The new century began in Geistown with
a volunteer, grassroots project intended
to enhance the quality of
life—aesthetically, economically, and environmentally—in
the borough: The Geistown Street Tree Project.
The borough’s population has been
decreasing over the past twenty-five years
(3,304 in 1980; 2,749 in 1990; and 2,453 in
2004) because many young people move away and
because families are smaller. Consequently, the borough
faces the challenge of maintaining a comfortable tax
base with its diminishing population and its lack of
space for expansion. This challenge is
especially difficult with the rising cost of
services and a tax millage that has held
steady for fifteen years.
Borough residents and businesses continue to show pride in their community through their property maintenance and remodeling. However, the municipal government must remain vigilant in keeping building codes strict yet not too restrictive and in sustaining affordable waste disposal. Furthermore, it is important, according to Council Vice President Ed Porada, to enhance cooperative municipal aid with Richland and Stonycreek Townships because such collaborations afford our communities the opportunity to provide professional services at cost savings to the taxpayers. Collaboration will ensure that all three municipalities thrive in the new century.
As Geistown seems to have changed over the last seventy-five years, it has nevertheless remained much the same. Little boys in the 1930s would line up to get their close-cropped summer haircuts, called the “baldy jinks” haircut. In 2005, young boys and men alike sport the same haircut, now a mark of the latest style. Teenagers still cruise up and down Scalp Avenue, except now the MacDonald’s restaurants are in Richland and Windber, not Geistown. The unemployment rate in Cambria County hovers around 5.5%, just slightly higher than it was during America’s boom years prior to the Great Depression. Families are smaller in 2005 than they were in 1940, but young professionals are discovering Geistown and moving their families here, ensuring a new generation of community spirit and unity.