Johnstown Independent

Village to spend $24K on new shelter house; dilapidated one attracts unwanted activity

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An aging shelter house near Johnstown's recreation center has two holes in the roof and often floods.

It also has become an attraction for people who are "doing things they shouldn't be doing," according to Village Manager Jim Lenner.

The village is tearing down the dilapidated shelter house and expects to have its replacement constructed by Labor Day in an ongoing effort to improve parks and recreation, he said. The new shelter is a 40-by-50-foot area under cover, with an outside area that's 40 feet by 20 feet.

The roughly $24,000 project will be funded via the village's capital improvements fund.

"The old shelter was tucked away back into some trees, and it wasn't highly visible," Lenner said. "We have reports of people congregating back there. We're going to tear it down ourselves with a backhoe. The cost to us will be a Dumpster and the fee to haul it away."

Eventually, he said, the village intends to run electricity and water to the new shelter, which could be rented out for family gatherings and other activities. The structure overlooks a playground.

"It's going to be a bit larger with a concrete floor, and we hope to enhance it in the future," village service director Jack Liggett said. "It will be much more accessible for families to use, and it's near a playground for kids to enjoy.

"We really want to build on our recreation areas," he said. "We hate to see residents leave town to enjoy recreation and relax. This is a long-term plan so this is a start."

A walking path also could be added to the property in the near future.

"We're making an effort to get more people to use the park," Lenner said. "We're trying to improve it, and this is one of the first efforts to do that. A lot of it comes down to funding. Our recreation budget is minuscule. We're trying to do as much as we can with the funding we do have."

Other communities have partnered with school districts to create a rec district, Lenner said.

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