Lee Initiatives provides huge boost to ramp fund — help us raise the remaining amount!

Lee Initiatives provides huge boost to ramp fund — help us raise the remaining amount!

Posted: July 22, 2022 11:37 am

Lee Initiatives Health & Wellness Endowment has stepped forward with a $20,000 gift toward the replacement of the concrete floor to the ramp outside the Heritage Discovery Center! JAHA is asking your help to raise the remaining amount and finish this critical project. Since a fundraising effort launched on the GoFundMe platform on August 6, 2021, $7,995 has been raised. With the new donation, JAHA now has $27,995 of the needed $35,650.

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“On behalf of Walnut Management Corporation and Lee Initiatives, we feel that we all must work together to aid these community projects,” said Jodi R. Clark, CEO of Walnut Management Corp. and Lee Initiatives. “Alone we can do so little, but collectively we can accomplish so much more.”

The ramp was formerly a pedestrian bridge over the Pennsylvania Railroad in Woodvale, and was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places before it was scrapped. JAHA was able to salvage it for use as the ramp for the Heritage Discovery Center, which first opened in 2001.

The scope of the project is replacing the concrete floor to the ramp, as well as repainting it. Concrete steps to the building, which are fully functional but stained by rust, will also be replaced.

JAHA purchased the building, which is the former Germania Brewery, in 1992 and opened the first two floors as the Heritage Discovery Center in 2001. The second phase of the building, including the Johnstown Children’s Museum (third floor), Ethnic Social Club (fourth floor), more gallery space (fifth floor), and the Iron & Steel Gallery, were opened in 2009.

People using weelchairs and parents with strollers can still access the building using a ground-level entrance into the Iron & Steel Gallery, but the ramp is important for the building’s accessibility, according to Richard Burkert.

“Accessibility is important to meet our mission, and it’s a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Richard Burkert, JAHA president. “We are grateful to Lee Initiatives, which made critical donations to our campaign to repair the elevator at the Heritage Discovery Center, and now to repair the ramp.”