Jamestown Planning Commission Talks Riverwalk Grant Application

The Jamestown Planning Commission held a special meeting Tuesday to discuss a new grant application that could potentially help the Riverwalk in the future.

The park acquisition, development and planning grant that the Jamestown Planning Commission will be seeking is administered by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The proposed project would connect the existing segments of the Riverwalk in the center of the city with a section of trail through Chadakoin Park.

“We’ve decided to do this because we were struggling at connecting the two sections,” said Bill Rice, principal planner. “We have an application in with the county and the village of Celoron for a TEP application, as well, so what you’ll see is that all of the Riverwalk will start linking together. We’ve struggled with this part of it because all of the documents that we’ve looked at have tried to do this along the river’s edge. Because of land ownership and topography issues, that was an impossibility. We backed up and looked at the two different ways to get access to the waterfront – one is physical, and one is visual.”

According to the proposal, the grant would be used to take existing and replaced sidewalk along the south side of Steele Street, cross to the north side over the Sixth Street Bridge and potentially create a stairway to bring the walkway to a lower elevation where it would meet with the north segment of the Riverwalk. The north segment will use city streets.

The New York state Department of Transportation may eventually deed the city a parcel of property to be used to create stairs, which would lead down near the current parks department garage, located just below the eastern end of the Sixth Street bridge.

“There would be sidewalk improvements, lighting improvements, signage and kiosks, all sorts of things,” Rice said. “We’re also going to create a couple areas along the Riverwalk that will be devoted to outdoor recreation and some scenic vistas. We’re going to begin cleaning out the underbrush in some of the areas so that you’re more connected with the river visually.”

According to Rice, the grant amount is $500,000, and would require a 25 percent matching share from the local government.

“I think that we’ll be over the $125,000 that we would need for our share,” Rice said. “And we could possibly push closer to a 30 or 35 percent matching share.”

Rice also told the other members of the Jamestown Planning Commission that the timeline for the completion of the project would paint Jamestown in a favorable light when the grant application is being reviewed, saying that since much of the infrastructure is already in place, there’s no reason that the project couldn’t be done very quickly.

Portions of the Riverwalk that this grant would not help with, however, are the proposed pedestrian bridges that will be used to link sections of the project in the downtown core.

“The two pedestrian bridges are key to making this a very active hub,” Rice said. “Unfortunately, the combination of those two bridges will cost around $1.2 million. Coming up with a grant that has a favorable match is unfortunately too limited on what they offer in most cases.”