Strategic Planning Action Teams Continue Their Work

The action teams for the Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission continue working to improve the city.

On Thursday, the group of volunteers who meet throughout the year to discuss various methods of improving life in the community gave several reports about the work each action team has been doing in the past couple months. Jennifer Gibson, Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission co-chair, led the report on the Jobs and Economic Development Action Team. She said the previous plan to hire Russ Linden, an expert in change management, performance improvement and collaboration, to assist the group with economic development has been delayed. She said with the announcement of Bill Daly retiring as head of the county’s Industrial Development Agency, and the search for a new director underway, that this isn’t the time to hold an economic development summit. The plan had been to gather all the local economic development leaders and heads of business to meet with Linden to collaborate on jobs and economic development.

Even though the summit has been delayed, the action team has been meeting with economic development leaders and business owners individually. Gibson said the group is asking economic development leaders what they can provide businesses. With business owners, the group has been asking what assistance they need from economic development leaders.

Gibson said the group has also been looking at other cities and what they are doing to attract business and economic development. She said one city close by that seems to be doing a quality job is Batavia. She said members of the action team are planning a field trip to Batavia to meet with city officials.

”We will see if there is anything we can bring back,” Gibson said.

Greg Lindquist, Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission member and Jamestown Renaissance Corporation executive director, talked about the Urban Design Plan/Neighborhood Revitalization Action Team. He said the establishment of the historic district in downtown Jamestown has been significant. He said Peter Lombardi, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation deputy director, has been working to complete the application that the state Office of Parks and Historic Preservation is reviewing. Once the review is completed, building owners and developers will have access to historic tax credits that can assist in the redevelopment of buildings. Lindquist said without these historic tax credits, previous projects like the renovation to the Wellman Building and the Jamestown Gateway Train Station wouldn’t have been possible.

”This is a big step forward for the downtown,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist also displayed the new pole banners that will be placed along city streets. The city received an $84,500 state grant, which was matched by the Gebbie Foundation, to implement the final stage of a branding marketing campaign for the city. With the money, more than 200 pole banners will be placed along Main, Washington and Third streets advertising local attractions like the Robert H. Jackson Center; Fenton History Center; Lucy Desi Center For Comedy; Reg Lenna Civic Center; Roger Tory Peterson Institute; The Arts Council; Audubon Center and Sanctuary; and Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. The grant will also pay for informative kiosks to be placed downtown.

Megan Herman gave a report on the Brain Gain/GREATer Jamestown Jobs Action Team. The group’s goal is to encourage networking between young professionals and business owners. She said by connecting them through media avenues like the GREATer Jamestown Jobs Facebook page, the team has found jobs for young professionals in the area. Herman said more jobs recently have been posted on the Facebook page. Also, the group is planning on posting success stories from people who have found employment.

Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Health Care Action Team chairwoman, said their action team has received its first physician recruitment grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. On Jan. 29, the Health Care Action Team hosted a meeting with representatives from several community foundations to raise money for a recruitment fund. The Health Care Action Team was formed to focus on the impact of health care on development in the community, as well as accessible, high-quality health care for residents. The group is working toward raising money to offer more of a recruitment incentive to physicians who come work in the area. The group’s previous incentive was $10,000, but now the group wants to offer $20,000 to $50,000 based on the physician’s area of expertise.

Marty Idzik gave a report on the Regional Service Sharing Opportunities Action Team. He said it doesn’t seem like the action team will be making any progress this year. He said when it comes to working with unions, progress takes time.