To provide context for this project, let me introduce myself. I am Michael Walstrom, recently hired Program Director for Cambria City’s Stella Property Development and Event Production. For the last four years, I have lived in the Johnstown area while attending the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and, for the majority of that time, I spent my free time looking for things to do in the area. What is the first thing we all do when we want something to break the monotony of academic or work schedules?
In the internet age, I, like many of all ages, went to Google for an answer. Consistently I kept being met with the same answer: bike trails here, exploring abandoned places there, and the occasional festival or event that I did not feel familiar with the area enough to attend. Inevitably, I would counter-intuitively throw in the towel and succumb to the boredom. It was an internship at the Johnstown Area Heritage Association that helped me see everything that Johnstown and Cambria City in specific had to offer. Between the public artworks, intriguing businesses, and a number of interesting events, I was surprised that I had never seen any of it while looking for things to do.
After being immersed in the community through my internship and meeting my now employers at Stella, they gave me their idea for a community website to showcase all that the neighborhood has to offer and trusted me to develop it. Through working on the community website, I began to understand why I had never seen the businesses, attractions, and events down in Cambria City: a lack of a cohesive online presence and sharing platform. When I Googled “things to do near me” or “food near me”, it would ultimately send me to widely known things in the area that attract eyes from all over the region rather than showing me the interesting things that communities like Cambria City had to offer as a destination.
In short, Google was sending me to destinations that were, in the online sense, chosen and promoted by outsiders who specifically came to the Johnstown area for the specific purpose of going to that destination; for example, think places and activities such as the Windber Trolley Graveyard, the Johnstown Inclined Plane, the Johnstown Flood Museum, and/or the Johnstown Flood Memorial (all of which are fun and wonderful as well!). However, Google was not showing me what I really wanted to see: destination neighborhoods like Cambria City that I could relieve my boring evening with by going down to stop by and see an extremely unique attraction like the Riverwall Murals, then stopping by one of the bars or cafes for a drink, then stopping by one of the shops or boutiques to see cool products that I couldn’t see in the Walmart half-a-mile from Pitt-Johnstown‘s campus, following that up by getting food at one of the restaurants, and finishing off my trip by taking a picture with one of murals and sharing on Instagram or Facebook with a location tag that tells any of my friends, family, and acquaintances to come to Cambria City for a wonderful day out.
All of that and more could have been and could still be the experience of many from Pittsburgh to Somerset to State College, had there only been a website and social media that told Google, Facebook, and Instagram in big, easy to read letters that the even complexly dumb robots scouring the web for an answer to my “fun things near me” inquiry could find. That is why we are excited to announce the launch of Cambria City’s new web and social media presence!
Developed and managed by Stella, Property Development and Event Production, this digital community and neighborhood provides you the visitor and follower with consistent information regarding events, businesses, shopping opportunities, and awareness of the dynamic Cambria City Historic District!
It provides neighborhood organizations and participating businesses a way to reach you with their individual offerings, while showcasing the diversity of business, arts and everyday life in our special and amazing community. We do not compete with one another in Cambria City, we complement each other and that is truly something to celebrate!
Browse the web site to plan out a day trip, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and share business’s posts. The more visitors and followers that we have, the more awareness we can bring to a truly special place to visit, work, and live: our home, Cambria City. Look for upcoming posts featuring the businesses and organizations joining us and various upcoming events! Support Cambria City by supporting them!
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