Future Of Motor Mayhem Uncertain

The future of a popular annual event in downtown Jamestown is up in the air, and a number of residents and community members are expressing their concerns.

Recently, it came to light that the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation has opted not to sponsor its annual Motor Mayhem event, which regularly draws hundreds of classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts to the downtown area over the course of a weekend in August.

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, which sponsors several events throughout the city — including the annual “Third Thursday” concert series, the HandsOn Jamestown citywide clean-up event, the weekly Jamestown Public Market throughout the summer months, and the Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration — has removed the link to Motor Mayhem on the event page of its website at jamestownrenaissance.org.

According to Kristy Kathman, JRC interim executive director, the board of directors discussed at length whether to continue sponsoring Motor Mayhem and ultimately decided against it this year.

“Our board felt (Motor Mayhem) is something that we were no longer able to do,” Kathman said. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make.”

Kathman said an initiative to host and sponsor Motor Mayhem for 2017 went to the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce; however, Judi Laboy, who worked with the the chamber for three years prior to her resignation Wednesday, said that, to her knowledge, the event was not going to be held at all this year.

“The JRC approached the chamber about hosting Motor Mayhem this year, and what it comes down to is they just don’t want to do it anymore,” Laboy said via a post on the Jamestown NY Downtown Business Guild Facebook page. “Just when you think the city is moving forward in the right direction, you find out that Motor Mayhem may not happen this year because none of the committees (involved) want the responsibility.

“This is the one event during the year in which the small business owners have the opportunity to make money downtown, and neither the chamber of commerce nor the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation want to host the event. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that their purpose? The chamber should help local businesses prosper, and the JRC is supposed to help grow downtown; and to have both of these committees not want to do the event throws me back quite a bit.”

Laboy also said Motor Mayhem is the only event sponsored by either committee that doesn’t involve nonprofit organizations, and said that was a concerning piece of information.

“I have to say it’s starting to make sense why so many businesses in Jamestown fail. The main focus is on the nonprofit organizations,” she said. “…If (people) want Motor Mayhem to be held this year, (their) voices have to be heard.”