages of reusing existing solid facility
  • Existing infrastructure reuse
  • Several properties with rail access


Cambria Iron Blacksmith Shop 

– Location: 102 Iron St. Johnstown PA 15906

– Acreage & Buildings: Building 8,000+/- sq. ft.

– Zoning: Industrial/L. Manufacturing

– Utilities: All Present

– Transportation: Located in busy industrial complex along Routes 56 and 403

– Environmental Condition: Remediation complete

– Current Ownership Status: Johnstown Redevelopment Authority

– Available for Sale/Lease

– Redevelopment Incentives: Johnstown Partnership Target Area, Historic Tax Credits

– Misc: National Historic Landmark constructed in 1854, well suited for historical interpretation as a working blacksmith shop!


-Location: 60 Messenger St. Johnstown PA 15902

– Acreage & Buildings: 1.5 Acres

– Zoning: Heavy Industrial

– Utilities: Available to Site Frontage

– Transportation: Adjacent to existing railroad right-of-way

– Environmental Condition: Unknown- Redevelopment Authority can secure funding to perform necessary work.

– Current Ownership Status: CSX Transportation

– Available for Sale/Lease: Sale or Lease

– Redevelopment Incentives: EPA Brownfield funding, Keystone Opportunity Zone, city low-interest loans, infrastructure funding

– Misc: Located within the inner-city Hornerstown Industrial Park

Former Ohio Street Gas Station:

– Location: 294 Ohio St. Johnstown PA 15902

– Acreage & Buildings: 0.2 Acres

– Zoning: Traditional Neighborhood District

– Utilities: All Present

– Transportation: Route 756 easily accessible and  highly visible

– Environmental Condition: Complete UST removal and  closure report on file with DEP

– Current Ownership Status: Johnstown Redevelopment Authority

– Available for Sale/Lease

– Redevelopment Incentives: City Low-Interest Financing

– Misc: Adjacent parcel is privately available

Johnstown Specialty Castings:

– Location: 545 Central Ave. Johnstown PA 15902

– Acreage & Buildings: 2 Acres

– Zoning: Industrial

– Utilities: All Present

– Transportation: Route 403

– Environmental Condition: PA Act Release of Liability 1999

– Current Ownership Status: Johnstown Specialty Castings

– Available for Sale/Lease

– Redevelopment Incentives: City Low-Interest Financing

– Misc: Prior success with new commercial developments

Johnstown Planing Mill:

– Location: 422 Horner St. Johnstown PA 15902

– Acreage & Buildings: 1 Acre

– Zoning: Industrial

– Utilities: All Present

– Transportation: Rail and truck access near Route 403

– Environmental Condition: Remediation Complete

– Current Ownership Status: Greater Johnstown Utility and Development Corp

– Available for Sale/Lease: Sale

– Redevelopment Incentives: City Low-Interest Financing, Keystone Opportunity Zone

– Misc: Strategic Location in Hornerstown Industrial Park


CamTran Brownfields Assessment and Remediation Project:

2013 Brownfields project associated with CamTran – JRA was part of site preparation phase – remediated identified site issues via “capping” as per Assessment/Plan and increased elevation of structure for floodplain

Cambria Iron Machine Shop:

The Machine Shop is the largest building of the former Cambria Iron Works Complex. Over 40,000 square feet, this five story structure houses 12 overhead cranes, and was formerly used to machine parts for the rolling mill and blast furnaces of Bethlehem Steel.

  After Bethlehem Steel closed its doors in 1992, great community interest arose over the Machine Shop, due to its prime location in an inner-city industrial park, and its significance as a National Historic Landmark.

  After lengthily negotiations with Bethlehem Steel, the Redevelopment Authority reached an agreement to purchase the Machine Shop in 1998. Through the use of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Pilot Grant and PA Department of Community and Economic Development Industrial Sites Reuse Grant, a thorough environmental assessment was performed. Additional Industrial Sites Reuse funds were secured to perform the cleanup of the building, and over 13 local, state, and federal funding sources were utilized to prepare the structure for reuse.

  The Machine Shop is the home to a new company, Samuel Plate Processing Johnstown, LLC, a joint venture of Samuel and Son, Inc. of Canada and Johnstown Welding and Fabrication. Samuel Plate Processing Johnstown, LLC employs over 100 people at the Machine Shop.

Cambria Iron Carpenter Shop:

Historically known as the Pattern Shop, the Carpenter Shop was built circa 1870 and is a two-story brick bearing wall structure with wood frame floor and roof construction.  The Carpenter Shop was originally used by Bethlehem Steel Co. to make wooden patterns for castings in the adjacent foundry that serviced the Cambria Iron Works.

