Third Street Streetscape Project To Be Finished Aug. 1
June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, is considered one of the ultimate target dates of all time.
D-Day was the result of the Allied Army spending months planning and preparing for Operation Overlord, the amphibious invasion of Normandy beach during World War II.
In the city of Jamestown, Aug. 1 is being treated by city officials similarly to how generals, admirals and lieutenants planned and prepared for D-Day. Instead of organizing an attack to win back Europe from the reign of the Nazi Third Reich, city officials have been planning and preparing for several ongoing projects to be completed by Aug. 1 — the grand opening of the National Comedy Center.
Projects include the comedy center itself, the Jamestown Brewing Company and the first floor renovations of the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. Well, one more project can be added to that list.
On Tuesday, the city Planning Commission approved the site plan for the Third Street streetscape reconstruction project, which will redesign the area in front of the Reg. The Third Street streetscape project is one of three pilot ventures to enable Jamestown to be a more walkable city for visitors and residents. Along with the Third Street project, two additional streetscape projects will take place along West Third Street between Washington and Cherry streets and along Cherry Street between Third and Fourth streets.
The city received $610,000 through the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program for the projects. A streetscape is the visual elements of a street, including the road, adjoining buildings, sidewalks, street furniture, trees and open spaces, that combine to form the street’s character.
Jeff Lehman, city public works director, said the Third Street project is the first phase of the streetscape pilot plan. He said sidewalks will be removed, some trees, the three planters in front of the Reg and heated sidewalks will be installed by the entrance to the former Palace Theatre. He added that the enhancements will open up the area for events like block parties occurring during the Lucy Comedy Festival.
“We’re going to make it more user-friendly,” he said.
Greg Edwards, Gebbie Foundation chief executive officer, said private funds have also been invested into the project, which includes Tom Turner, who is one of the building owners along Third Street. Edwards also said the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation has funded money for new facade work. He added there will also be new benches and new garbage cans that will include public recycling containers.
Lehman said he is certain, barring several days of torrential rains, the project will be completed by Aug. 1. He said he is working with Kathleen Eads, Reg executive director, and the Reg’s contractor to coordinate for both projects being done at the same time.
In other business, the commission approved the West Second Street public piazza lighting enhancements. Ahlstrom Schaeffer has been contracted to install lights around the public piazza area. The installation of pixel string lights will cost $114,254 and the installation of wash lights will be $78,678, for a total of $192,932.
Edwards said, according to the timeline by Ahlstrom Schaeffer, the lights should be installed by the end of October. He said Volt Vision of Warren and Falconer Electronics are also involved in the project. He added the pixel lights can be changed and colored, or can be simply white.
The light canopy that will be installed around the National Comedy Center, Northwest Arena and Shawbucks will account for the future expansion project planned for the arena, Edwards said. Arena officials are planning to construct a Kids Zone to the southwest side of the facility.
In March, the commission approved the site plan for the road work that is ongoing along West Second Street. Bill Rice, city principal planner, said the commission had to wait until now to approve the lights because they needed approval by the State Historic Preservation Office to accept the brackets that will attach to the Jamestown Gateway Train Station, which will not damage the exterior of the former Erie-Lackawanna Train Station.
The $700,000 public piazza project will convert the West Second Street area of downtown Jamestown into an appealing urban public square with a pedestrian-friendly feel while maintaining multimodal function improving walkability and connectivity to the National Comedy Center, Northwest Arena and the Chadakoin River. The street will be closed to vehicle traffic during events at Northwest Arena or the National Comedy Center. However, when there is no event, the street would be open to vehicle traffic.
In December, state officials announced the project would receive $140,000 through the Regional Economic Development Council program. The local match of $560,000 is being funded by the Gebbie Foundation and Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.