Janakovic seeks third term as Johnstown's mayor

Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
·3 min read

Mar. 3—Frank Janakovic is emphasizing his work in elected office and as a volunteer in the community as he campaigns for re-election as Johnstown's mayor.

Janakovic is the co-founder and president/executive director of Alternative Community Resource Program, an organization that helps with the emotional, health, mental and social development of children.

Through the years, he has been involved with Vision Together 2025, Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership, Cambria Regional Chamber, Johnstown Area Regional Industries, Johnstown Planning Commission, The Steeples Project and numerous youth sports leagues.

In 2020, he was named the Boy Scouts of America Laurel Highlands Council's Distinguished Citizen and selected for Smart Business Network's Smart 50 list.

"By working together with so many organizations, foundations, businesses, our legislators, civic and community groups, volunteers and neighbors, we have been able to accomplish and make a positive difference that has and will help our city and region continue to move forward," said Janakovic, a two-term incumbent, when formally announcing his re-election campaign. "I/we will also continue to endorse Johnstown for tourism, endorsing our rich ethnic heritage and historical past, continue to promote Johnstown's natural resources and promote Johnstown as a place to relocate and live."

If re-elected, Janakovic, a Democrat, said he would like to continue work on numerous projects, including improving roads, supporting Conemaugh Health System's $80 million expansion, eliminating blight and modernizing historic sites such as the train station and State Theater.

"Basically, at this point in time, I really wanted to see some of the things that we had in progress come to a completion, see some of those actually be finished," Janakovic said. "We've been talking about them for quite a while, so it's nice to see some of these come to a successful completion."

Last year, Johnstown sold its sewer collection system to Greater Johnstown Water Authority for $24 million, along with the assumption of more than $60 million in debt, which has provided money to put toward the city's pension obligation and capital projects.

But many challenges remain.

Johnstown has been in Pennsylvania's Act 47 program for distressed municipalities since 1992, while 24/7 Wall Street has ranked Johnstown as the seventh-poorest city in the United States. The population has been cut in half, to under 20,000, since the mid-1970s.

"I think basically with the population loss, we've been working very hard to actually change the image of Johnstown to make it more of a friendly image, using our natural resources," Janakovic said. "The economics are really good here for a move. Really working hard to bring people to Johnstown. I know just in my neighborhood, I've had somebody move here from Seattle, North Carolina and Washington within the last year. Hopefully we see an influx of people, moving out of the cities, especially after COVID, that are really looking to get into small cities and country mountain-type towns, like Johnstown."