Strategic Planning And Partnership Commission Looks To 2014

Community leaders are asking residents for their ideas.

The community planning session for the Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sarita Weeks Room in the Arts and Sciences Building at Jamestown Community College. The Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission is a volunteer group which meets throughout the year to study and discuss various methods of improving life in the community. The group forms smaller “action teams” to progress the goals set by the commission. Residents are asked to attend the meeting to give their input on what the action team goals should be in 2014.

Commission topics in the past year have included: the Jamestown Urban Design Plan, Neighborhood Initiatives, Leadership Diversity, Education, Regionalism, “Brain Gain” and Health Care.

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi appoints commission members who represent various organizations and aspects of community life.

DOWNTOWN, NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION ACTION TEAMS

Peter Lombardi, Jamestown Renaissance Corp. executive director, is part of the downtown and neighborhood revitalization action teams. Neighborhoods around the city came together thanks to the revitalization action teams. Consisting of three clusters in the downtown core, as well as four neighborhood clusters elsewhere in the city, area residents teamed up to help effect change across Jamestown.

The downtown clusters include Carlson’s Jewelry, Jochum Business Systems, Holmlund’s Wallpaper, Field & Wright Building, Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, Mariner’s Pier Express, Reg Lenna Theater, Dugan’s Tavern, buildings located at 212 N. Main St., 12 E. Second St., 24 E. Third St., 106-110 E Second St., and a city parking lot. The renovations to these areas range from facade improvements and rehabilitation to the public murals, marquee improvements and more.

The residential neighborhoods include clusters on the south side near Fairfield Avenue and Superior Street, the west side on Hallock Street, downtown on Lafayette and Jefferson streets, and the north side on Hotchkiss Street. Over the past three years, 15 different neighborhood clusters have participated in the program. A total of 72 projects were part of the neighborhood project this year. For each project, half of the funding up to $1,000 was given to homeowners who made improvements.

“We encouraged residents and business owners to come up with a list that would have high impact on their communities,” Lombardi said. “For downtown, the three clusters of buildings had projects in the $400,000 range. JRC provided up to half of the cost of the improvements, up to $20,000. So there was real investment by private property owners. It was a combination of small and large projects with the goal to make downtown look better to spur investment.”

Lombardi said from the community meeting for Strategic Planning & Partnership Commission, action team leaders want to know what Jamestown residents want to see.

“We want to get a sense from the public what our next step should be,” he said.”We are looking to the public to see what sorts of businesses and services they want to see downtown.”

For the neighborhood action team, Lombardi said along with the better looking city streets, the renovation work also brings people together who live near each other.

“It brings together neighborhoods. People who have never spoke before are now hosting block parties,” he said. “The goal was to simulate neighborhood proactiveness.”

HEALTH CARE ACTION TEAM

Dr. Lillian Ney, member of the health care action team, said community input is very important for the action teams. Ney said the action team has been focused on two areas, recruiting doctors to the area and keeping young people in the area who have an interest in becoming doctors or nurses. Ney said health care team’s goal was to recruit four to five physicians. One way to reach the goal is by increasing the amount of money the action team gives to medical organizations for recruitment. The action team had been funding $10,000 toward recruitment costs that goes toward interview fees, student loans and bonuses.

“The goal was to increase the award this year,” she said. “We want to raise it to $20,000 to $50,000.”

Ney said internships and job shadowing is an important way to get students interested in a future medical profession. She said by getting area students interested in health care jobs at a young age, when they have completed their education they may return to their hometown.

“We put a lot of emphasis on connecting with these students to connect them to physicians,” she said. “We want them to return home. They recognize what we have here, which is a lot.”

Ney said by being able to provide quality health care to area residents it will stimulate other areas of the economy.

“It is an economic engine. It provides jobs and economic development,” she said. “It helps with marketing the area.”

GREATER JAMESTOWN JOBS ACTION TEAM

Jacqueline Chiarot was the acting secretary for the Greater Jamestown Jobs Action Team in 2013. She said their goal was to encourage networking between young professionals and business owners. She said by connecting them through media avenues like Facebook, the team found jobs for young professionals in the area.

“We posted a lot of job resumes, and through different networking, were able to find jobs for people,” she said. “We were able to open a lot of doors for young professionals to come back here.”

Chiarot said the jobs action team also connected young professionals who were able to share similar experiences and got to know each other. She said the action team wants to continue to expand their goals with the help of public input from the community meeting.

“We want more business owners involved,” she said. “Our area has so many great opportunities here for young people. They don’t have to go away.”