Creator Square developed from a Carnegie Mellon University research project initiated by Paul Rosenblatt, AIA, and his SEED-certified Springboard Design team and supported by Mike Kane and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. The first site of Creator Square is located on Central Park in Johnstown, across from an existing gallery and a brewpub set to open this summer. Creator Square is an anchor project of that community’s Johnstown 2025 Visioning Project that is built on a framework created by Carnegie Mellon’s Remaking Cities Institute.
Beginning in January, 2014, Paul, along with Donald Bonk, who serves as an economic development consultant to CMU, among other clients, recruited a cross-disciplinary team of CMU architecture, engineering, and public policy students to incubate and explore the project. Through a course hosted by the School of Architecture in the Spring, 2014, semester followed by a paid student summer internship, the team explored the goals of the program and its case and context in the community, and preliminary architectural concepts for the building renovation were presented to the Johnstown community in the late Summer, 2014.
In July 2014, the first step of the resulting process came to fruition as the Parkview Building on downtown's Central Park was ultimately purchased for use by the Johnstown Business District Development Corporation (JBDDC) as the focal point of the Creator Square Johnstown program. In August, 2014, a team of University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown students coordinated by the Johnstown Office of Economic Development conducted a clean-out of the building readying it for the next phase of development.
The team also pursued funding from the Department of Defense's Office of Economic Adjustment. For many years, Johnstown’s congressman, John Murtha, served as Chairman of the U. S House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Defense Appropriations Sub-Committee. During this period in the early 1990's, it was estimated by Forbes Magazine that defense related contracts contributed more than a billion dollars to the Johnstown area. This effectively ended with Congressman Murtha's death on February 8th, 2010. At the time of his passing, Congressman Murtha was the longest-serving member ever of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Pennsylvania, having been first elected to office in 1974. Murtha’s passing has led to a gradual and continuous decline in defense-related spending in the region ever since with related unemployment increases in the defense industry locally, as well. A reinvention of economic development possibilities and opportunities through program like Creator Square Johnstown is vitally needed in the Johnstown area.
As Creator Square prepares to take its next logistical and financial steps towards renovating the Parkview Building and launching its full program, we are currently seeking support from a variety of sources, including grants, foundations, local and regional donors and organizations.
Creator Square also continues to nurture partnerships with local government, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, as well as launching workshops with the local creative community to discuss the project, gather feedback, and develop additional programs and events.