Johnstown's first community forum, sponsored by the Old Town committee, attracted about 35 residents and business people who discussed signage, parking and the bike path on Monday.

Johnstown's first community forum, sponsored by the Old Town committee, attracted about 35 residents and business people who discussed signage, parking and the bike path on Monday.

David Keck was elected to chair the committee, which also includes Marvin Block, Mike Francis, Sharon Hendren, Keith Ryan, Ray Speck and Carol Van Deest.

When the committee was formed by council earlier this month, its purpose was defined as helping to ensure the ongoing beneficial development of Johnstown by making recommendations to council on all matters relating to downtown development, historic preservation and design review matters.

Village manager Judy Edwards said she and Van Deest visited Canal Winchester to take a look at its Old Town committee.

"We have the Lions, Downtown Johnstown and Johnstown Historical Society," Edwards said. "We want to pull those together and give them the ear of council. We wanted an avenue to get residents and businesses to talk to one another."

In order to achieve that goal, Edwards said the committee was expanded to include business owners.

"We want to work toward a common goal," she said. "We want to see what it is that needs done. We need to know where we are and what we need to do to get there."

Keck said the purpose of Monday's meeting was to "brainstorm."

"This is all aimed toward a common purpose," he said.

In addition to lengthy discussion about parking and the state Route 37/U.S. 62 intersection improvements (see related story), signage and the bike path were topics of discussion.

Downtown Johnstown member Julie Couts said she's almost embarrassed to say she's from the village when she uses the bike path because of trash along the trail.

"From the bike path, it's only a couple blocks downtown," she said. "It would be nice if we could offer something, even something nice to look at. It's a dumping site."

Keck noted that Johnstown isn't welcoming when it comes to offerings for out-of-town folks.

"We have the coffee shop and barbecues," he said. "A lot of people come for funerals or the nursing home. They would be interested in businesses."

When the Ohio Department of Transportation bids out the intersection safety improvements, Edwards said Johnstown can request alternatives like signage that the village would finance itself.

"That's something we'll look at," she said. "What do we want the bulk of the signage to look like downtown?"

Village planner Jim Lenner said he could work on that issue with Downtown Johnstown.

The planning and zoning commission has spent the last five months looking at signage within the entire village.

Edwards said planning and zoning will make a final review of the sign code updates and vote on whether to set a public hearing on the proposed changes, during a joint a joint planning and zoning design review commission (DRC) meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

New DRC members will also be sworn in at the meeting and work with zoning to discuss opportunities, challenges and priorities and how the two commissions can address those issues.