State Of The City: Reason To Feel Optimistic

It is easy to see Jamestown’s problems.

The city’s finances are a mess. Poverty is high. The opioid crisis has hit the city hard, as has the economic malaise that has ravaged much of the Rust Belt.

Those problems explain some of the second-guessing and naysayers on whom Mayor Sam Teresi spent much of his spoken remarks last week. His most recent plans to sell the Board of Public Utilities’ wastewater treatment plant and to annex the Dow Street Substation have been met with derision. The National Comedy Center is preparing to open, yet many wonder how successful the enterprise will be. People second-guess the validity of the decrease in the city’s crime rate and sneer when Teresi says the state of the city is sound.

Still, it’s hard to read Teresi’s comments from last week’s State of the City address and not feel at least a little bit optimistic.

Jamestown is a place where folks indeed live the “miracle of hard work” to maintain their homes, send their children to college and do their best to make sure their children live a better life; where volunteers give of themselves in support of talented students in the city school district’s music programs; where volunteers make possible parades, car shows, basketball tournaments, ethnic festivals and countless sporting events; support the arts; and offer individual acts of kindness to strangers in need, to name a few of the examples the mayor listed last week.

“Tonight, I ask each and every member of this community to join with me, my colleagues and all of those who dare to think, plan, invest, collaborate and look at this marvelous place, not as it once was or even as it is now, but rather, for what it can be someday,” Teresi said. “Even with the problems and challenges before us, the state of our city is sound. And if we chose to work together in the interests of others and not ourselves, it will continue to get a little stronger and better with each passing day.”

You can’t blame a populace that has been beaten down with so much bad news over the past few decades for losing belief that the city has brighter days ahead. That fog of doubt won’t be lifted in one night.

We hope, though, that Teresi’s inspiring words and vision so beautifully articulated last week, are a start.