City Council Approves Urban Design Plan 2.0
The only “no” vote when it came to approving a plan that will layout the possible future of the city came from At-Large Jamestown City Councilman Andrew Liuzzo.
The council on Monday approved the Urban Design Plan 2.0 8-1, with Liuzzo being the only member to vote against the plan. Prior to the vote, Liuzzo asked if anyone discussed the idea of an expanded medical corridor with the business owners in the area.
The 2.0 plan has four main design focuses: the continued renewal of the Chadakoin riverfront; make downtown a more walkable and better connected; expand on programs and events downtown that are fun, free and for the family; and recognizing the potential emerging health and wellness district as a vital new component of the downtown landscape
The plan states nationally, medical campuses and the areas around them are increasingly significant anchors of local economies. Closer to Jamestown, the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Center has modeled how investing in community development and neighborhood infrastructure can drive future growth for the medical center and for surrounding areas. By functioning as a district, with interlinked uses and physical connections, the medical area becomes a stronger economic engine. The area around UPMC Chautauqua hospital is a regional destination for health care and other community-serving uses, and is one of the most significant employment centers in Chautauqua County. The relocation and expansion of a federally-qualified health center– The Chautauqua Center — to a new building that is currently under construction on Institute Street will further concentrate health and wellness uses in the area.
According to the plan, achieving a full health and wellness district will involve two interrelated strategies. One strategy will be to enhance streetscape to improve the pedestrian environment to provide a more attractive and appropriate setting and to connect the district to the riverfront and to the greater downtown. The second strategy is to attract new uses and ancillary development that strengthens the area into a cohesive sub-district of downtown.
Prior to the release of a draft of the Urban Design Plan 2.0, city officials were already working on expanding the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk. In August 2018, Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, announced that city officials will be applying for a $525,000 state Department of Transportation grant for the extension of Riverwalk into the city’s medical corridor. If city officials receive the grant, the Riverwalk, which now ends by the Great Lakes Physician Practice-Jamestown Area Medical Associates Riverwalk Center, will extend toward Institute Street where the new Chautauqua Center will be located then to UPMC Chautauqua along Foote Avenue.
Liuzzo didn’t identify any business by name, but said he believes they should have been part of the discussion that led to an expanded medical corridor being one of the focuses of the 2.0 plan.
Prior to the creation of the plan, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation — who received an $87,500 state grant through the Regional Economic Development Council program to fund the creation of the second urban design plan — hosted three public events in May 2018 to garner input on the Urban Design Plan 2.0. Community members were invited to share in the collaborative planning effort by attending a kick-off gathering on May 1, 2018, at the Tarmac Cafe.
The public was also invited to attend a walking tour May 2, 2018. Later that same day, a third public event regarding the plan was held that included a presentation and a question and answer session with Goody Clancy officials, the planning firm from Boston, Mass., hired to create both the award-winning first 2006 Urban Design Plan and the 2.0 edition.
Teresi said the Urban Design Plan is designed to be a general vision and recommendation on the focus of future development efforts in the city, but is not a detailed plan that needs to be followed exactly.
To view the 2.0 plan, visit jamestownrenaissance.org.
8 E. SECOND ST.
In other business, the council approved the transfer of ownership of 8 E. Second St. from the city to the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency for the purpose of redeveloping the building along with the vacant parcel located at 10-12 E. Second St, which was donated by the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp.
Earlier this month, the council discussed the plan to send requests for proposal to regional redevelopers for the properties. The building located at 8 E. Second St. had originally been scheduled to be demolished because it was attached to 10-12 E. Second St., which was demolished in November 2016 following a partial roof collapse.
Vince DeJoy, city development director, told the council because the building is in the Jamestown historic district, it was determined by the state Historic Preservation Office during the state environmental quality review process that the structurally sound building shouldn’t be demolished.
DeJoy said interest has been shown in the building even though it currently doesn’t have a complete set of stairs. He added that part of the stairs to 8 E. Second St. had been connected to 10-12 E. Second St. Whoever redevelops the property will need to install a stair tower.
DeJoy said the empty partial where 10-12 E. Second St. was located has been donated to the city by the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp.
The council also approved to accept an agreement with First Symetra National Life Insurance Company placed through Premier Consulting Associates for its stop-loss insurance policy for the period June 1 to May 31, 2020.
Earlier this month, Joseph Bellitto, city comptroller, discussed the proposals city officials received for stop-loss insurance. He said the good news is that the best proposal would be $45,000 less than last year’s proposal. He suggested that the council continues to accept a policy with a $175,000 deductible. He said currently one city employee on the self-insured health plan will exceed the deductible. He said two other employees could exceed it as well.