Closed in 1992, the building stood vacant until the Redevelopment Authority was able to secure ownership of the property. Through the use of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Pilot Grant and PA Department of Community and Economic Development Industrial Sites Reuse Grant, a thorough environmental assessment was performed. The Carpenter’s Shop was remediated in December of 2003 and renovation work was completed to enable a new business to occupy this historic structure. The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority is undertaking an assorted mix of redevelopment initiatives to transform the former Cambria Iron Works into a revitalized complex, blending 21st Century businesses with historical structures

FormCambria Iron 11″ Mill:

In 2000, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority undertook an environmental assessment on the former Bethlehem Steel owned, brownfield site – the 11” Mill. Located adjacent to the Historic Cambria Iron Lower Works, this 240,000 sq. ft. former steel manufacturing facility built in the 1970’s was an attractive site for industrial development, and was targeted by Johnstown Welding & Fabrication as a potential site to expand their fabricated steel business. With the use of Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Pilot funds, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority retained Concurrent Technologies Corporation to perform the site characterization necessary to enable Johnstown Welding & Fabrication to fulfill its due diligence in the purchase of this property.

  Employing over 250 people in the Lower Works Site, the newly restored 11” Mill now represents an $8.3 million investment in the community. CEO Bill Polacek was recognized by Ernst and Young and NASDAQ as the Western Pennsylvania Entrepreneur of the Year!

CSX Freight Station (Gateway Greenspace):

  The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority has undertaken the Gateway Greenspace Project to revitalize a premier entranceway into the City of Johnstown. The .34 acre Gateway Greenspace is located along the Stonycreek River at the entrance to the Johnstown’s Business District on the site of the former brownfield property, CSX Freight Station. Once, the entryway into the City’s Downtown was blighted by a deteriorated, abandoned train depot. Now, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority has remediated and razed this brownfield site, making way for the creation of a passive recreation park – the Johnstown Gateway Greenspace. New walkways, native shrubs and trees, and a ‘Welcome to Johnstown’ sign will create a visually appealing scene upon entering the City.

  The Johnstown Gateway Greenspace Project, funded through grants by the PA Department of Transportation, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Program, and the City of Johnstown’s Community Development Block Grants Program, as well as private donations from William McKelvey and Donald Bird will transform this brownfield site into an inviting Greenspace and enhance the aesthetics of the highly traveled northeastern Route 56 into our City. This project will provide a small inner-city recreational area where local residents can enjoy a pastoral setting and the sights of Johnstown from a location which previously served as a blighted reminder of industrial decline.

  The Gateway Greenspace will be an inviting atmosphere that encourages people to explore our rejuvenated and revitalized downtown. It will also improve the appearance of one of our major downtown intersections and beautify the gateway to our downtown business district.

Point Stadium:

The Redevelopment Authority worked with the City of Johnstown to transform the Point Stadium into a modern, multipurpose entertainment venue. The $11 million in renovations include new seating, concourses, locker rooms and concession stands which create an attractive venue that will lure crowds downtown. The 80-year-old ballpark is where baseball legends Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Lou Gehrig once played. The Authority assisted the project through its EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant to characterize the site prior to renovation.

  The original charter for the City of Johnstown declared that “…all that piece of ground called the Point, lying between the said town and the junction of the two rivers or creeks aforesaid, shall be reserved for common public amusements for the use of said town and it future inhabitants forever.” Throughout the City’s history the land has been used for leisure and community events. Since 1944 the Point Stadium has been home to the All American Amateur Baseball Association Tournament (AAABA).

Johnstown Corporation Project:

Korns Galvanizing was an occupant of the former U.S. Steel Plant in the Moxham section of Johnstown. The Johnstown Corporation Project is a prime example of a revitalized former steel mill that has been effectively reused through the efforts of the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority. The former owner of the Johnstown Corporation, a steel foundry, declared bankruptcy, leaving over 200 jobs in jeopardy. A new owner was sought by Johnstown Area Regional Industries, who turned to the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority when it was determined that potential environmental concerns could threaten property transfer. The Redevelopment Authority received a $200,000 Industrial Site Reuse Grant to perform the required environmental assessment work on the 60-acre property. The City supported the project by its use of the State Enterprise Zone loan program, providing low-interest loans to assist in developing the site.

  The results of this intergovernmental cooperative effort speak volumes. First the entire 60-acre site received a ‘Release of Liability’ through the PA Act 2 Land Recycling Program, allowing the purchase of the property by HIG Management Capital to proceed, thereby keeping the Johnstown Corporation in business. Jobs were saved at the steel facility, with more created when outlying (clean) parcels of the project site were sold to private investors to create new businesses, and expand existing ones. Nearly $19 million in private investment in Johnstown was realized through this multi-development project which includes the Johnstown Corporation, OMG America, Rite-Aid Pharmacy, and Gap Vax, Inc. This project was recognized as a Showcase Site by the PA Department of Environmental Protection in the 2000 Land Recycling Program Report.

Greater Johnstown Regional Tech Park:

The new Greater Johnstown Regional Technology Park (Tech Park) represents a $22.5 million investment to the City of Johnstown at an inner-city brownfield site. The Tech Park is located at the former 4.5 acre Sani-Dairy property, where 200 people lost their jobs when the plant closed in 1999. The decision to locate the Tech Park at this site has provided an economic boost to Johnstown’s economy and complements revitalization efforts downtown. The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority was able to secure Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Assessment funds to fully characterize the site.

