City Takes Lead Agency Status For Park Project

One of the next steps for the planned Gateway Park behind the Jamestown Gateway Train Station is the environmental impact assessment.

On Tuesday, the city’s Planning Commission approved a resolution for the city to become the lead agency for the environmental study. In New York state, projects or activities proposed by a state agency or unit of local government require an environmental impact assessment as prescribed by the state’s Environmental Quality Review.

Gateway Park will be part of the proposed National Comedy Center being planned for West Second Street where the Jamestown Gateway Train Station and a BPU substation are currently located. The Gateway Park is an outdoor plaza area behind the train station that will include landscaping improvements and a secure railroad crossing that will connect to the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk along the Chadakoin River. Primary funding for the Gateway Park phase of the National Comedy Center development is being provided by the Gebbie Foundation and the Oishei Foundation.

William Rice, city principal planner, said he doesn’t know when construction on the park will start. He said timing could be an issue because the city still has to become the lead agency for the environmental impact assessment, which would need to be completed before construction can begin. Rice said construction could possibly start as early as June. No city money is being used in the Gateway Park project even though the city would be the lead agency for the environmental impact study.

In February, Tom Benson, National Comedy Center chairman, said a master plan has been completed for the proposed National Comedy Center. The center would be built where the BPU substation is located, which is scheduled for dismantling next year, with the Jamestown Gateway Train Station as the anchor of the proposed facility. Benson said the plan is to break ground as soon as possible on Gateway Park so it will be completed by the fall.