At times, it is probably difficult for city officials to truly understand how ideas and proposals they discuss affect those living in the city.
On Monday, Jamestown City Council saw firsthand how lives of city residents are affected. During the public speaking portion of the meeting, Mackenzie Watson, who is 14 years old, and her father spoke to the council about how they favor the possible Jackson Spring apartment complex project. The Watsons said they approve of the project because they would be homeless if not for the assistance they receive from CODE Inc. The Jackson Spring apartment complex project is being developed by the NRP Group, with assistance from CODE Inc.
Mackenzie’s father, who didn’t give his name, said everyday was a struggle while they were homeless, but not anymore because they live at the Euclid Gardens. Euclid Gardens, located at 28 Euclid Ave., has 23 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments. Euclid Gardens has been owned for nearly three decades by CODE. CODE is a neighborhood preservation company that provides affordable housing to low-income families, the elderly and disabled.
Two community informative meetings have been held on the possible Jackson Spring housing project. The proposed $11 million development would include demolishing several condemned houses in the area, which would be done by the project’s investors.
During the second informational meeting held at CODE’s Euclid Gardens complex, Christopher Dirr, NRP Group development vice president, said the proposed development includes a 45-unit apartment complex, with 31 one-bedroom apartments and 14 two-bedroom apartments. The apartments would be geared toward middle-income level residents with a rent between the range of $500 to $700, Dirr said. Also, 15 percent of the units would be designed for households with members who have handicaps.
In other business, council approved to allow temporary work area easement to Chautauqua County for completion of the South Main Street Bridge rehabilitation project. Earlier this month, the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency granted county officials a temporary easement for land the city owns on the northeast side of the South Main Street Bridge. Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said the temporary easement has been given so the land can be used for construction equipment during the rehab project. Vince DeJoy, city development director, said the easement is for two years.
Following the JURA meeting, Lex Brumagin, Chautauqua County engineer III, said the temporary easement of property is one of many steps county officials have to take prior to seeking bids from construction companies. He said county officials will be seeking bids in late spring. He added there is no date scheduled for the start of the bridge project, but county officials are hopeful they will be able to complete it in one construction season. Once the rehab project has started, Brumagin said the bridge will be closed and a detour will be created using streets like Second and Harrison preceding the bridge.
During the summer of 2014, stones from the South Main Street Bridge fell into the Chadakoin River leading to the sidewalk being closed on the west side of the bridge. In October 2014, George Spanos, director of public facilities for Chautauqua County, told the County Legislature’s Public Facilities Committee that during a biannual inspection of the bridge, consultants discovered water had penetrated the top of the arch under the bridge, which in turn softened the grout and stone.
City Council also approved transferring land owned by JURA to the city of Jamestown for two pedestrian bridges as part of the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk. DeJoy said during a council work session earlier this month, by transferring the land from JURA to the city, it will make the process easier. The twin bridge project will consist of constructing one to Panzarella Park form the Riverwalk’s northsore extension and the other will be below the Washington Street Bridge and connect both sections of the Riverwalk running along the Chadakoin River.
In October 2014, state officials announced that the city would be receiving $1.6 million in federal funding for the construction of the Panzarella and the Route 60/Washington Street pedestrian bridges. The $2 million project requires the city to use $400,000 as a local match from First Instance Urban Development Action Grant funding.
Along with city officials, Clark Patterson Lee, Prudent Engineering, R.K. Hite & Co. and state Department of Transportation will work on the project.
Council also approved the abandonment of Martyn Alley, which is located between West Fifth and West Sixth streets. The city is abandoning Martyn Alley because the Landmark Restaurant, located at 552 W. Fourth St., has requested use of the alley to install an additional cooler for their business. In December, the city Planning Commission approved the abandonment request.