Opening Act

The Jamestown Planning Commission received an introduction to the Gateway Station Patio project Tuesday.

The patio project will be constructed behind the Jamestown Gateway Train Station along West Second Street. The project is phase 1 of the planned National Comedy Center that will also be located along West Second Street, next to the train station where a Jamestown Board of Public Utilities substation is located.

Designers from Clark Patterson Lee and Tom Benson, National Comedy Center chairman, presented the project that will have industrial character to it, with an old brick and rustic look. The patio space will lead to a specialized railroad crossing that people will be able to walk across to the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk along the Chadakoin River.

Rod Drake, Clark Patterson Lee principal consultant, said they are still waiting for approval from the state Historic Preservation Office and the National Parks Service before starting the project. Bill Rice, Jamestown principal planner, said the project also needs the state Department of Conservation to approve the state environmental quality review.

”There are a lot of agencies we are working with,” Drake said.

Drake said the plans are now to start construction after the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, which starts Wednesday, Aug. 6. He said ceremonial breaking of ground could be done during Lucy Fest. He said the project will take about three months, with completion by winter. Drake said the patio project is part of a larger master plan. Benson said phase 2 will be the National Comedy Center.

”The (patio project) is destined to be a part of the Comedy Center,” Benson said.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to look at the site plan for the patio project in July.

Earlier this month, City Council approved the application for funding for the National Comedy Center through the state Consolidated Funding Application Program. A partnership of local and regional foundations have provided grant funding for planning and development costs, and have also pledged $15.5 millions toward actual construction and exhibit installation expenses in conjunction with what is projected to be a $33.5 million project. The project is expected to leverage $7 million in new market tax credit financing and secure another $5 million in miscellaneous other public and private funding. The National Comedy Center officials submitted an application before the June 16 deadline requesting $6 million from the state for construction.

In other Planning Commission business, the group approved the site plan for a project at Barmore Sellstrom Tires, located at 1403 E. Second St. Ken Crossley, owner-operator of Barmore Sellstrom Tires, and David Misenheimer of Sandberg Kessler Architecture & Engineering discussed the site plan for a new one-story, 2,800-square-foot auto repair garage. The site will include 6,055-square-foot parking lot and new landscaping in front of the business.

The plan is to tear down a building that was previously used as a separate garage business to construct a new building next to Barmore Sellstrom Tires. The building would be used as a tire repair shop for commercial trucks. They said with the new garage, it would not cause traffic problems along Second Street because they would have a large enough parking lot for the large trucks to use to pull into the service area.

The planning board approved the site plan with the contingency the two parcels receive approval to be combined by the assessor and the city’s Development Department approves the aesthetic look of the business.