DRI Fund Goes To City Events

City officials are ready to assist venues and event organizers increase the level of entertainment in downtown Jamestown.

On Tuesday, the Jamestown Local Development Corp. discussed the new fund for downtown programming, which was one of the 10 projects included in the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The programming fund was approved for $600,000, which will be administered by the state Homes and Community Renewal and Housing Trust Fund Corp.

Vince DeJoy, city development director, said any venue or outdoor event located in downtown Jamestown can apply for the funding. Locations like Jamestown Community College or Bergman Park would not be eligible for funding because the event would be located outside of the downtown area.

DeJoy said organizations that would like funds to enhance an event can submit an application, which will detail what they want to use the funds for and how much money they’ll need. He added events that are considered recurring cannot apply for funding unless they are bringing in a new type of attraction that would change its character and the number of people who would attend the activity.

For example, DeJoy said an event like the downtown Jamestown Cruise-In could not apply for funds unless the organizers were providing something new like bringing in a well-known musical act to enhance the event.

The maximum an event can receive is $75,000, with the largest grant being for $50,000 while the highest loan can be for $25,000, DeJoy said. He added that when loan money is returned to city officials, which is supposed to take place within 30 days after an event, it will be placed in a special downtown events programming fund that they will control to use again toward future events.

DeJoy said the JLDC staff will review the applications for a new seven-member programming committee that will be formed. The new committee will consist of the director of development, two JLDC members and four non-JLDC members. He said the programming committee will make a recommendation to the JLDC board and if it approves the application then it will go to state officials for final approval.

Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said the new fund is not meant to pay for an entire event, but help fill the funding gap necessary to hold the activity. He also said that hopefully by bringing in higher-level entertainers, not only will this draw more locals downtown, but will also increase the number of visitors from other cities and states. He added city officials have two years to use the $600,000 in funding.

DeJoy said the application for the programming events fund will be online at the city’s website — jamestownny.net — later this week. He said it will be a rolling application, with no deadlines for funding.

Events that will be ineligible for funding include those not open to the public and those categorized as political, DeJoy said. Eligible expenses include talent, hospitality and marketing for the event. However, increased pay for a venue’s staff or to pay for food or beverage to be available during the event would not be eligible.

DeJoy said there will be a public informational meeting for those interested in possibly applying for event programming funds, however, no date has been set for the gathering yet.