Following the commitment by Conemaugh Health System to construct the complex, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority and project partners were awarded over $9 million to redevelop this inner-city brownfield site. The Commonwealth Financing Authority awarded the JRA a $2 million loan and a $2 million grant in January of 2005 for use in property clearance and utility installation at the site. Governor Rendell also announced over $6 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding. Funds from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development Housing & Redevelopment Assistance Program, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have assisted in development of the project.
This exciting new project will place the Greater Johnstown Region on the forefront of innovation and technology utilization for the 21st Century. The Tech Park will create a state-of-the-art setting for information technology and related health science biotechnology in an environmentally aesthetic campus setting with building components linked through fiber optics as well as greenspace. A state-designated Keystone Innovation Zone, the Complex is a hub of shared research and development, interacting with local universities and post-graduate programs.

The Tech Park Complex was completed in 2008, with a grand-opening held on October 29, 2008.  The Complex provides economic diversification for the region through the promotion of technology-based businesses.  Tenants for the park include Northrop Grumman, Conemaugh Health Systems, and the Department of Labor – Division of Coal Mine Worker’s Compensation in addition to creating space for new and growing health care and technology businesses

This sustainable facility, with its exterior environmental-friendly objectives and built along the Stonycreek River, provided an opportunity to for the JRA to create the Tech Park Riverwalk, a greenway trail.  The Riverwalk is lined with native flora landscaping, benches, tables, trees, shrubbery, and planters that not only complements the building but allows for an outdoor public respite.  It is within walking distance of many local businesses and residential areas and links downtown pedestrian trails.

PNG Park:


Fire Training Site:

The City of Johnstown Fire Department was awarded a $100,000 grant through the State Department of Community and Economic Development for the purposes of building a fire training facility within the City.  Previously, the Fire Department had used abandoned buildings for fire training sites which were unsafe.  The only alternative was to travel to a fire school in Northern Cambria County which was not feasible for full-time firefighters who are to be ready to respond to City emergencies.

A suitable vacant site was located in the Cambria Iron Works Complex, historically it was used for industrial works since 1852.  The property was the site of the former Iron Foundry, which was demolished in 1992 by Bethlehem Steel Company.  The vacant property had been transferred to the XENA Corporation to aid the City of Johnstown’s Fire Department in construction of the new fire training facility.  The XENA Corporation utilized an EPA Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Subgrant through the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority for environmental remediation.

Following over 100 years of industrial use, a remediation investigation of the sites surface soil was performed.  The Johnstown Redevelopment Authority provided oversight of the Phase I Site Assessment and a Phase II – Baseline Environmental Report to ensure protection of human health and the environment.  The investigations identified industrial/historic fill and groundwater chemical constituent were detected in the fill.  Specific to the subject site, exeedances were noted for iron and semi-volatile organics.

The property was evaluated and it was then determined to resolve the soil contamination issues safely by encapsulating the metal-laden dirt present at the site.  The new fire training center was then built on a concrete slab with paved access road and parking area.  XENA Corporation received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) for the cleanup to be held to non-residential standards and conducted under the Pennsylvania Land Recycling Program (Act 2).  An Environmental Covenant was placed on the property to ensure that the surface cover remains in place, groundwater usage is prohibited, and regular inspections are to be conducted to document and report proper maintenance and effectiveness of the engineering controls.  The property may continue to be used for non-residential purposes.

The three-story Fire Rescue Training Facility was fabricated by Johnstown Welding and Fabrication Industries (JWFI) and is designed to accommodate firefighting exercises and controlled burns.  The facility can also be used for police and emergency responders training from other areas.

The City of Johnstown’s Firemen use the steel training building to keep up with regulations and to better prepare them to protect lives and property.

Greater Johnstown High School:

The Greater Johnstown High School expansion project, which began in the summer of 1999, represents a unique public to public partnership between the Greater Johnstown School District and the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority. The Redevelopment Authority assisted in the acquisition of seven industrial and commercial properties adjacent to the existing high school to provide for an upgraded and expanded high school campus. The Authority obtained state and federal grants on behalf of the School District to undertake assessment and cleanup activities, assuring a safe and clean environment for all visitors and users of the site. KU Resources, Inc. was retained to perform the environmental assessment and to oversee all cleanup activities, including the removal of 26 underground storage tanks. Remediation was conducted pursuant to the Pennsylvania Act 2 Land Recycling Program.

Grant funds were secured by the Redevelopment Authority from the PA DCED and the US EPA to enable the School District to continue the project without a tax increase.

The new High School and Stadium were opened in 2003. This project resulted in the creation of the first new high school building in over 75 years.  Trojan Stadium marks the first high school campus football facility in the history of Johnstown High.  The expanded high school campus boasts a new 221,000 square foot building that houses 85 academic and vocational classrooms, renovated Cochran Auditorium, and the state-of-the-art 4,200 seat multi-purpose athletic facility – Trojan Stadium.